I couldn’t wait for this weekend as I had two hugely anticipated sequels to look forward to: ‘Creed II’ and ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’. Although adverse to what you may expect, I was more excited for the latter; as I absolutely loved ‘Wreck it Ralph’ and despite enjoying ‘Creed’ it hasn’t stayed with me the way ‘Wreck it Ralph’ has. Nevertheless, I went to see both and this is the first of the two reviews. But which one did I prefer?
What is it about?
Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is the heavyweight champion and his rapid rise to the top has staggered everyone across the world; but with Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) in his corner he has looked unstoppable. However, his title faces fierce opposition when Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren,) puts forward his son, Victor (Florian Munteanu,) as a challenger. On the cards is another Creed vs Drago fight and following the tragic events of the last one, in ‘Rocky IV’, the prospect of the fight is strongly opposed by those dear to him. But, when his pride wins over and he decides to take the fight- how will he fare?
What did I think?
This film was, AWESOME! It was completely engrossing and I loved every second of it. Not even the guy sat next to me who’s phone went off at every key moment throughout the film could take away from my overall feeling towards it. What made it so excellent for me was how physical it felt. Never before watching a fight have I really felt the impact of the punches; as the way the camera is panned out on TV allows you to desensitise yourself from the brutality. However, in this film the way the camera is right in the centre of the action allows you to really appreciate how truly violent boxing is. Therefore, when fight scenes were unfolding at key points throughout the film; you were whisked away on a more acute emotional journey, as you could empathise with the characters at a more fundamental level.
This solid basis of empathy meant that across the film everything seemed to matter more, which meant that plot twists and even just the general narrative development was more exciting. Furthermore, the fact that the narrative was so well written and profoundly moving anyway, meant that even if my emotional engagement had wained from the brutal boxing initiation, which it never did, I would still have had plenty of plot to get me back to this state of captivation. Additionally, I thought the acting was great and although I have not been a great fan of Tessa Thompson in the past, she was fantastic as Bianca, Creed’s girlfriend but also a hard of hearing pop-star. I thought the extra dimension of story her character added meant that we were not blindsided by a sole focus on the boxing and meant that the film had a firm place in reality. Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan were also equally great; but I feel this is exactly what we have come to expect from the pair.
I thought the music was fantastic and worked very nicely with the film: the way it was cut in and out before and after big moments, meant that the silence was often telling of something important. Moreover, the fact the most of the music was original meant that moments that made use of music from the ‘Rocky’ films were particularly rewarding. Finally, and for Rocky fans who haven’t seen this film yet you will be pleased, I thought the training sequence was immense.
Despite the love I have for this film there is one thing on which I felt it fell down, the lack of an explicit villain. Although I always wanted Jordan’s character to win I didn’t always want Drago to lose. His backstory and the sadness he was raised into, meant that I didn’t want him to fail, as I genuinely felt sorry for him. Although this is not terrible the fact: he was brutally destroying his opponents and I still felt like he was the wronged party; just didn’t mesh well for me. It meant that at times I was confused as to who’s side I was on and in desperate hope of a definitive reason (not) to like Viktor Drago. Eventually the answer came; but, it was very late on in the film.
My Rating: 9/10
If you haven’t got it by now, despite me explicitly stating it a number of times, I loved this film. Although I have a clear criticism; as stated above, I believe that this duality in our feeling toward him, was most likely intentional and did at points add to the narrative as well as detract from it. Aside from that, this film had everything: good characters, good plot, good music and also an interesting structure (as it seemed to clearly play in two parts.) Rocky fan or not you need to see this film. Why? Because it’s awesome.
Thank you for reading, and do come back next week to see what I thought of ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’. If you liked this review then please like and follow me here and on my social media @judesfilmreviews.