Today, the fifth best movie of 2015 (in my opinion) will be discussed. The way I am going to write about these movies is in three parts. The first part will break down the movie in a non-spoiler recap of the film. The second part will be an in-depth review of the movie with focus on the cast, director, script, and other “technical” aspects of the movie. The third part will be my personal experience of watching the movie and explaining why I chose to rank where it is. Also, in my intros before discussing the ranked movie, I will reply to any comments or questions that were addressed in the previous article. I would like to send out a thank you to Richard Uberton who left a nice comment on the last entry. And thank you to all who have read the last one and are currently reading this one. I greatly appreciate it.
Starting off the list is a movie that I personally was not excited for until I began hearing positives things about it. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of the Rocky series. I enjoyed the first and fourth ones, but I do not have any strong feelings toward the franchise. For me, there was no nostalgia involved when viewing this movie. The movie follows Apollo Creed’s son, played by Michael B. Jordan, in his journey to not only become a solidified professional boxer, but to establish a name for himself outside of being Apollo’s son. After being rejected from his father’s gym, Adonis goes to Philadelphia in hopes that Rocky Balboa will train him. Dealing with personal issues and romance, Adonis works his way through Balboa’s training regime. Throw in some nostalgic Rocky moments and a training montage to get where Adonis fights a similar fight as Rocky did in the first Rocky movie.
To break away from that extremely simplified version of the movie (I was attempting to avoid any possible spoilers from the movie), this movie was amazing. Going into Creed with marginal expectations solely based off of the opinions of friends, I was personally blown away with the movie. I will begin with breaking down Michael B. Jordan’s role as Adonis Creed. He is incredible in this role, perfectly portraying a son who wants to grow outside of his father’s shadow. There is nothing in his performance that ever feels too far (overacted) or unbelievable. Part of that credit goes to the writing and directing (which I will get to later), however, Jordan cannot go without large recognition. For me, it was really nice to see him utilizing his talents in a film that deserved it rather than the catastrophe that the Fant4stic inevitably was. While he was not the major problem in that movie, it was refreshing to see him bounce back in Creed to make me feel better about the direction of his acting career. This performance had to put him in the discussion for being nominated for an Academy Award or a Golden Globe, which leads me to the person in this movie that won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and is currently nominated for an Academy Award: Sylvester Stallone.
If someone ran a poll before this movie and asked if Stallone would ever win an award for playing Rocky Balboa since the first one, most people would have laughed to a conclusive “no.” Stallone demonstrates that he can bring serious acting chops to the table when the script and character perfectly aligns for him. The best part of Stallone’s performance (and the movie as a whole) is that the Rocky aura does not overshadow the story of Adonis Creed. In this movie, Stallone portrays what Rocky is supposed represent in this movie. Rocky (both the character and the movie franchise) are there to lend support to Creed while allowing him (it) to flourish on his (its) own. At no point during this movie does it feel like Creed is borrowing from Rocky's lore. This movie stands on its own, only taking the franchises backstory to help with the plot.
Ryan Coogler deserves to be recognized for directing this masterpiece of a film. According to what I have read, he came up with the idea for this movie and pitched it to Stallone a couple of years back. Stallone apparently did not decided to go through with this project until after he saw Fruitvale Station (a movie I have not seen), which convinced him of Coogler’s credentials. Coogler co-wrote the script as well, which is also masterful. Whether or not this was his indention, Coogler was able to turn a Rocky film into an Academy Award caliber movie. That alone is a great triumph in a cinema career. The ability to create this new character to follow in a historic movie franchise while balancing nostalgia from said franchise is a testament to this man’s ability. Rumor is that Coogler is being discussed to director the upcoming Black Panther movie in 2018, which I would be in complete support for. Coogler has demonstrated his ability to create a strong character in the midst of a storied franchise.
I went to see this movie in theaters with some doubt about how good this movie was going to be. As I mentioned earlier, I had heard positive things about it from friends, but those are people who love the entire Rocky franchise. From the start of the movie, I was hooked on the character of Adonis Creed. To me, his story was something that I could related to as a personal who plays a collegiate sport. There was no sense of “only in Hollywood” with his character or the movie. By “only in Hollywood,” I mean plot devices or character traits that are given to the story or characters that would only appear in a movie. This movie is grounded in reality, which is refreshing compared to some sports movies where the main character only succeeds because he is the main character of the movie. While his big fight in the movie might sound unrealistic from a booking stand point, it is explained well in the movie as to why it happened that way. Also, as a person who is not a huge Rocky fanatic, it was nice that the throwbacks to the previous movies were placed in appropriate moments. While I living in nostalgia, I still like a callback every once in a while. During fight scenes, I was excited to watch the action and honestly curious about how they were going to finish. It was gripping to watch Adonis persevere and establish himself as boxer. Those are the reasons why this movie made the list. The reason why it is only number five is because parts were predictable before those moments happened. I am not one who needs to be shocked at every turn, but sometimes being too closely aligned with another movie can check me out a bit. However, that was not during those certain scenes themselves, it was during the build-up. That is not a knock against the movie in anyway, it is simply nitpicking in order to order these movies.
There you have it, my fifth favorite movie of 2015. I hope you enjoyed it and will return to read entry on number four. If you have any comments about Creed, my review/opinions on it, or questions that you would like to ask me, leave them for me. Thank you to all who read this!