Creed (2015)

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Phylicia Rashad, Tessa ThompsonRuntime: 133 minutesPlotline:  Apollo Creed had an illegitimate son (Jordan) who has no idea who he is.  His wife (Rashad) seeks the son out after Apollo passes away and informs him of his lineage, asks if he wants to be raised by her.  Some years later he's a boxer who doesn't want to use his fathers name, but meets Rocky Balboa (Stallone), begs to be trained by him.  After some time, Rocky agrees and they go down the path to success together while trying to not tarnish the name Creed.  The world champion hears this, wants to fight him for a big payday.Review:  Admittedly, it has taken me far too long to watch this movie as I have really enjoyed most of the Rocky movies (Rocky V sucks a lot, Rocky IV was lost on me because I'm not American.) and this one is no exception.  I watched this one with a very critical eye as Stallone was in the spotlight to be the best supporting actor against some very stiff competition.  So much competition, to me, that I think winning this award this year was more of an achievement than the award for best actor. Having said this, I still enjoyed this movie to a degree that it could very well creep into my top ten of 2015 (Turbo Kid may be number 1, I'm not sure yet).  The biggest, most important thing I have to say about this movie would be that I truly don't feel that Stallone deserved the award for best supporting actor, not because he did poorly, but because I feel the award should go to someone who did something new and added to the movie in a way that made the movie that much better.  Mark Rylance did this for Bridge of Spies, Stallone did not.  Rocky Balboa, while a more and more complete character as time goes on is old hat.  He has always been the too kind for his own good, slow witted man who is loved by all and enjoys the life of retirement. Any strife he had as a character was pretty telegraphed and I felt it could be seen coming.The movie was written as well as the other Rocky movies, with some highs and lows added in.  My first immediate critique of the movie is that Jordan's character name before he finds out he's Apollo Creed's son is Adonis Johnson.  Tell me that this isn't the most ridiculous name for a porn star you've ever heard.  To me, that's right up there with the classic Costanza Buck Naked and is a pretty quick throwaway about a decently crucial character.  One thing I have always noticed about Stallone is that, despite my love of him, he seems decently arrogant towards himself and would build the main character around his character, not the other way around.  I could be wrong, but something as little as that makes a large impact on some people.Jordan's portrayal of Adonis Creed isn't bad at all, I felt it certainly made up for his "performance" in Fantastic Four, he also looked the part.  They wrote him pretty well, decently arrogant like his father, but at the same time he didn't want to have anyone think of him as a "False Creed", so went by his own name of Johnson for a fair chunk of the movie.A confusing part of the movie was the love interest timeline.  I'm not against it in the slightest, but it felt so out of place in the movie about a man driven to be the best and having her essentially get in the way Tessa Thompson plays the role  of Bianca well, but it seemed an after thought to me, not at all like in Rocky I.  She also has a degenerative ear condition where she is losing her hearing throughout her life, but that plays such a minimal part in the movie I wonder why it was there at all.  It shows that Jordan has the capacity to love someone despite a flaw of hearing aids?  Why was this part of it? SPOILER!!! Rocky has cancer, we find out later in the movie that he has the same type of cancer Adrian died from, which sucks, but they offer him chemotherapy for it.  He denies and says that his wife wasn't strong enough to beat it, that he's done enough in his life and that's cool, to which I applaud them and was thinking for half a second that he would actually ride off into the sunset of the movie. Silly Patrick, they only used it as a vehicle to have Creed yell at him and tell him that the fight wouldn't happen if Balboa wouldn't fight cancer.  When this happened I got very upset with the movie, who the fuck are you to tell someone that they can't go and live the rest of their lives how they see fit?  I realize you love him after a couple months (maybe) of knowing him, but if someone tells me they're dying and they want to be comfortable for their last bit on earth before he gets to see his wife again, absolutely I will do whatever I can to help them achieve that.  Not Creed though, he selfishly says he will stop his career and life to basically fade away like Rocky does.  So they have Rocky fight cancer, go through chemo and whatnot, having a pretty quick transition into looking really bad, though I'm not sure how accurate that would be, I don't know anyone who has dealt with chemo, nor do I know the physical ramifications of it, but it seemed quick to me.The bout ensues and shockingly Creed is outmatched by the "pound for pound" best fighter in the world at this point in time, but holds his own.  This scene is done pretty well, and apparently Jordan did all the stunts for it, which is impressive, but logically there's no way he could hold his own in this fight.  He does, until round 11 where he starts to fade after being pummelled seemingly a hundred times in the face when *ding*, saved by the bell.  He looks like he's out, like he's done for it.  But no, Rocky brings him back by using the same tactic on him that was used on Rocky before.  "I'll fight if you fight".  A much better vehicle for it, but too little too late for me as I had been frustrated by this already.Creed loses, but the champ tells him that he's the future of the sport and everyone better watch out.A pretty for ending to me that should have had Creed get slaughtered but have the respect of the other guy, not go 12 rounds to a decision with the apparent best boxer in the world.  A really good movie all in all though. If you haven't seen it, give it a go.  It's well worth it. P