Review: ‘Creed’ is the First Sequel in Years that Actually Feels Like One

creed review

It might be too easy to say that Creed’s winning strength is how it will bring in new fans of the Rocky lore in the same way the original movie did in 1976. After all, that was clearly the intent.

The typical beats of the franchise make it to this “requel” – our hero is a longshot boxer who trains to go the distance against someone objectively better than him at the sport. But this time it’s with the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, the champion responsible for Rocky Balboa’s rise to fame and eventual rebirth in Rocky III.

Fittingly, Balboa himself trains Adonis Creed (who never met his father, of course) to fulfill the opposite. To earn the name he was already given, rather than achieve it himself in the way that Rocky did.

This isn’t a popular trope outside of Batman comics where the main character begins with endless resources, which is probably why Creed feels like something special. Even moreso than the missed opportunity that is the less impressive Southpaw, 2015’s other boxing movie about top dogs turned underdogs.

But for good reason, Adonis Creed is a more compelling character than the usual street orphan who grew up on the streets. Even the perceived trauma in his life is mostly undercut by his own admission that he never knew his father. This is a main character who had an even mix of both privilege and hardcomings in his upbringing, which is illustrated ideally by a quick shot of an adult Adonis boxing in Mexico cut with his expensive desk job in LA a split second later.

Michael B. Jordan’s performance alone would have made Creed a serviceable movie about people and boxing, but it’s his supporting cast that elevates the movie to something remarkable (along with a stellar soundtrack and masterful sound editing). Sylvester Stallone delivers a career-high performance as the aging Rocky Balboa, who manages to forge a believable friendship with Creed that steers clear of predictable sport movie tropes. And Tessa Thompson shines as one of the most engaging love interests you’ll find in a modern sports movie.

Combined with some of the most enthralling action set pieces of the series (a midway one-take of an entire boxing match is a major highlight), Creed makes its mark as not just a clever continuation of a beloved franchise, but as a wickedly good film in its own right. It has the writing of a script that was inspired enough to compel Stallone (who was vehemently done with the character) into giving his all for the next generation. That alone is a triumph.

Grade: A

Now let’s get to the podcast! We chat the latest movie news, like the Civil War and Zootopia trailers and some casting rumors for Mummy and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

We also review Pixar’s second movie of the year, The Good Dinosaur, as well as the Rocky spinoff, Creed. As always, we read your comments and answer your questions from last week as we get into this week’s burning question…

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What are some movies you regret NOT seeing in theaters?

Let us know your thoughts (and your favorite podcast moments) in the comments, which we may read on next week’s show! And be sure to rate the podcast on iTunes and/or Stitcher, where you can also download this episode. Or just Tweet us…@NowConspiring

Our Song of the Week is “Trouble,” the latest single from Cage the Elephant. Their new album, Tell Me I’m Pretty drops December 18th.

Enjoy the show! And don’t forget to let us know your song picks of the year we can consider for our Top 20 of 2015. Here’s a list of some of our favorites, which have been featured on the show:

“Get It” — Matt and Kim

“Greek Tragedy” — The Wombats

“I’m Good” — The Mowgli’s

“Lifted Up (1985)” — Passion Pit

“Young Chasers” — Circa Waves

“Mine” — Phoebe Taylor

“Our Own House” — Misterwives

“Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)” — AWOLNATION

“Crystals” — Of Monsters and Men

“Mile High” — Brooklynn

“One Heart” — Mat Kearney

“Heaven Sent” — Best Coast

“A Day is Coming” — Pacific Gold

“Bad Dream” — The Mowgli’s

“Circles (feat Vanic)” — machineheart

“4Ever!” — LANY

“Too Much Time Together” — San Cisco

“Beat of My Drum” — Powers

“Back of the Car (feat. Nate Henricks)” — RAC

“Make You Mine” — Family of The Year

“Molecules” — Atlas Genius

“We Try But We Don’t Fit In” — Day Wave

“Youth” — Fronteers

“Oceans” — Coasts

“Fools” — Wild Child

“Leave a Trace” — CHVRCHES

“Everything” — Kaptan

“Better Man” — Leon Bridges

“Marvin Gaye (feat. Meghan Trainor)” — Charlie Pluth

“Oh No” — Jack and Eliza

“Summertime” — The Mowgli’s

“Tear In My Heart” — twenty one pilots

“Ex’s and Oh’s” — Elle King

“Victorious” — Panic! At the Disco

“Could Have Been Me” — The Struts

“Lover Come Back” — City in Colour

“Troublemaker” — Grizfolk

“Vampire” — Lazyboy Empire

“Thank God for Girls” — Weezer

“Evangeline” — Cass McCombs

19 thoughts on “Review: ‘Creed’ is the First Sequel in Years that Actually Feels Like One

  1. The best songs of 2015 are…in no specific order…
    “War Paint”-FLETCHER
    “Black Magic”-Little Mix
    “Stockholm”-Atlas Genius
    “Feeling Electric”-Parade of Lights
    “Crystals”-Monsters and Men
    “Nothing Without Love”-Nate Reuss
    “I Want You To Know”-Zedd feat. Selena Gomez
    “Uma Thurman”-Fall Out Boy
    You may have to Google some of these songs, but they’re great.

    • We almost featured “Uma Thurman” a while back, as well as “War Pain” and “Stockholm.” All excellent songs worthy of consideration

  2. It’s funny my answer is similar to what Jon said. I was 7 when The Dark Knight but I was didn’t watch it in theaters because I used to be afraid of movie theaters. And the only Marvel movie I didn’t see in theater was Ant-Man. I just never got the chance this summer and I only watched it recently. Also quick question, if for any reason you can’t watch Star Wars, be it you lost the tickets or whatever, which other movie would you watch. Sisters, Son of Saul, or Alvin and the Chipmunks 4.

  3. Finding Nemo. It’s one of my favorite Pixar movies and I’ve always wished I went.

  4. “2/3 of these guys have to be Big Bang Theory fans”. Jon you just made my day. A few episodes ago Kayla said she was worried that no one liked her animation segment well I just wanted to that her segment has always been my favorite part of the podcast. If I wasn’t gay and happily with my boyfriend and Kayla wasn’t with Jon , I think we might have something in a different parallel universe.

  5. I think I agreed more with Jon about The Good Dinosaur after listening to him explain it. I still found Inside Out funnier, and a few things about The Good Dinosaur still bug me. Sanjay’s Super Team was interesting.


  7. I regret not watching Kick Ass 3 in theaters. I could have watched this spectacular masterpiece on the big screen. Instead I watched Jurassic World. Biggest mistake of my life.

  8. Greetings, Conspiracy Cockroaches. my only answer for this weeks question is the same as Adonis’s. Coincidence? I think NOT! Anyway, I’ll answer the opposite of the question instead. So movies I’m glad I saw in theaters are Django unchained, Forrest Gump, Ghostbusters, and WALL•E. However, I did enjoy your conversation about other podcasts you enjoy, so I thought I’d contribute. I would recommend Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast, The Top 10, and Truth & Iliza. Now I have a question for you Conspiracy Catfishes. What is your favorite foreign movie? My personal favorites are Seven Samurai and Bicycle Thieves. Note: Maria, Adonis, and Jon, English-speaking movies don’t count as foreign, despite your nationality. I’ll leave you with a Futurama quote. Everyone, I have a very dramatic announcement. So anyone with a weak heart should leave now. Goodbye.

  9. Hi again. I would like to have seen Inglorious Bastards on the big screen because all Tarantino movies should and this one was filled with great scenes. Also I like your power ranking of Paddington in the top 10 this year. It’s a movie that doesn’t seem to get enough praise.

  10. A movie I regret not seeing in theaters is Mad Max Fury Road. I never got the chance to go watch it and I feel bad because of that. Missed opportunity I guess. Now about Krampus. It reminded me of Godzilla. You enter expecting to see the monster in the title and then he doesn’t appear for most of the movie. It instead focused on the humans or the OTHER monsters. Krampus looked like it was gonna be a good movie, but it is yet another disappointment 2015 has given us. Let’s just hope 2016 is a better year for movies. Krampus is a C- for me.

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