Franchise Weekend – Creed II (2018)

Director: Steven Caple Jr

Writer: Sylvester Stallone, Juel Taylor (Screenplay) Cheo Hodari Coker, Sascha Penn (Story)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu

 

Plot: Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, light heavyweight contender Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago.

 

Runtime: 2 Hour 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Legacy Continues Strongly

 

Story: Creed II starts when Adonis (Jordan) finally captures the title, on top of the world he proposes to Bianca (Thompson) whose career is also going place and wants to enjoy the next chapter of his career as champion. Buddy Marcelle (Hornsby) a promoter has a different plan for Adonis, when he brings Viktor Drago (Munteanu) to America, the son of Ivan Drago (Lundgren) who killed Apollo in the ring.

Adonis must learn to rise up against his biggest challenge to date, learning to control his emotions as he takes on Viktor, who has his own personal fight to restore the family name, while Rocky (Stallone) is torn between helping and advising Adonis about whether to follow in his father’s footsteps.

 

Thoughts on Creed II

 

Characters – Adonis starts this film by winning the belt he didn’t win in the last film, he take the next step in his family life proposing to Bianca, having his first child being on top of the world. He loses it all and must learn to rebuild his reputation and defend his belt against the son of the man that killed his father. Now for this story Adonis has a nice arc, but he never feels like a champion. Rocky refuses to help Adonis in his match against Viktor, he is worried he will make the same mistakes as his father when his future is waiting for him. He has gotten over his cancer from the last film and must make his own difficult decision on whether to help Adonis to make up for his own mistakes with Apollo and rebuild his own bridges. Bianca has her music career taking off, ready to be involved  in the festival circuit, her hearing is only getting worse, so she wants to make the most of her chance, she doesn’t want to stand in Adonis’s way, but she also wants to make sure she doesn’t  have to raise their child alone. Ivan Drago has seen his reputation ruined after his loss to Rocky, kicked out of the country, he had to rebuild his life and with his son, he has made a fighting machine. Viktor is the son of Ivan, he is a machine in the ring just like his father, we get to have a lot more sympathy for him than we should because he is fighting his father’s battle, he lost his future and when his success comes the flocks that abandoned his father return.

PerformancesMichael B Jordan does have a lot more emotional moments to go through in this film which he does well, he however never makes us feel like he would be a champion. Sylvester Stallone continues to show this is turning into one of his go too roles for his best performances, while Tessa Thompson continues to show her talent to the world reprising the role which helped her break through. Dolph Lundgren gives one of his best performances in recent years and Florian Munteanu makes for a great fighting villain, who shows much better range than anyone was expecting.

StoryThe story picks up when Adonis has gotten himself into a number one contenders match, winning the title reach the peak of his early career and personal life, until the Drago’s arrive in an attempt to knock him off his perch and reclaim the fame that they once had. The story does feel like the weakest part of the film though, we seem to just skip Adonis reaching the title match, we never learn how good he is in the ring, because in the first film sure he surprised everyone, but he didn’t win, going 12 rounds and winning by points isn’t going to be enough to get a title shot. Most of Adonis’s side of the story is him needing to find himself as he goes to the next chapter of his life. The more interesting story comes from the Drago side of things because we get to see what happened to the once unstoppable fighter and how his life changed after that defeat, raising his son to follow in his footsteps, being shunned by his country and love, shows us just how different the two cultures are towards competitors. Rocky’s side story, while nice, it does feel tacked on just to give him something else to do in the film.

SportsThe boxing is good once again in this film, not quite as the same level, mostly because we get more fights which we don’t need to see too, we like to wait for that one big fight moment which stands out as the highlight of the film.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we don’t just stay in one city this time and the training regime is something new for the franchise.


Scene of the Movie –
The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Adonis never gets made to feel like a champion or even a contender for a belt.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great addiction to the legacy, it does feel like we will be following Adonis’s legacy from now on which is what needed to be done for the franchise.

 

Overall: The legacy has past the torch.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Creed (2015) Revisited

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington (Screenplay) Sylvester Stallone (Characters)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, Tony Bellew

 

Plot: The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.


Tagline – Your legacy is more than a name

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutally Brilliant

 

Story: Creed starts as we see how Adonis was raised in the foster system, before being adopted by Apollo Creed’s wife Mary Anne (Rashad) to raise her late husband’s son, given chances of an education, Adonis (Jordan) is drawn to fighting wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps. With Mary Anne reluctant to see Adonis fight, she sends him to Philadelphia to train away from the streets of LA.

Adonis meets Rocky (Stallone) who gets talked into training Adonis and helping him make decisions that will help his career in an even more cutthroat world that boxing has become, when Light Heavyweight champion ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan (Bellew) and his manager Tommy Holiday (McTavish) learn of Adonis true identity, they want to make a mega payday, which leads to Adonis in his first major fight, while Rocky will face his next fight in life.

