Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Guy Asked Me About Creed 2...

I took myself to see Creed 2 this afternoon and had, for the 1st time ever, the theatre to myself.

So I settled in with a glass of Chianti to enjoy the show. It was bargain day at the VIP cinema. In a not million years, would my wife have wanted to see this movie.

It’s a dreary thing, I found. And a word that came to mind as I watched it was “pastiche,” by which I meant a whole bunch of pasted on things. Another word that kept coming to mind was “formulaic,” as in following a formula, in this case in a tired and untrue, as opposed to a tried and true, way. And another was “cliche.” 

There was for me so much recycling of past narrative lines and sequences and arcs too, that I felt the oxygen of the organic had escaped this film nearly completely. Michael B. Jordan bored me. His wife bored me. Their domestic dramas bored me. His dilemmas bored me, as did his arcs, as did his scenes with Stallone. I found it all flat man, flat.

And here’s one thing that irked me, the fantasy element of the boxing. The film gave the appearance of showing how badly Creed got hurt in the first fight with Drago. And I know we see him wince and keel over in apparent abject pain and we see him in the hospital with his face busted up, eye swollen, wrapped up in bandages. But I never got the sense of the reality of his pain. And his recovery was pro forma, not even a hint at the real physical and mental struggle that his recovery would have involved. I thought his training camp getting ready for the second fight was better even as it was that Rocky thing done one more time. There were enough detail and specifics of the training that they sold it to me more.

I don’t understand the need for the baby not being able to hear. Maybe I missed something important in the story that made that make sense but short of that it made none to me. And we’re left at the end of the film, at least I was, not knowing what if anything later tests had shown. 

On the plus side, I thought Stallone was pretty good as a “demz, doze and deze” kind of guy. I thought he did some authentic and and effective acting that gave me a concrete sense of a real guy. But then his owning a restaurant is thrown in with little about it that makes sense or is attached to the movie as a whole. I see him in one scene pounding and rolling dough. Is he the chef there or what? And the fantasy of him as some kind of brilliant boxing mind who could teach Creed how to overcome the behemoth who is a good boxer besides being a massive hulk was just that for me, a fantasy. As was the thought that Drago, a hulking powerful guy who is, as the movie has it, a good boxer, could fall at the hands of Creed also seems like fantasy to me, as if a good powerful heavy heavyweight couldn’t decimate a good strong but much smaller, lighter and shorter light heavyweight. 

Also fantasy to me too were the boxing scenes themselves. Boxing is in your wheelhouse not mine, but I’ve seen a fair number of prize fights on TV and the notion that anyone could sustain repeated blows to the head as are shown in the movie and come out of it conscious and mentally firing on all cylinders seems preposterous to me. Those blows are concussive leading to deathly or at a minimum permanent brain damage. 

On the other plus side, for all my doubts, hesitations and criticisms, the final fight was effective in absorbing me despite them all. So there is that.

If the movie is intended to be a kind of escapist fantasy, then maybe some of my criticisms get waylaid. But I think it takes itself too seriously to have intended to be that and so I think finally it’s a pretty bad movie. 

And I say that as someone who remembers himself quite liking  Creed 1.

If I had to judge it, I’d give it 38 out of a 100, 3.8 out of 10 and 1.9 out of 5.

I see from the reviews that I’m way out of the mainstream of opinion on this film, which got pretty high marks. But that’s my story and I’m sticking with it. :-)

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