With Arms Wide Open

Every now and then, I will admit that I have some pop-cultural blind spots. One of these blind spots happens to be the Rocky franchise--but that's not to say that I didn't have my fair amount of exposure to it. All three of my brothers happen to be huge Rocky fans, but as someone who never really dug sports movies, I'd promptly leave the room whenever they watched the series. So when I had a chance to see an advanced screening, I knew who I was taking...and who I needed to help me write my review. So today, I present a different take on my usual review: a he said, he said, he said, she said review.  Before I begin, though, let me briefly introduce my co-reviewers. Sean is my older brother who is closest to me in age. Being only 2 years ahead of me, he is man of few words but when he speaks, he is oft full of wisdom. Clayton is my oldest brother, and the man who I believe is responsible for all the brothers' love of Rocky, as well as the belief that Rocky is an actual American hero. Kent stands in proxy of my middle brother Nephi; friend of Clayton and the entire family, he too is a Rocky enthusiast. Oh and he has his own movie site too called Showtime Showdown you can visit HERE. Instead of reading four reviews, I decided to break up our thoughts on Creed by answering some questions about it.

Is Creed its own movie? Or is it Rocky 7?

SEAN SAYS: I would call it a soft reboot of the Rocky franchise.

CLAYTON SAYS: I think Creed managed to keep a good balance of being its own movie and still incorporating enough Rocky to tie it to the franchise. It would have been very easy to drift too far to one side. But the filmmakers pulled it off nicely.

KENT SAYS: Just as Adonis Johnson wants to be successful on his own merits and not by the legacy of his father, Creed cannot help but rely on the successful franchise that preceded it. In every way, it is Rocky VII.

EMILY SAYS: It felt like a mix of both. As someone not overly familiar with the series I didn't feel too lost. I didn't always get all the inside jokes, but it was easy enough to go along with.

Is Creed a worthy sequel to the Rocky series? Does it tarnish its legacy in any way?

SEAN SAYS: It is a worthy sequel. It doesn't tarnish its legacy, but it does tarnish Apollo's legacy!

CLAYTON SAYS: Creed does nothing but enhance the Rocky franchise legacy. Here's the thing, Rocky V was awful, and Rocky Balboa was only good because Rocky V was awful. So it's not like the legacy hasn't already taken a few hits. Even though it had a few over the top moments, this was a fun movie.

KENT SAYS: In 1990, the Rocky franchise was tarnished almost beyond repair. Somehow, it took a mediocre premise about a video game fight, 16 years later, to restore an ounce of former glory. So yeah, the series could only get better from there

EMILY SAYS: It seems like one! It's filled with just the right amount of nostalgia, as it gives loving nods but doesn't over-rely on them.

Hoes does Creed compare to the rest of the movies in the series? Where does it fall in your own personal rankings of the films?

 I'd rank it somewhere in the middle. I liked it better than Rocky V, Rocky II, and Rocky Balboa.

CLAYTON SAYS: I think everyone would just assume Rocky V never happened, so no competition there. The whole reason Rocky Balboa was made was to get rid of the bad taste Rocky V left. The problem was the idea of a boxer coming out of retirement in his 60's to fight the heavyweight champion of the world is hard to swallow. Creed's storyline is much more believable in that regard. I would put it on par with Rocky II, which was solid even though it had its own warts. The original was truly a great movie, Rocky III introduced Mr. T and Rocky IV ended the Cold War, so it was never getting ahead of any of those.

Rocky IV: The End of the Cold War
Rocky III: Pity the Fool
Rocky VII: Creed
Rocky Balboa
Rocky II: Rematch
I want to say I'm missing one, but it's blocked from my memory.

EMILY SAYS: Uh.....well....um, I don't remember too many of them so I guess near the top!

How does Michael B. Jordan fare as a successor to Rocky? Is he worthy to play the son of Apollo Creed?

SEAN SAYS: He did a fine job.

CLAYTON SAYS: I liked Michael B. Jordan well enough, but he didn't really do a whole lot to blow me away. He was very likable, which would honestly be one of my biggest problems with the movie. I think he should have had a bit more of an edge. They introduced the character as someone who was in and out of youth homes and juvenile detention facilities as a kid before being taken in by Apollo's wife. Yet, when he is older he seems very polite and well adjusted. But that's probably just me being nit picky.

KENT SAYS: Coming off of Fantastic Four, Michael B. Jordan is the underdog this movie needs.
He doesn't have the natural charisma that oozes from Carl Weathers. I'm 90% sure that Gatorade has a flavor called "Carl Weathers Charisma."

EMILY SAYS: Michael B. Jordan was incredibly likable and...very beautiful to look at.

Putting aside all the Rocky nostalgia, how does Creed manage on its own as a sports movie? 

SEAN SAYS: It's difficult for me to separate it from being a Rocky movie, but I think people not familiar with Rocky movies may enjoy it purely as a sports movie.

CLAYTON SAYS: Creed was a very good sports movie. The fighting scenes were believable and very well choreographed. Maybe the most realistic boxing scenes in any Rocky movie. Sports movies can often times be very cliche, and while this film isn't completely free of that, it does enough to keep you interested.

KENT SAYS: It has everything an inspirational sports movie requires - an underdog, a pep talk from the love interest, music montages and a coach that no one can understand.

EMILY SAYS: I think so! As someone who's not overly familiar with the series (and who happens not to be a big fan of sports movies) I thought it worked incredibly well for its genre.

Is this a good bridge to continue the series with a different protagonist?

SEAN SAYS: Yes I'd say so.

CLAYTON SAYS: I'm not gonna lie, I'd be fine with them not making any more movies in the franchise. I'm sure they will, but I don't think it is necessary. What more are they going to do with these characters? I think further sequels would just result in Creed having the same story arch's that Rocky went through in other movies. But hey, I will still watch them. So I guess that's why they keep getting made.

KENT SAYS: Just as long as he eventually fights Rocky's son and in due course trains under disgraced boxer, Ivan Drago. 

EMILY SAYS: I think it is. I'd be interested in seeing where his story goes.

Do you recommend Creed to everyone or just Rocky fans? 

SEAN SAYS: I'd recommend it to any Rocky fans or fans of sports movies. SEAN RATING: 8/10

CLAYTON SAYS: Everyone should see Creed. Rocky fans and non-Rocky fans. Old and young. Male and female. Christians, Muslims and Atheists alike! CLAYTON RATING: 8.5/10

KENT SAYS: If you haven't seen the Rocky movies, Creed may feel original. If you have seen them, this is pure comfort food. KENT RATING: 8/10

EMILY SAYS: I think if I enjoyed this movie, probably anyone can! EMILY RATING: 8/10

And there you have it! Four for four, we all enjoyed Creed. And now you don't have to just take *MY* word for it.


Sarah said...

I just just binge watched all the Rocky movies after my baby was born. I'll have to check this one out!

Damian Levy said...

Rocky is also a blindspot for me but I was always intrigued by the premise of this film and the way the series to have just the right amount of camp

Johanna said...

I can't believe that Sarah would binge watch Rocky movies. I've seen the first four and only really remember the first. I'll be sitting this one out unless Sly gets Oscar nom and then I'll watch it for that alone.

Loved how you did this and Sean is oft wise, Kent is oft funny, and Clayton is oft well spoken.