If you missed Creed, you missed one of the best movies of the year. Not only one of the best movies in the Rocky franchise (I’ve got a soft spot for Rocky IV), but also one of the best, most thoughtful and well-crafted “rebootquels” of this year.
In it, Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed is the illegitimate son of legendary boxer and Rocky antagonist. Struggling to understand if he’s anything more than his last name, he’s wrapped up in an identity crisis that influences his every action, from dating, to his time in the ring. It’s not until the Creed name gets out that Adonis starts to get any real attention.
As Apollo Creed’s illegitimate successor, Adonis isn’t even sure if he amounts to anything as a human being. If he’s even got the right to live. So he fights. To prove that he’s got what it takes. To prove that he’s more than his name. To prove his worth.
That struggle is T’Challa’s – The Black Panther’s – in a nutshell. Son of the beloved Wakandan ruler T’Chaka, T’Challa took up the national mantle of the Black Panther upon his father’s passing and struggles to live up to the name and responsibility. Is he worthy of wearing the Black Panther mantle? Is he a true successor to the throne?
If Coogler’s subtextual politics aren’t enough to sell it, how about his incredible fights in Creed? Don’t tell me you weren’t on the edge of your seat during the fight with Tony Bellew’s ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan. Don’t tell me you didn’t cry a little bit when Adonis said he just wanted to matter. Don’t tell me the last round didn’t knock your socks off. There’s all the reason in the world to believe that Coogler’s going to make the (extraordinarily likely, but for now pure speculation) showdown with Andy Serkis’ Ulysses S. Klaw unforgettable.
But what proof do we have that Black Panther is going to be such a political and emotional movie?