Saturday, December 26, 2015

Last Manly Man Standing

.
Like the shark from Jaws IV: The Revenge: Adonis Creed's blood legacy just won't leave him be. When we first meet him he's throwing punches - but for good reasons! - in juvie, where a social worker tells us "He's a good kid, but he just... fights." He can't help it! The boy can't help it. For he is Creed, and yadda yadda that's the way these things go. 

He doesn't even know who his father is at first, you guys! And when he does, he doesn't want to take that name. He gets promotions at his office job, he carries packages for little old ladies that look like Sylvester Stallone. He is a good kid. He just... fights.

And it is Creed: The Movie's job to convince us that this is okay! Hey nevermind all that stuff we maybe once said about forging your own path or being your own man - what really matters is you eventually take your father's name and quit your office job and get that sexy girl singer to coo over your big muscles and stare dreamily at you from the sidelines as you pound other dude's faces bloody. Cuz men! And hey maybe one day you too can cheat this girl - once she's too old for you and has nothing to do but sit round her giant mansion by herself sloshing enormous glasses of wine around - and keep the family legacy going.

Because legacy is what counts! Not just counts - legacy is what will follow you to the ends of the earth, no matter what you do, and sink its fangs in and never let go. If that legacy just happens to be the inability to control one's own violence, all the better! This is inspirational, I guess? That's what I hear anyway.

The original Rocky movie worked, and still works, because Rocky Balboa is proven to be a man of limited choices. He is not smart, and his world is small. He has some swagger with Adrian, but she is the shyest shop-girl you've ever seen in all your life - it would be difficult to not come off as confident opposite her. He doesn't own the neighborhood - hell, he has his most intimate conversations with turtles. Punching dudes down is believably all he has, the film is able to make the case... and then the triumph of the film is that it's not all he has - Rocky loses the fight but gets the girl and a glimmer of respect in the outside world, and that is triumphant. Adriannnn!

In Creed Adonis Creed's triumph turns out to be that he has a world of choices but the only choice right for him is what he was born into. It is in his blood. Yes in the end he too loses, but just by technicality, which is screenwriter speak for "hey everybody liked that in the first movie." And yes he too gets the girl, that gorgeous cypher who one time gives a speech about how maybe she's just using him to advance her own story-line, as if this speech does anything but make us more aware of what a cypher she is, just there to advance Adonis' story-line. (Her career is there to show us how sexy she is, not to legitimately get in the way or anything, and how dare she insist otherwise doesn't she know CANCER.) And the only name being cried out before the end credits is the only one that matters, that of the absent father whose only act for his son was abandoning him (and please nevermind that dead mother, she's hardly mentioned) - no, nothing but Creed. Creed. Creed.
.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Although I haven't seen this movie, you make a very eloquent case for what's wrong with it at its heart. I believe you.

homeslaughter said...

Perfectly expressed. I just don't understand what anyone saw to like in this movie but shoulders