Creed ★★★½

As many others have pointed out, this is hardly the world's most inventive picture, yet no less effective for all that. As someone not overly fond either of the original Rocky or director Ryan Coogler's first film Fruitvale Station, I was pleasantly surprised by how well-constructed and executed this film was, from the scripting to the acting, from the fight choreography to the camerawork.

Boxing remains for me a disgusting sport, and honestly the healthier course for Michael B. Jordan's character to take, the way he's set up, would have been for him to forego boxing altogether and follow a path independent of what his late father (the Apollo Creed of the original Rocky films) set up for him. The film tries to have its cake and eat it too where this is concerned; it acknowledges that young Creed's obsession with following in his father's footsteps maybe isn't the greatest idea in the world, then shrugs this off with a heavy-handed cancer metaphor and says "eh, fuck it, go for it anyway." The end result is a film that feels confused as to what it's trying to say.

All that said, it's remarkably well-made and constantly engaging and entertaining.