The Film: As much as I would love to be knocked out by “Creed”as many film critics and fans are, I am simply not. I wanted to love the film. For me there was only one moment that felt electrifying but then it was over…quickly. The movie felt long. The love story felt contrived. Every time the love story entered, I wanted it to disappear.
What I did love was Sylvester Stallone’s performance as the veteran world champion heavy weight boxer of the world. Stallone conveyed sadness and wisdom as it all seemed believable not only because of his acting performance but it is a story that a Rocky fan knows. Fans have watched the underdog revel in simply good enough to contend with the best. We the fans, have watched people believe in Rocky when he didn’t believe in himself. We have seen Rocky grow from relationships and we have seen the relationships that he has lost along the way. Thus, the relationship between young Adonis Creed( son of Apollo) and Rocky is believable. There is a convincing story of young man trying to have a connection with a Dad that he never knew. It is plausible that a relationship with Rocky would be important to him. It believable the Apollo’s death would haunt Rocky enough that he would do just about anything for Apollo’s son because we watched Rocky and Apollo train together and become very close. So when Rocky trains Adonis, the flood gates of wisdom pour out with movie history trivia quotes of the future.
It is hard to compete with scene stealing boxing opponents that Stallone was never afraid to put in the ring like Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang and the Russian but I enjoyed the opponent of Adonis, “Pretty” Ricky Conlan played by Tony Bellew. Albeit his appearances are rather brief in the film. He is pretty, he had swagger and I was impressed with him. In real life, Bellew is a British fighter who was once the WBC International Light Heavyweight Champion.
So what about the star? Michael B. Jordan is a great actor. I was impressed with him within 30 seconds of watching the independent film hit Fruitvale Station. Jordan has superstar written all over him. I look forward to hopefully seeing him in a range of roles in years to come. As for for his performance in Creed, he does a good job. He really knows how to tap into a convincing range of emotions. And you get to see it this film. I anticipate seeing a beefed up version of Adonis Creed in the sure to come next installment to this franchise.
Despite not being knocked about by this film, it is a generally good story with strong acting. This movie sets up what I hope will be a better second installment. And I hope, the writer is not stuck on this leading lady being the one for Adonis. Nevertheless, the love story will not make or break the next film. Although, the love story of Adrian and Rocky was absolutely weaved beautifully that you couldn’t walk out of film not knowing Adrian’s name. With this film although, I saw the actress more than I wanted to see her. I don’t remember the character’s name at all. Don’t get me wrong, actress Tessa Thompson is a good actress. The love story was just underwhelming. I know it sounds like I am looking for a love story but I am not. What I was looking for was plenty of drama, action and the unbelievable music that elevates a Rocky film. I saw some drama, some action and didn’t get enough of the unbelievable score.
The Food: Hmn, I just finished watching muscles for two hours. Do I want beefcake or cheesesteak. Okay, just stop for a proper Philly Cheesesteak. The film also acknowledges soul food but the food for the soul of a Philadelphia location story has to be the cheesesteak.
The cast enjoyed cheesesteak nearly every day while on set in Philadelphia. Yahoo News reports, Jordan’s choice of ingredients might surprise you. Instead of picking a traditional Philly cheesesteak stuffed with delicious beef, the 28-year-old star prefers chicken. In fact, that was the controversial preference offered up by nearly everyone that Yahoo spoke to from the film, including director Ryan Coogler. The 29-year-old filmmaker doesn’t even like red meat, he said, so it’s got to be chicken. Tessa Thompson, who co-stars in the film, is also on the chicken bandwagon — but even more controversially, doesn’t like ketchup. Watch Michael B. Jordan talk about his love of the chicken cheesesteak.
As for Sylvester Stallone, the original Italian Stallion, he’ll take it with all the ingredients — even if, as he joked, the liquid cheese always ends up ruining his clothing.
- Bonus commentary– This I did love, an explanation of “Gonna Fly Now.” It was a completely organic moment with Rocky and Adonis and a great ode to one of the great songs in movie history.
Review by Crystal A. Johnson