 

Thoughts on Creed

 

Characters – Adonis Johnson is the son of Apollo Creed from an affair that saw him being raised in the foster system which taught him how to be tough. Eventually he is adopted by Apollo’s widow who gives him a chance, where he makes a career for himself, however the desire to fight keeps him heading to Mexico for fights before deciding he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. He heads to Philadelphia to learn from his father’s biggest enemy Rocky Balboa, where he learns about his own destiny in the sport. Rocky Balboa is still running his restaurant, he has no lost everyone in his life, with his loved ones passing on and his son moved away, he reluctantly agrees to train Adonis which brings a new spark to his life, only for him to get news about his own future giving him a new fight to take on. Bianca is the neighbour that Adonis meets, she is a musician on the verge of her own big break, with her own problems, they two get close as she becomes part of his own inspiration. Mary Anne is the wife of Apollo, she raised Adonis as her own giving him the chances he had never received, she doesn’t want him to fight because she knows what it does to a boxer, she does however know she isn’t going to win and sends him to Rocky.  

PerformancesMichael B Jordan gives us one of the best boxing performances ever, we believe his own struggles and he gives us belief he is raising up the ranks. Sylvester Stallone bought new life to his character of Rocky here, with a performance that is easily his best in his modern cinema run, he makes everything about his character believable like we caught up with him. Tessa Thompson comes onto the scene with this performance that turned heads, she is great through the film. The rest of the cast are good with Tony Bellew being an actual boxer adding realism to the rival for the fighting world.

StoryThe story here follows Apollo Creed’s son take his first steps in the boxing world, given the unlikely chance for a big fight which is only mean to be a publicity stunt for the champion, much like Rocky’s first big fight. We see how Rocky has made the transition from fighter to trainer with us getting a chance to meet the biggest fictional fighter in his latter years, showing us how life can catch up with everyone. The story could easily be a soft reboot of Rocky and manages to show us how the reboot sequel is working very well at the moment, returning old favourites to help guide the next generation. The side stories going on show us how everybody has their own stories going on, instead of focusing just on one person moment in the sun, which feels refreshing for the genre.

SportsThe boxing in the film is easily the most realistic that you will see in any film, the hit feel as brutal as they are meant to.

SettingsWe return to Philadelphia for most of the film, this shows us how places have changed and others are still the same, it is like stepping into a time capsule at times.


Scene of the Movie –
The big fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked an extra length of time at the press conference.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best in the Rocky franchise for a very long time, it has bought us the same story of becoming an overnight success with one chance to make it, with truly powerful performances from the cast.

 

Overall: Knockout Movie.

Rating

 

 

Fahrenheit 451 (2018)

Director: Ramin Bahrani

Writer: Amir Naderi, Ramin Bahrani (Screenplay) Ray Bradbury (Novel)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Michael Shannon, Sofia Boutella, Lilly Singh, Khandi Alexander, Keir Dullea

 

Plot: In a terrifying care-free future, a young man, Guy Montag, whose job as a fireman is to burn all books, questions his actions after meeting a young girl…and begins to rebel against society.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull and Uninspiring

 

Story: Fahrenheit 451 starts in the future where books have become illegal and firefighters job is to burn books, Captain Beatty (Shannon) and Guy Montag (Jordan) are our two lead firefighters, with Beatty about to get promoted. The Eels (the people behind the books) continue to fight for the true history with their identity being erased if they get caught with books.

When one of the investigations goes in a direction they can’t control, Guy starts to question the decisions to burn the books, learning from Clarisse (Boutella) about the culture that came before and fighting back against the system.

 

Thoughts on Fahrenheit 451

 

Characters – Guy Montag is the charismatic firefighter, one of the faces of the movement which burns the books, he starts to question his decisions about burning the books and the history being left behind, he could become the big part of the change needed. Captain Beatty is the mentor of Guy, the partner in firefighting, he is cold hearted through every action he does, truly believing in what he is working for. Clarisse is one of the victims of the burning, deleted from the records she is the connection for Beatty as he looks to eliminate other pockets of Eels.

PerformancesThe movie here has three of the best actors in the business today in, they struggle here, Michael B Jordan doesn’t give us any of the charisma we know he is capable off, just becoming background for the most part. Michael Shannon does the best work in the film as the man leading the firefighters, while Sofia Boutella is solid without being great.

StoryThe story here takes us to a world where books are bad and if you were to be caught with them, you become burned, this is a remake of a film I have never seen, but it also feels like it should be called Equilibrium because the similarities are striking.  We know how this type of story will go as the once great firefighter now wants to work for the other side questioning everything he has been doing. It doesn’t come off as original, it has poor pacing throughout and the story ends up feeling boring.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi world we enter seems interesting, but we never get to explore why the books became banned and how the movement came about.

SettingsThe film seems to be set in a modern looking world, which shows how efficient things are meant to be, but we never get to explore the different classes in this world.

Special EffectsThe effects are solid enough, even if we don’t turn to them too often.


Scene of the Movie –
The moment Guy starts to question everything.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too slow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow moving movie that does ask a big question, we never get to focus on everything needed to make this interesting.

 

Overall: Slow moving throughout.

Rating

 

 

Black Panther (2018)

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Letita Wright, Sterling K Brown

 

Plot: T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.


Tagline – The Avengers have a new king.

