Alas, the boxing film redeems itself.
After the disappointment of this past summer’s Southpaw, I was hoping that Creed would not be as much of a let down and it certainly was not. The film embodies a bit of nostalgia for the old Rocky fans out there and more than enough modernity to appeal to younger generations after Rocky’s time.
Creed follows the story of Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), the son of Apollo Creed, as he navigates the ins and outs of a professional boxing career. Though the film only occurs over a short period of time, I enjoyed that the film took time to explore various aspects of Johnson’s journey without being all over the place. The movie balances time devoted to the experiences in his training camp, the relationship with his trainer, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), his personal life, and the battles within himself.
Whenever I watch a boxing film, which is honestly not often–there aren’t many to go around–I first want to see what the movie gets right. Do the fighters keep their hands up? Do the fight sequences produce the same excitement as watching boxing in real time?
I tend to be critical when it comes to boxing movies because not only am I hardcore enthusiast, but also because boxing is part of my every day life.
However, I’ve learned to be more forgiving of the actors that have put in countless hours to look like professional fighters–something most of know takes years to accomplish.
With this said, Jordan does a commendable job. I appreciate that the choreography of the fight scenes takes more technique into account, and the film makes a noble stylistic effort to visually and audibly capture the experience of a fighter in the ring.
I appreciate that Creed does not rely on spectacle alone to be a great film, as so many sports-action movies do. There are enough boxing movie conventions to make Creed feel familiar without it appearing to be the same old song and dance.
Whereas Southpaw had me asking “what’s the point?” by the film’s end, Creed reveals that the reasons why fighters fight can be deep and immensely personal. The film also speaks to the importance of discovering and knowing who you are–a point of growth for professional fighters and everyday people alike.
For many who watch fighting, it’s just a form of entertainment. For most of those who step in the ring, fighting is at the core of their identity.
Creed is a solid effort that adds dimension to the boxing film genre. Give it a go this holiday weekend–you might want to lace up gloves yourself after seeing it.