For Reel

Creed (2015)
December 19, 2015, 2:58 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Ryan Coogler
4 Stars
CreedThe one-two punch of Creed and Star Wars: The Force Awakens has capped off a year of franchise revivals, banking on exploiting the nostalgia of movie-goers while laying the groundwork for a new generation of sequels. As in last year’s Boyhood, these films find their power through the passage of time–beloved, aged characters reflecting on their triumphs is all it takes to instigate an audience’s sense of sentimentality. Creed works remarkably well in this regard because Rocky Balboa himself has always been characterized as an underdog, his heroics channeled through an undercurrent of sadness and regret. When Sylvester Stallone appears in Creed, he is a broken, defeated man, who later admits that he would give all his glories away for the revival of a meaningful connection. Thus, as Adonis Creed (Michael B. Johnson) rises through the ranks, Stallone himself serves as a foreboding symbol of a boxer’s tragic trajectory. Adonis’ future yields tremendous potential in the professional realm, but also a potential for personal devastation. That his love interest (Tessa Thompson) is creating music before she succumbs to hearing loss furthers this dynamic, amplifying the stakes by pleading that we must make the most of our time while we’ve got it. Having said that, Creed is exhilarating in spite of these somber, heavy themes–if the success of boxing movies can be judged by both the depth of the characterizations and the visual sophistication of the fight sequences, Creed ranks alongside the best of them.

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