An excerpt from my script review for Creed which will be available 01/18/16:
2.) Plot Stability
First, let me start off by saying I’m a HUGE Rocky fan, and of Mr. Stallone for that matter.
So a true part of me really hopes the film did a better job than the script.
The script plot felt so generic.
On one hand it didn’t quite feel like a Rocky film, but on the other, it spoon fed us enough history that we swallowed.
It felt like some odd paradox of Rocky 3 mixed with Rocky Balboa.
I hate to admit this, but Southpaw was a better Rocky story than this film.
We start out okay, with Adonis fighting in random Mexican bars because his grandma, Mary Ann Creed, won’t allow anyone to train him, due to Apollo’s death.
Then there’s this really cool half sister, that’s deaf, and we’re wondering how that all happened, and it turns out Adonis’s dad is in prison, for some reason or another.
Oh, and his mother doesn’t talk to HER mother, the grandma Adonis is pretty chummy with, but don’t worry, NONE of this will be explained later!
Anyway, Adonis saves up enough money and goes to see Duke, who I was excited to see. But it doesn’t last long…Adonis loses all his money and gets thrown out.
So he gets the random notion to head to Philly and find Rocky, hoping The Italian Stallion will train him.
Rocky shows up, and that’s nice, but Paulie’s dead, so in addition to Adrian being gone from the last film, Apollo two (?) films before that, he’s really all we have left.
And here’s the part that kind of sucks, Rocky is just waiting around to die.
He admits so when he gets cancer, but it felt pretty obvious even before that, and it’s kind of sad.
The story’s called “Creed” and of course Adonis belongs in the center of it, but Rocky more or less is only here to put butts in the seats similar to the fight in the middle of the script.
He needs more to do.
“But he TRAINS Adonis!”
Yeah, in a most un-Rocky fashion, of blurting out boxing jargon.
There were a few passionate lines, but where did all the heartfelt speeches go? The ineloquently stated bits of street wisdom?
At one part, I even wondered if Mr. Coogler had ever watched Rocky Balboa. He references Adonis running/looking up at the Rocky statue, which in the last installment had been taken down (and now sits to the side of the art museum). And then Rocky mentions he hasn’t spoken to his son in a few years, even though they reconciled at the fight with Mason Dixon.
My point is there doesn’t feel like a true connection between Rocky and Adonis other than the writer needs there to be for the story to continue.
(Watching the training montage again for Rocky Balboa I almost wish the two plots had been fused together, replacing Mason Dixon with Adonis Creed.)
And then the love story…another piece of generic garbage.
Oh… Adonis falls for the cute neighbor, who’s anti gym guys, until she’s not because he asks her to dinner after watching one of her shows. And everything’s great until OF COURSE he’s not going to be there for her on one of the biggest nights in her life, but she’ll show up last minute in the final fight sequence giving him the strength to overcome.
Bianca started out this strong female character, focusing on her music, which was pretty cool when you contrast that to how shy Adrian was in the first Rocky film.
But then it’s thrown out for the reasons I stated above. Just felt…cheap, is the word the Captain and I seem to default to lately.
Now…Rocky having cancer? VERY GOOD.
That part I enjoyed immensely, especially when Adonis gives him the “I don’t fight if you don’t fight” speech. (Adonis is the new Adiran?)
Then the training in between Rocky’s chemo makes for a fresh new spin on the franchise, and something genuinely heartfelt.
There’s just that initial problem of giving them a true connection where they have no other choice than to travel this path together.
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