Creed (2015) / Creed III (2023)

Ryan Coogler and Michael B Jordan direct Michael B Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Sylvester Stallone, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris and Jonathan Majors in these spin-off legacy sequels to the Rocky franchise that become their own thing.

I’ve always liked the Rocky franchise but never truly loved it. A bit too blunt, a bit too schmaltzy. So Creed kinda blew me away on both watches. Adonis felt more of a 3 dimensional human being thanks to Michael B Jordan, this modern Philadelphia more accessible thanks to Ryan Coogler’s authenticity. And Stallone was still there in measured doses adding big heart. The training montages pumped, the fighting thrilled and the character stuff genuinely brought a tear to the eye. Donny and Bianca’s first date or Rocky in chemo are better handled moments of drama than most prestige Oscar bait releases. Ludwig Göransson’s mixture of Bill Conti remembrances and modern hip-hop made us all feel like we could go the distance. Superior popcorn.

Creed II did an admirable job of rerunning what worked and keeping original franchise fans sated. III though clearly wants to be its own thing. And is better for it. No Rocky. Los Angeles setting. Jordan making his directorial debut. There are some pretty stark choices. Some work – pitching an excellent antagonist in Jonathan Majors as an insidious yuppie-in-peril home destroyer in the first two acts. Some don’t work – the arty compression of time, space and psychology in the big finale bout seems like a bold move. Overall, it delivers as much entertainment as you can hope for. The Saturday multiplex crowd of vaping / Lynx doused boys clearly were caught up in it. Sitting patiently through a huge swathe of melodrama and clapping at the end.


My wife and I do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here


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