The “Rocky” franchise has received a major shot in the arm with today’s release of “Creed,” an extension of the Balboa universe. This time the story focuses on Adonis Creed, the son of Rocky’s former nemesis-turned-friend Apollo Creed.
Michael B. Jordan (“Fantastic Four”) plays the young Creed, who as a troubled child bounced around from foster home to foster home until Apollo’s wife learned about Adonis and took him in.
Knowing his father was the former champion of the world, a now grown Creed sets out to follow in his father’s footsteps. And to do that he travels to Philadelphia to seek out Balboa (played once more by Sylvester Stallone) as his boxing manager.
Directed by Ryan Coogler, who cast Jordan in his debut breakout feature “Fruitvale Station,” “Creed” has quickly become a favourite among critics (it currently has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) who are comparing it to the early “Rocky” movies.
But will it come out of nowhere, like “Rocky” did when it won Best Picture at the 1977 Oscars, and make noise at this year’s Oscars?
“I definitely think it’s going to slip into the Best Picture race,” said Erik Davis, managing editor of Fandango. “It’s really a wild-card year at this point, with no solid frontrunner and a strong desire from a lot of people to see more variety in the Oscar contenders.”
But the film’s main chance may come in the Best Supporting Actor category. Stallone’s Rocky performance, which gradually slips into the Mickey role from the original movies, could tap the nostalgia of Oscar voters. (Burgess Meredith as the stubborn manager received a Best Supporting Actor nomination.)
“I would go so far as calling him the frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor,” Davis said of Stallone. “This is Rocky at his weakest. He’s in a different fight this time around, much more dramatic and emotional.”
Stallone is currently ranked 7th in this year’s Supporting Actor race, according to the awards-season site Gold Derby.
Stallone has never won an Oscar, but was nominated for Best Actor and Best Screenplay for “Rocky” in 1977.
“Creed” opens in theatres on Wednesday.
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