Radu’s movie recommendation: Creed (2015)

Your legacy is more than a name

So, after recommending two light comedies, I want to go for something new. Since we will review Rocky these day, I thought about going for something similar. Actually from the same franchise. Although not a direct sequel as more of a spin off, but with elements of both types, it actually brings you for a ride on memory lane.

Creed is the story of Adonis “Donnie” Johnson, a big shot corporate employee with a troubled past and dreams of being a boxer. He is haunted by a past he doesn’t wish to acknowledge, being the son of former world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, from an affair. Wishing to start over, he moves to Philadelphia where he looks for Rocky Balboa, his father’s former rival and best friend. Although hesitant at first, Rocky agrees to train Adonis, helping him enter the boxing world. But with his first win, comes the biggest challenge of his life. While getting ready for a fight he is not ready to enter, he must also deal with the past that has finally caught up with him.

After  the credits started rolling in the cinema, I just couldn’t get off the seat. I wanted to stay and look at it again. I thought it was that good. It brings out the same feeling as the first Rocky movie, while adding fresh elements, in a new world. It stays true to the feeling that made this franchise such an amazing thing to begin with.

Although the script is excellent and the directing is spot on, making sure that the film goes in the right direction, the greatest thing Creed has to offer is the characters. Both Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordon have stellar performances. Maybe the best of their lives. Jordon fights through the whole movie with his own demons more than anything else. Although growing up in foster homes and juvie, he is eventually found and adopted by Mary Anne, his father’s widow. From that moment he has everything he could want in his life, and yet he still has the urge to fight. Haunted by the memory of a father he didn’t know, he strives to become a great fighter while denying who he is. In the end, the only way to win the fight of his life is to win the fight within himself. As for Sylvester Stallone, he brings on his greatest performance. He isn’t the former heavyweight campion anymore. He isn’t the Italian Stallion. He is a broken old man, a shadow of a God, in a new world where he cannot find his place anymore. When the news that he is sick, he doesn’t have the will to fight anymore. He is willing to wait and die, because everyone around him is already gone. In a way, he sees death as a blessing. And yet, he takes on the role of mentor and father figure. Although the spotlight isn’t on him anymore, Stallone delivers with such a raw emotion that takes you back to his first role as Rocky Balboa.

And this is what makes the movie so great. These are 2 broken characters. One is afraid to take on his made, afraid of always being in his father’s shadow, while the other has lost the will to live. They bring out the best in each other, helping themselves find their inner strength. By finding the will to fight. Because “it’s about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

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