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Specular Visual Superhero Movie

 

Story: Black Panther starts after the events of Civil War, T’Challa (Boseman) returns Wakanda to claim his throne as the king of Wakanda after his father’s death. going through the ceremony with the rest of the people including his ex-love Nakia (Nyong’o), most trusted general Okoye (Gurira), little sister Shuri (Wright) and leaders Ramonda (Bassett), Zuri (Whitaker) and W’Kabi (Kaluuya).

Being the new king of Wakanda his first mission is to track down former enemy Ulysses Klaue (Serkis) who is planning to sale a Wakanda weapon which brings back an old friend Everett Ross (Freeman) and a strange who believes he has the right for the throne in Erik Killmonger (Jordan), can this battle be the one that shows T’Challa his rightful place as the king and the Black Panther.

 

Thoughts on Black Panther

 

Characters – T’Challa is the new king of Wakanda, he wants to continue the calm peaceful reign like his father, but will need to face his father’s past to bring the new future for the technological advanced society. He has the expert combat skills, the calmness to be a leader and following rituals like the leaders of his past have. Erik Killmonger is a mercenary that knows he has a right to the throne and will go to any lengths to take the throne. He has an impresses kill count in battle which makes him a deadly enemy. Nakia is the former partner of T’Challa, she returns to support him and wants to see him open the technology of Wakanda to the world after her work as a spy around the world. Okoye is the greatest warrior in Wakanda, she must stay loyal to the throne regardless of if she believes in the leader of not. Shuri is the younger sister of T’Challa, she works on the weapons being the bubbly gadget lady that makes the most jokes and easily steals the scenes she is in. we have plenty of other characters with some being inside Wakanda, others being enemies and others being friends in waiting.

PerformancesChadwick Boseman is wonderful in this leading role, he bought us everything we got from Civil War and made us only want more from his character. Michael B Jordan gives us a great villainous performance that is as complex and he is deadly. Lupita is good in her role as she offers Chadwick a difficult set of decisions. Dania gives us the kick ass character and one we know she can play well. For me Letita Wright is the breakout star from this movie, being able to steal nearly every scene is something that will get people talking. In fairness the whole cast is great throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows T’Challa and his rise to be the king and the next Black Panther, he must come to face the new challenges of being a leader, be it the conflict within or the conflict from the outside world. He must make the difficult decisions which could bring his people to a new stage to the world. This is a good introduction to this character and his world, which does have moments which you will have seen in other movies, but works enough to make this stand out on its own.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action sequences are wonderful to witness, we have brilliant camera work which will make one certain moment truly seem original and stand out. The adventure takes us to this new world, technology advanced from the rest of the world. The sci-fi world we enter isn’t like anything we could imagine seeing in the middle of the rain forest.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to make every location feel different from the last, this helps us enjoy the environments we are entering.

Special EffectsThe effects can’t be faulted once, they all look spectacular making this one of the best visual experience of the year so far.


Scene of the Movie –
South Korea fight sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I felt moments of comedy missed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful addition to the MCU, we get to learn more about The Black Panther character and the world he is from, which only makes us want to see more of this in the future.

 

Overall: Brilliant addition that still stands out as one.

Rating

 

 

Fruitvale Station (2013)

fruitDirector: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray, Ahna O’Reilly

 

Plot: The story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Drama

 

Story: Fruitvale Station starts with the start of Oscar Grant’s (Jordan) day disagreements with his girlfriend Sophina (Diaz) but covering it up for their daughter Tatiana (Neal) who he does everything he can to be a wonderful father to. The day is New Year’s Eve and Oscar’s mother’s Wanda (Spencer) birthday that he goes out of his way to make today special for her.

As the day continues we get to see the sort of life Oscar has been living, fresh out of jail but recently losing his job trying to escape a criminal lifestyle which could pay for everything his family needs.

Finishing the parties and everything Oscar joins his friend’s on celebrating the new year stuck on a train but making the most of everything but this is only the beginning of this night for Oscar.

 

Thoughts on Fruitvale Station

 

StoryWhen you look at this true story you will know the outcome of what will hit hard, the story of the day in the life of Oscar a young man whose life has been tough with not everything going smoothly but this day shows how he could be turning the corner and cleaning up his act becoming fully responsible. Now to get into the overall problem with the big incident in the film, which only happens because chaotic scenes after a small scuffle which caused all the protests in the aftermath, if these guys where innocent they should have co-operated and not being all riled up causing the chaotic scenes which followed and then this tragic story would never have happened.

Biography/RomanceShowing the events of this day of Oscar shows how he wasn’t the squeaky-clean character which is important but one whose life decisions has put him on the wrong side of the laws eyes. This is important because we sympathise with the character but also know he hasn’t always walked the straight line.

PerformancesMichael B Jordan gives a truly wow performance here showing he is the star we know he is now, while he is the true star of the film the supporting performance are all brilliant too throughout.

SettingsEach setting shows us just where Oscar was in his life how he didn’t have everything just wanting to make sure his family had a roof over their heads and food on their table which comes through in every single scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard-hitting drama that shows just how difficult the divide between citizens and police is in certain parts of the world.

 

Overall: This is important to see just to see how tragic the story is

Ratingcard