Movie Review: Creed (2015) – The Best Rocky Film Yet

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The day before Thanksgiving saw some great new releases, and coming out on top is the critically acclaimed Creed, based on the prior Rocky franchise. I’ll admit to being prejudiced, as I loved Rocky, but have to say, that this one pretty much beat out all the others, as far as I’m concerned.

Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is the son of Apollo Creed, Rocky’s former rival and eventual friend. His father is dead but Adonis still wants to connect with him, so off he goes to Philadelphia, where we meet a contentedly retired Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) who is running his own Italian restaurant. Then, the champ comes out of retirement, this time to coach the hopeful newcomer into filling his deceased father’s shoes.

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Despite the fact that this movie comes 39 years after the release of the original, it still has a nostalgic feel that helps fans of the original identify with the film. It’s your standard movie, where the underdog makes good, but it still works. Classics are classics for a reason, after all.

Jordan plays the plucky newcomer quite well, and brings a level of depth to a character that was at risk of becoming cliché. The training montages, love interests and fight scenes don’t feel like clichés. They feel comfortable and enjoyable. While you can see the punches coming from miles away, it’s still a great, and enjoyable effort.

That’s because they also managed to make this contemporary. They didn’t just regurgitate the same old stuff, but instead created a new and exciting movie about a character we can genuinely care about. The movie isn’t dependent on nostalgia, and Creed is a standalone rather than a sequel, but I could see another franchise come out of this.

One thing I like about this movie is that it didn’t go with the inner-city cliché. In the beginning of this. Adonis is actually a white collar worker who believes there’s something more. He doesn’t go to Philadelphia because it’s his last resort. It’s an attempt to find some common ground with a father he never knew.

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It’s clear that the director has some affection for the Rocky franchise. He references the great, and the corniest moments of Rocky without being apologetic. He’s not filming this as some kind of tongue in cheek parody. Instead, it’s an homage to the original and a great work all its own.

Stallone is in his best part in decades, and kind of reminded me of Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby. He has a kind of fragile air of mortality over a steely core that makes him seem incredibly authentic and believable. He really does shine in this movie.

This is absolutely worth the watch. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to see it, you’re missing out. You don’t need to have watched any of the prior Rocky movies, but it is helpful just to get an idea of the original Apollo Creed, who was easily one of the best characters in this series.
WE GAVE IT: 5 STARS! Watch the Official Trailer and See the Official Movie Poster below

5 Stars

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Movie Review: Ant-Man – It’s Stupid In The Right Way

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Ant-Man is the newest super hero release with a comedic twist, and it’s pleasing critics and audiences alike. This snarky sci-fi flick, with an unlikely hero, it’s one to watch this summer. Here’s why.

Our hero is Scott, a thief with a master’s in engineering. When he runs into a reclusive scientist with a special suit, he’s more than happy to try it on. With the push of a button, he’s the size of a dime. What follows is an interesting scene involving Scott getting sucked into vacuums and such. Realizing his new power, Scott does the whole becoming a super hero thing and even finds an arch nemesis. He’s a dude that can turn into a yellow jacket.

While it sounds stupid, it’s stupid in the right way. It’s stupid in the way that Shaun of the Dead was stupid. It’s also hilarious, interesting and even kind of visually stunning. Of course, a lot of the visuals are recycled. Take the Ant-Man suit for example. It’s pretty much an Iron Man Suit. They didn’t even change the color scheme that much.

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However, for a movie that does such a good job on using the standard super hero tropes, with some self-aware tongue in cheek humor, recycled visuals can be ok. Especially with such a unique storyline. Edgar Wight is credited with some of the story line creation, which explains the similar feel to movies like “Shaun of the Dead”.

Paul Rudd was a fantastic choice for the lead. He’s unheroic enough to give the character a certain lack of grace and gritty realness, but he also has awesome comedic timing, which this movie relied on. The great thing about the movie is that the same thing that makes Ant-Man heroic is what makes him vulnerable. The danger of being squashed while in insect form would have been hard to pull off if not for Rudd’s performance.

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It’s a fresh take for a summer filled with big budget blockbuster action movies. Not that it isn’t well done. It’s just a bit lower key and a more slapstick and funny than other movies in the sci-fi genre. The movie knows how to laugh at itself, while keeping viewers entertained.

I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with the main female character Hope (Evangeline Lilly). In a way I was kind of expecting her to emerge as some sort of femme fatale, but instead, her character stays pretty flat and sees no growth at all. So in that, I was disappointed. The two father-daughter stories were sweet, but not overtly so, and they managed to put a bit emotion into the script, in a way that doesn’t feel too over the top for this movie.

But all in all, I have to say Ant-Man was pretty well done and very enjoyable. It was a bit long in the run time, nearly 2 hours, but at least they used their time wisely. If you’re looking for a great action movie, with some good humor, then Ant Man could be one to watch this summer.

WE GAVE IT: 4 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

4 stars

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