Cast: Sylvester Balboa, Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris.
Director: Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station)
Pre-Trailer Thought: The Rocky series has had a weird ride throughout Hollywood history from Oscar prestige (Rocky), to borderline self-parody (Rocky IV), to utter crap (Rocky V), before finally seeming to end on a nice note (Rocky Balboa). But now it’s spinoff time, and Apollo Creed’s son is set to take to the ring. Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights, Fruitvale Station) will play the title role as his star-power in Hollywood grows and grows. I’ve liked his work in the past, so I’m hoping to enjoy this as well. – JTM
Pre-Trailer Thought: When I first heard the reports of Creed, I rolled my eyes. Can’t we just put the Rocky franchise to rest? Then I heard Michael B. Jordan was playing Creed’s son — and my mind immediately changed. Jordan is one of Hollywood’s finest young actors, and at worst, he’ll be the brightest spot of this movie. – BB
Rate the Trailer: 5 out of 5. First off, I head no idea until this trailer was released that this was being helmed by Ryan Coogler, who also directed Fruitvale Station. That instantly ratcheted up my interest in the film and took it as a sign that they are really trying for a fresh start with this one (All the other films have been directed either by Sylvester Stallone or John G. Alvidsen). Everything about this trailer is perfectly crafted to ramp up your excitement, from the excellent use of Lupe Fiasco’s song Prisoners, to the heightened intensity of the boxing training scenes, to the (somewhat obvious) reveal of Sylvester Stallone returning as Rocky. The final shots, of Creed running in slow-mo through the streets of Philadelphia with people riding bikes behind him is an excellent homage to the classic training montages of other Rocky movies as well. – JTM
Rate the Trailer: 4 out of 5. This was an extremely impressive trailer. The choice of Ryan Coogler as the director (and not Stallone) really shows here. This is a gritty, in-your-face trailer for a film that could’ve easily gone the glossy schmaltz root. Jordan looks convincingly like he could be Carl Weathers’ son (although some may argue the timeline of him being Apollo’s son is off), and having Phylicia Rashad as his mom, is just perfect casting. The music in the trailer is perfect and it was a nice little nod to The Wire by including Wood Harris in the trailer. The Stallone reveal is nicely done, and it’s nice to see Rocky will not be the main focus of this film. – BB
Theater, Rent, Undecided, No Thanks: Theater. Coogler is a young director (this is only his second feature), but he shows a lot of promise. Michael B. Jordan looks to be a perfect casting choice as Creed’s son, coming a long way from his days as Wallace on The Wire. With Coogler’s talent behind the camera (as well as helping to write the script) and Jordan’s acting, one has to wonder if Creed could be a return to the Oscar prestige that the Rocky series started off with. – JTM
Theater, Rent, Undecided, No Thanks: Theater. Boxing movies rarely disappoint. The Fighter and Cinderella Man were both excellent, and Southpaw looks bad ass. This, however, has a lot of emotional cache attached to it because this is still in the world of Rocky Balboa. I feel that unlike the latter Rocky sequels, this will have much more dramatic resonance, and that’ll be thanks to the one-two punch of Jordan and Coogler. Simply put, this looks like the Rocky movie we’ve been waiting for. – BB