The Rocky franchise centers around a character whose endearing quality is the lifelike believability of his simple humanity. Stallone’s ability to shine a gentle amber light on it for us time and time again is the secret to the franchises appeal. With Fruitvale Station Ryan Coogler showed us his ability to create and bring to the screen real to life living breathing characters. Coogler and Stallone proved a potent combination with the film Creed.
In Creed Stallone outdid himself with some of his best moments ever on screen. Together Stallone and Coogler wove together a character arc that extended back through all the other films. An arc which culminated in Creed and was beautiful to watch unfold. In many scenes we saw and experienced with Rocky the love, pain, heartache and joy of his of all that we have previously been through with him in other Rocky movies expressed in a few simple words and glances. We could see deeper into that same humanity we have come to love in Rocky because Stallone was able to allow us deeper into the soul of his character. His passion was in his eyes, in his body, in his voice, and in his very being. And the screen captured it all. Stallone’s ability to feel and make us feel without the need for dialogue has always made him one of the acting greats. The screenplay and direction in Creed allowed him to showcase that ability to its potential. And juxtaposed alongside the incredibly moving scenes in the film are the wonderfully charming and witty one-liners and throw away lines that keep Rocky franchise films grounded. Stallone has a gift for these moments as well.
It would be unfair of me to not mention the outstanding performance of Michael B. Jordan in this film also. He was well cast to take the reins from Stallone as the reboot’s protagonist. He also had many compelling moments and perhaps one of the best in the film (not to create spoilers I’ll just say it is when he is answering an announcer’s question near the end of the film). A truly solid performance from an uber talent.
Still it was Stallone that captured my attention time and time again throughout the film. His slice of life acting style has always been a favorite of mine. To see him up his game again secures an Oscar nod from this corner.
Creed opens in theatres November 25th, 2015.