Before I start, let me say that I haven't watched the original Rocky since I was around 13, which makes my memory a bit blurry. So before watching Creed, I watched the original Rocky to refresh my memory and make it easier to make comparisons. Damn, what a classic. So Creed is about the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, Adonis "Donnie" Johnson. He had a hard life growing up after his mother died, going in and out of foster homes and juvie. He is finally given a second chance at a new start when he gets taken in by Creed's widow. And that's all I'm going to say about the story because I refuse give out any major spoilers. Creed was an epic movie reflecting Rocky I while also making it its own movie. However, while it is a great film, there's a few things that could've been improved.
The good stuff: 1) The Characters. Donnie battles being Creed's son while trying put out his own name without the help his father's name could give him. He's trying so hard to make it on his own because no one will take him on. Throughout his training with Rocky, he shows his determination to reach beyond his limits to be taken seriously as a boxer in his own name. It's funny because he resents the father he never knew, but he also loves the sport his father was best at. Michael B. Jordan gives it his all in this role. Of course, Sylvester Stallone knocks it out of the park in his reprisal of Rocky Balboa. Just looking at the character shows how he's exhausted with the sport and wants to continue on with his life. After much of Donnie's persistence, Rocky relents and trains him. Without giving too much away, Rocky has lost a lot in his life. I won't say what, but he's a man who suffered and is fighting through it. He's just as stubborn, yet kind-hearted as before. However, he's experienced so much in his boxing career that he finally winds down and has a calmer lifestyle. When Donnie comes to him for help, he's thrust back into the harshness of boxing, taking over both Creed's and Micky's roles as father figure and trainer respectively. Of course all the side characters are pretty cool. I love Donnie's love interest, Bianca. She's just what he needs, someone to tell him when he's wrong, when he needs to think about his actions, and when he needs to be comforted. She takes no half-assed excuses. You go girl.
2) The Makeup Dept. Props are given to these guys. In Rocky I, we see Rocky's eye look brutal. Like he was punched in the face over and over.....oh yeah. The makeup in the 70s were great....but time has proved to have done a bit better. The original had this fake looking blood when his eye bleeds (I'm sorry but blood is NOT that red) which is still a very unpleasant scene to look at, but here, the blood looks real (a nice dark red) and Donnie's eye goes from brutal to gruesome. My mother and I were like "daaaaaaamn". It was almost hard to look at. Makeup department, I applaud you. And may I say is also an improvement is the fact that you can HEAR the fighters with their mouth guards on. In the original Rocky, I couldn't understand a damn word. In this movie, I can grasp what they're saying saying. Thank you, sound department!
3) The Fight and Training Scenes. The fights keep you so invested that you almost feel those punches. It feels like you're watching a boxing match on TV and telling your favorite guy to "get up" "block him" "get him in the face". I especially got this reaction in the final fight. This fight, much like in the first film, was built up since it was first heard. Will he win? Will he lose? The training sequences are also fun to watch. You see Donnie's growth from an amateur who taught himself to becoming more adept and experienced as Rocky presses him on. You get that sense of fresh air mixed with nostalgia, it's a good mix. Donnie, of course, gets his own famous run much like his mentor did and gets his own sense of accomplishment.
4) The Drama. How do I explain this without giving too much away? I guess the best I can describe it is that, you feel the weight each character carries. Each character has a burden, a responsibility, a chink in their armor. When Rocky and Donnie train together, they're both working together to fight their inner demons and press on through, to quote the original "go the distance". Even Bianca has her battle to face. She's facing the inevitable (again no spoilers) and is working hard to do what she loves before that happens.
And now for the not-so-good: 1) Minor Characters need Improvement. This is especially towards Creed's widow and Donnie's adoptive mother, Mary Anne. I really like her character. Donnie is the product of an affair and yet she takes him in and cares for him as if he were her own. She holds no resentment towards him, only love and you can see that. But after Donnie leaves to Philadelphia to train with Rocky, we don't see her at all. We see her in the beginning and then towards the end. Of course the scenes we see her in are fantastic. She's funny and encouraging, but I wish we had more scenes of her. And for those of you wondering "does she explain why she took him in" she does...but not in words. It's something that you can understand without it being told to you in exposition. It's all up to interpretation but we all get the general idea as to why she adopted Donnie. I'd also like to add the main "opponent", Ricky Conlan. He's the "Apollo" of this movie. He's going to prison soon and when he finds out about Donnie being of Creed blood, wants to make him his final challenger. While Apollo was cocky and didn't think an amateur can take him, Conlan (while he thinks the same way) is more of an asshole than a cocky bastard. He's insulting, rude, and arrogant. He mocks Donnie that he's an "overnight boxer", but when Donnie tries to retaliate saying "you don't know me", things almost get physical. Geez no wonder his ass is gonna be in confinement. Now that's NOT what I'm complaining about. I like the fact he doesn't have the same attitude of Apollo. What was weird to me was after the match. I won't say the results, but when it's all said and done, Conlan makes a 180 and tells Donnie he's the real deal. I feel like after what this guy has said and done throughout the movie, it's kinda unlike him to do that, especially since throughout the fight he's calling Donnie a fluke. I could be wrong, but it just seemed out of character for him.
2) The Weird Text Boxes. Yeah, whenever an opponent appears, the scene pauses and a text box appears giving their stats, rankings, nickname, etc. of that boxer. It feels odd and out of place. It's a boxing movie, not an actual boxing match. There's a difference.
So my consensus? I really loved this movie, in case you couldn't tell. You'll know when I really love a movie when I don't give out the spoilers, because it's a movie if you should see and not be told about.... unless it's been out for a very long time, then I'll give out spoilers. Again, if you guys want me to give you a spoiler review for this, let me know in the comments and I'll have it for you on Thursday. But yeah, this film was great and I definitely recommend it. It's kind of like Karate Kid (with Jayden Smith and Jackie Chan), or Star Wars VII: It reflects the original film while making it its own. It's a retelling of an old story while introducing a new one. I highly recommend you watch this movie. Also what do you want me to review next week? Something old? Something new? Something good? Something bad? Let me know in the comments. If I don't get any requests by Thursday, I'll give out 2 options and you can vote which one. K? Fair? Goodie.