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Starring Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Wood Harris, Phylicia Rashad, Jacob Duran, Tony Bellew & Graham McTavish

Directed by Ryan Coogler

How do you hang with one of the most notable film series in history? You don’t. You can match it, but no matter your approach you can’t top it. At least in the eyes of history. Even if Creed were the best of the series it would never be recognized against the true classic. Thankfully director Coogler doesn’t even bother trying.

Creed has its own story to tell, though the formula is entirely derivative. It does suffer an identity crisis when the focus shifts from the young boxer taking life on inside the ring to the old veteran outside the ring. But its authentic depiction of Philadelphia, topped by a stellar performance from the most unlikely of actors, makes Creed a welcome edition into the franchise.

MRD 6 of 10

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Starring Tom Hardy, Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, Chazz Palminteri, Colin Morgan & Paul Bettany

Directed by Brian Helgeland

Mumbling Tom Hardy is at it again. In Legend he gets to approach said mumbling in two separate ways. Hardy is quite good, but all the jokes that have appeared in pop culture are warranted. The difference here is that it works. Legend has that English brand of organized crime drama all over it, and Hardy’s duel-performance, along with his glorious mumble, is right within its element.

MRD 6 of 10

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Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ben Wishaw, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes & Dave Bautista

Directed by Sam Mendes

Spectre is a testament to the James Bond formula. No matter what era, no matter who’s playing the role, James Bond is the same misogynistic dinosaur. The fact that Spectre performed well enough to justify it’s existence is both a testament to its fortitude, yet also detrimental to its reputation.

What works is the rejuvenation James Bond goes through as the character transitions. What doesn’t is he hasn’t changed his attitude or his inability to miss with a gun since 1962. Don’t get me wrong, Spectre is good, but it could have been so much more had it bothered with some slight innovation. Instead it’s relegated to one of the many James Bond films that simply makes up the numbers.

MRD 7 of 10

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