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Creed 2015 ***

It’s astonishing to think that an spin-off from the Rocky films was an awards contended in 2015. Not that Ryan Coogler’s film isn’t good, it’s probably the strongest since the original film, but it’s a measure how culture has changed that Creed was hailed as being important. Of course, the key here is a reversal; instead of beating up a black man (Apollo Creed) in the ring, Sylvester Stallone is now the aging trainer, and Michael P Jordan’s Adonis is the son of the late boxer. If there was racism inherent in the original film, and that’s very much an arguable point given Stallone’s own ethnicity and outsider status, Creed does a lot of vanquish any such accusations. The training scenes are well done (one single-shot bout is outstanding) and it’s kind of fun to see Apollo Creed’s shorts handed down like a holy relic. And even if the ending rings far too few changes on the winning formula, Creed is a neat inversion of a classic trope for more PC times.

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