Creed (Ryan Coogler, 2016)

What's it about? The latest installment in the Rocky franchise sees Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) take on the role of reluctant trainer to Adonis Creed (Michael B Jordan), the illegitimate son of his old enemy-turned-friend Apollo. Training montages ensue.

Is it any good? We're going to roll out a predictable boxing analogy here, because a punch-drunk franchise which was clearly past its best has been whipped into pretty good shape for one last bout and emerges with a lot of dignity following a very creditable display. For this, kudos must go to director Coogler, who smartly revisits the beats of the original film to crowd-pleasing effect, complete with chicken-chasing, training montages and the Philadelphia steps. He also convinced Stallone into taking on the role once more, who repays him with a fine Oscar-nominated performance, a reminder of just how good he was in the original film, before the sequels turned Rocky into a laughable caricature. Beyond the central duo however, none of the supporting characters are as memorable as Adrien, or Paulie, or Apollo, or even Butch. Similarly, whilst Creed's opponents may be realistic adversaries, they lack the cult appeal of a Clubber Lang or Ivan Drago. It means the film is likely to remain respected, rather than universally loved by adoring fans. Nevertheless, if you find you've lost faith in the Rocky films, you'll find the new Creed might restore it.

Anything else I should know? Fans of The Wire will no doubt be impressed by the transformation of Michael B Jordan, who is virtually unrecognizable from the slip of a lad who played the simple Wallace in Series 1. That physique took over 18 months of solid training, not to mention a few slaps in the mouth along the way to toughen him up. Like this one:

What does the Fonz think? Apollo would be proud.

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