Our newest team member Chris Feil saw the latest in a long dormant franchise early. Here's his review - Editor
Making good on his mainstream sensibilities post-Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler returns with Rocky reboot/sequel/spin-off Creed. Born after his legendary father Apollo's death after an affair, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) attempts to forge his own boxing path without the Creed namesake, recruiting his father's notorious opponent and comrade Rocky Balboa. Similarly, the film tries to have it both ways, attempting to be a sideways stand-alone film while borrowing heavily on the iconography of the original. It is a bit of a left turn for cinema's current trend of cut-and-paste nostalgia, giving Coogler's film a much needed edge for a tired genre, but cursing it with enormous shoes it falls short of filling.
If Fruitvale showed us anything about Ryan Coogler's potential, it was that he could both emotionally invest the audience with a charismatic subject and that he knew how to structure a film's most intense scenes for their maximum dramatic effect. These skills make him the perfect candidate for a mainstream actioner that pulls on the heartstrings, and Creed provides a solid larger platform for him to deliver those goods. Unfortunately still present is his diminished sense of confidence and clarity of vision in extended dialogue scenes, lending to an overall flabby structure. He knows what we want as audience and how to give it to us, but here he has a tricky time transitioning between story beats.