The Best Films of the Decade: #29. Creed (2015)

| December 13, 2019
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In just 18 Days the decade will come to a close and so for movie lovers like me it is an opportunity to look over the decade of movies that are left behind. Over the next few weeks I am going to count down the best films of the past 10 years from #40 to #1. My choices are personal choices swayed by nothing but the love I have for this medium. These are all great movies. These films all achieved something great. All reached for something special. They are the best of the decade . . .

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My love of movies, I will freely admit, extend almost as long as I’ve been alive – give or take a few early years when I wasn’t conscious of what a movie was.  Rocky has been with me for most of that time and , like anything else, it has had it’s rise and fall. But never has one faltering series risen to the heights of Ryan Coogler’s Creed.

Not satisfied to make just another painted over sequel, Creed exists in the universe of Rocky Balboa but splits off in its own direction to tell a story that is surprisingly prescient.  It appears that Apollo Creed had a one-night-stand just before his fatal stand-off with Ivan Drago and it produced an illegitimate son, Adonis.  In trouble since youth, he is never-the-less taken in by Creed’s widow and as he grows up feels the same fire to prove himself that his old man did.  He wants to be a boxer and enlists the help of Rocky to get there.  See, here is a film that not only continues the series, but helps to make the events of the series’ least entry (Part 4, the one with the Russian) actually palatable and even poetic.

But this isn’t just another hack-strung sequel.  This is a beautifully made film about destiny and fate and passion.  This is the story of the rise of a kid determined to climb out of the shadow of a father so lionized by history that it might be easy for him to simply skate by.  Adonis has a lot of demons to battle and a lot of pressures to overcome.  Michael B. Jordan plays Donnie as a young man mired in the fear and confusion of a young man forging an identity for himself.

Ryan Cooglar and his co-screenwriter Aaron Covington have written a new chapter in a series that many thought wore itself out years ago.  But there are themes to be explored not just about determination but about battling this thing called life and making decisions that will chart the course of destiny.  Plus, it’s also about coming home.  The best movies do that, they allow us to come back around and see the great characters pressed by the adamant of time.  It’s always wonderful to revisit Rocky again and the end of the movie, which I won’t spoil, brings him back to where we met him, only this time for a different reason.  He’s home again, and so are we.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
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