Creed is a crowd pleaser that doesn’t really carve out its own identity, but a lot of that crowd-pleasing just plain works. Ryan Coogler’s dynamic filmmaking serves the boxing sequences well, particularly an early one-take scene that generates quite a bit of excitement and creates a wave of energy that the movie rides all the way until the end. We’ve seen it all before, but it’s done well for the most part.
Aside from annoying freeze frame boxer stats throughout, there is a lot to like here. For instance, Rocky training Adonis is the highlight of the film, and Stallone and Jordan find both the fun and the pathos in the dynamic (even if they’re being saddled with some cliched and unnecessary developments). Their relationship–and the movie in general–is about legacy, about how to make a name for yourself when the past has latched onto you through that very name. It’s about getting knocked down, then getting back up. It’s about mortality and acceptance. It’s a movie filled with conventional themes and intense glares and music you’d probably listen to while working out, and it’s all told in an extremely formulaic manner. Yet, it works.
-I had the good fortune of attending the red carpet premiere in Westwood last night; it was the first movie premiere I’d been to, so it was a fun experience. This was the first time that a crowd cheered and applauded throughout the entire movie, and it felt like being at an actual boxing match. They got really into it. Also, Arnold Schwarzenegger walked by me! We had a beautiful connection during those fleeting seconds.
Photo credit: Creed, New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer