Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Sylvester Stallone, Florian Munteanu, Dolph Lungdren, Phylicia Rashad, Russell Hornsby, Wood Harris
Amongst a sea of reboots and revivals, 2015’s Creed set the high water mark, pleasantly surprising audiences and critics alike by bringing a new relevance to a beloved but diminished franchise. Ryan Coogler’s film effectively functioned as both sequel and remake, continuing the story of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) into his older years, while also presenting a new hero for a new generation in Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan). With Creed II, Steven Caple Jr, who has taken the reins from Coogler, is attempting a similar balancing of the old and the new, crafting a film that serves simultaneously as a sequel to Creed and to Rocky IV.
After starting out his career as a curiosity, as Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis Creed has earned legitimacy and claimed the world heavyweight crown. He is engaged to Bianca (Tessa Thompson), whose music career is going strong, and they have a child on the way. In short, life is pretty good for Donnie. But again, the shadow of his father proves inescapable. Continue reading
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Andy Serkis, Forest Whitaker
The superhero movie has evolved as a genre over the last two decades, embracing more sophisticated narratives and themes. However despite that progression, it has remained almost exclusively the domain of white, male protagonists. The overwhelming response to Wonder Woman last year showed how empowering it was for women to finally see themselves in positions of strength and agency usually reserved for men. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther offers that same experience to people of African descent, again pointing to the incredible importance of representation in cinema, particularly in popular cinema. Continue reading
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Tony Bellew
Released in 2006, Rocky Balboa was a fitting farewell to the beloved character. Fifteen years after the previous instalment it allowed the Italian Stallion to walk off into the sunset with dignity, well and truly making up for the travesty that was Rocky V. The book seemed to be closed. But Ryan Coogler, the young writer and director of 2013’s Fruitvale Station, found a reason to open it again and Stallone was receptive to it. The result, Creed, is one of the genuine cinematic surprises of the year.
In 1998, young Adonis Johnson, who has bounced between foster homes and juvenile detention, discovers that he is the illegitimate son of the deceased legendary heavyweight boxer Apollo Creed, and is invited by Creed’s widow (Phylicia Rashad) to come and live with her. Flash forward to 2015 and Donnie (Michael B. Jordan), as he prefers to be called, has been working in a white collar job during the week and sneaking off to Tijuana to box on the weekends. Deciding he needs to throw himself into his fighting, he relocates to Philadelphia to try and convince his father’s great rival and friend Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) to become his trainer. Continue reading