This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Locke.’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I was shocked to hear that Stallone didn’t pen this as Creed is less an obvious progression for the series but instead more of a ritual, which suggests they can effectively pump out Rocky movies for as long as they have an audience for them (the sequel is already confirmed, I believe).
In Creed Rocky passes the torch to Apollo’s illegitimate son, Adonis, to allow Michael B. Jordan to effectively live out the first Rocky movie all over again. I will admit that I spent the whole movie missing the presence of Carl Weathers but Jordan and Stallone make a DAMN fine duo, with plenty of “movie magic” moments between them to make you both laugh and cry.
I’m not sure how I feel about the fight scenes this time, they’ve gone the extra mile to take Rocky back from the increasing fantasy and decreasing reality from the third film onwards which is more welcome than you might expect, coupled with some wonderfully kinetic cinematography and fantastic use of surround sound, to really make you feel like you’re in the ring with them. However on the flip side though, the cinematography is also very claustrophobic and almost makes fight scenes look like motion panels from a comic rather than a full, cinematic, sequence. I was disappointed the camera cut so much off of what the boxers were doing with their feet, their posture etc save for quick close ups of individual areas, as the whole franchise has stressed, it isn’t just about the punches. So why focus almost exclusively on them and nothing else?
Like all Rocky films other than maybe the third one, pacing remains a big concern, they try and tie them all together under like a thematic umbrella but the side stories involving Donnie’s romance with a singer slowly losing her hearing and Rocky getting cancer ultimately don’t end up going anywhere and oddly don’t really add a whole lot to the movie, even emotionally either. I will admit they give some moments to Stallone that allows him to show off acting chops we never knew he had but if we are passing the torch, he doesn’t need these stupid soapbox moments that do nothing more than bloat the film. I'm sorry.
Bottom Line? The Rocky franchise honestly isn’t that great so to say that this is the best film since the third one doesn’t mean much in itself, but I say that with feeling. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cheer and be swelled up by Creed. It isn't high art, but it's what you go to the movies for, right?