Creed (2015)

creed.jpgI had a curious thought watching this boxing drama/fantasy- the way in which it respected its forebears, particularly the Rocky franchise from which this film originates, brought to mind the way BR2049 clearly demonstrated its own respect for the original Blade Runner and its creators.  To my surprise, Creed was clearly no cash-grab, and it was wonderful to see Sylvester Stallone return to his perhaps most famous character and see it treated so respectfully. Sure, these things are only movies and the importance and artistic value of the Rocky franchise is purely subjective really, but it’s nice to see someone making a film like this and it not feeling like a cynical enterprise.

In a curious way, there is the stuff of modern myth about Creed and how it furthers the story of Rocky. Bringing an ageing Rocky back to the screen to reflect on “Everything I got has moved on,” as he recalls his dead wife and freinds, and the old distant glories of his boxing career, Stallone reminds us he can be a great actor with the right material. “And I’m here,” he states, cooly, facing his own mortality and illness. Suddenly, in just the same way that BR2049 informed and improved its original film, Creed does the same for Rocky. Watching the original Rocky films, with the fresh knowledge of this film now existing decades later, and its own story, must surely add something.

It turns out Creed isn’t just a movie. Its something else, and it’s something to do with this myth-making and the parts of movies that linger within us after they have ended. Films aren’t just films, not always. They are time passing and life moving on and changing. I was never a huge fan of the Rocky films (they seemed to descend into self-parody and one of them – the 2006 Rocky Balboa– passed me by entirely) but I can imagine that for fans who first watched Rocky back in 1976 and grew old alongside Stallone over the decades since and several further Rocky films, something like Creed can be quite moving. Cathartic even.  Who doesn’t get a tingle from hearing Bill Conti’s Rocky theme when it returns? I believe Creed is the seventh film of the Rocky franchise and the start of a saga of its own (Creed II being released this month, and the impetus for me to finally catch up with this film (yeah, I said I’m not a big Rocky fan)) and it’s clear that here business becomes art and perhaps, yes, more even than that- modern American myth-making.

So yes, I really was quite taken aback by Creed and had I watched it back in 2015, I’m sure I would have done so hoping that BR2049 could follow suit with its respect for the past (and thank goodness it did). Sequels, remakes and reboots don’t have to be a bad thing after all. And I really now need to rewatch Rocky sometime. Here’s hoping the Beeb schedule it over Christmas…

4 thoughts on “Creed (2015)

  1. Honestly, between Rocky Balboa and Creed, I feel like the Rocky series now belongs in the same conversations as things like Linklater’s Before trilogy and Boyhood, and the Harry Potter films, when it comes to depicting time/ageing on screen. Not all those films are created equal (Before is the best by a mile for me; most of the Rockys could be skipped; in Potter it’s almost an incidental fact of casting real kids and then gradually making 8 big movies), but it’s something that kind of fascinates me.

    1. Yeah I was really quite moved by Creed, especially whenever Stallone was onscreen and the end, with them climbing those iconic steps? Man, I nearly lost it. There was a meta-reality to it, a sense of all those years and those movies and the love fans have for that whole mythology. Its ironic that so many of those Rocky films are actually pretty bad. Its as if it doesn’t really matter. Creed and Rocky on the top of those steps admiring the view, its as if they themselves are looking back on all those movies, breaking the fourth wall. Someone will be writing a book about all this stuff with the movie myth breaking into reality and the audience experience between 1976 and 2015. Its like the Rocky franchise has gone up to some other level and the films have little to do with it, its like on some other level of judging film entirely. I think the new Star Wars films missed something major, funnily enough.

      1. I hadn’t thought of Star Wars in that context. It seemed like the right thing, to make it really all about a new generation, but when other series have got so much quality mileage out of revisiting the same characters but older, it does make you wonder what could’ve been if they’d decided to focus it differently.

  2. Pingback: Creed II (2018) – the ghost of 82

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