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Did Hollywood actually make a great spinoff that equals the original? Now this is the way you update an old story with familiarity that makes it fresh(ish) for generations new and old. A lot of credit needs to go to the writer and director, Ryan Coogler, who with just his second feature has established himself as a force to be reckoned with. An equal amount of props needs to go to Michael B. Jordan who brings the necessary talent and ability to excel. Although I doubt he will get the usual recognition that a boxer role traditionally does, he still played his part to perfection. And you can't forget about the O.G. himself, Sly. Reversing the expectations of what should have been a wink, a nod and an eyeroll, he manages to lend the appropriate amount of gravitas and still allow the title character to shine.
I don't even like boxing movies and have a vague and mostly fictitious nostalgia for the Rocky movies, but this was an absolute knockout (pun intended). If you want to rebrand a franchise and pass the torch, this is how you do it.
This was a special film. The nostalgia hit me the same way as Before Midnight did with the Before Sunrise series. It's plaintive, and even whimsical at times. The standard Rocky faire of the big fight build-up was framed with appropriate philosophising and life lessons by the geriatric Italian Stallion. Rocky in the 70s used short garbled expressions and grunts to communicate. Now in 2015 his simplistic syntax comes across as wise and profound. It seemed earnest and real.
I didn't have much use for the Rocky franchise past the original, but Balboa, and now Creed, are definitely worthy additions. The boxing sequences in this film in particular are an amazing ballet between camera and subject. So well done. Good story. Good acting all the way around.
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In 4 official lists
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This movie ranks #30 in IMDb's Sport Top 50
This movie ranks #49 in Slate's The Black Film Canon
This movie ranks #94 in A.V. Club's The Best Movies of the 2010s
This movie ranks #483 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films