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Creed is not only a great addition to the Rocky franchise, but a standalone sequel that brings the series back to its gritty roots. The film picks up with the exploits of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), who’s pursuit of boxing, and his father’s legacy, lead him to train under Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Though it’s a revamped and re energized look at the series, Creed takes advantage of the franchises’s legacy in the best of ways.

Director Ryan Coogler nails the tone of the film from the beginning; while it is a film set within the Rocky universe, it has a realism to the film, while still taking advantage of the boxing movie qualities, and the uniqueness of the characters. While there are moments that don’t quite fit when it comes to motivations and scene structures, Creed excels with its characters; Stallone has never been better as the iconic character, delivering his most layered work in decades, and Michael B. Jordan continues to to excel in a fierce, commanding performance.

Not only is Creed a worthy sequel to the franchise, its one that takes the series in new directions, adding subtlety to the  world and open ends to the characters. Nearly forty years since the original 1976 classic, Creed is an outstanding and inspiring sports film with the heart that mads the original renowned. Grade: -A