First, let me say that Creed is a good film. It starts off kind of weak, but after the first 40ish minutes, it really picks up and the whole middle and end are quite good. If it hadn’t been for the initial under-development of Adonis (played by Michael B. Jordan), I would say it should have been nominated for Best Picture. Some have called it a snub, but I’m not so sure. It’s better than the two weakest Best Picture nominees (The Martian, and The Revenant) in both story development and cultural significance, but it struggles to find itself up front and that may have cost it. In my opinion, the movie did not sufficiently set the stage for Adonis in California before he moved to Philadelphia. The foster care scenes worked and added a deep dimension to the film, but I think they should have done more to show the white-collar life Adonis walked away from. Audiences were told he was a successful employee and a smart, go-getter, but I would have rather seen 2-3 additional minutes of him cutting deals in a board room and making a splash at the office or something. That would make his decision to quit mean a lot more. Without it, Adonis seems like a rich kid with a chip on his shoulder instead of the natural fighter destined for greatness that Director Ryan Coogler intended. The film did certainly regain its footing and strong acting from Jordan and Stallone along with a well-written script by Coogler delivered a modern and relevant reinvention of the classic boxing genre. It’s very good. I recommend it for sure. Side note: I am very excited to see Coogler take on the Black Panther in the MCU!
I also want to mention something odd I noticed about Creed: there are a weird number of similarities with Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back. Hear me out. Adonis is obviously Luke, orphaned and rash, and his whole shtick is about overcoming his father’s legacy. But the even better case is that Rocky is Yoda. An anachronistic old guy who makes Luke, er, Adonis, go through a series of weird and cryptic training regimens: jumping ropes, balancing acts, and chasing a chicken (no that is not a euphemism). I’m surprised Rocky didn’t make Adonis carry him on his back. Mild *Spoilers* the illness and futility of the quest (“you have not yet finished your training”), not to mention Stallone’s cryptic style of speech, are also very Yoda-y. Plus *SPOILER* Adonis doesn’t even win, the message is that he’ll be back to fight another day. That’s sooo Empire.
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