Creed has good doses of nostalgia for fans of the series

A scene from the movie.

A scene from the movie.  

Apollo Creed is Rocky Balboa’s (Sylvester Stallone) most iconic rival, his fiercest competitor as seen in the first four Rocky movies. He was also one of his best friends, almost a brother. He died fighting an opponent, in Rocky’s arms, who had stepped in as his manager in that particular contest. You would expect Creed’s son, Adonis Johnson (Michael B Jordon), to grow up hating Rocky, for not being able to stop his father from bleeding to death inside the ring. But as it turns out, Adonis grows up hating his father, to the extent that he refuses to acknowledge him. He idolises Rocky, who he manages to convince out of his self-imposed exile from boxing into coaching him. Johnson is Creed’s bastard son. Just like the unexpected touch in a seemingly generic sports movie, Creed avoids the pitfalls of the genre with new flourishes. It’s a formulaic but an effectively entertaining film with good doses of nostalgia for fans of the series.

While Adonis fills the void that was created from Rocky’s troubled relationship with his son, he finds in him a father figure. This exchange of the father-son relationship gives fans a chance to relive Rocky in his prime through Adonis– there are delectable throwbacks such as the early parts of Adonis’ training sessions under his guru.

Genre: Sports drama
Cast:Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
Director: Ryan Coogler
Story: A 70 year old Rocky Balboa returns to boxing, as he takes up the challenge of training Adonis, son of his late friend and former rival

The film works not so much because it is great cinema but the fact that it fulfils the expectations one has from it, even for those who haven’t watched a Rocky movie. I haven’t. But I have friends who have been life-long fans. For most, I gathered, it’s an inseparable part of having grown up on movies. The success of the film is also that it communicates the nostalgia even to those who are outsiders to the Rocky fandom. Yet Creed sags from time to time because of its lightweight script. It’s a good natured, cheery film but the tone becomes too sentimental in parts. The linear narrative is crippled with predictable plot-points, especially a development in Rocky’s life towards the end. But thankfully, the scenes themselves are executed convincingly. Some of the film’s most entertaining scenes are the training sessions and boxing matches. At one point, the entry of two boxing stars in a match becomes like a slow motion pop music video, the arena throbbing with the beats of hip-hop soundtrack. The action is visceral. The director extracts maximum tension and adrenaline in the climactic fight that the audience responds to with hoots and whistles. With Stallone shouting match-changing instructions from the sidelines, it’s hard to not get invested in the contests. Jordan is beautifully sculpted and the director uses his physicality to the hilt. But Rocky is Stallone and Stallone is Rocky. The character is so deeply linked to his personality that even in a film where he hardly takes part in the action, he makes every scene work. As a retired heavyweight champ who is also a broken soul, mourning the untimely loss of his wife, Stallion gives the character a deeply felt dignity and quietness.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:56:15 PM |

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