The Rocky franchise of movies has been one of the most popular series of films over the last thirty years since the 1976 release of the first Rocky movie. Creed is the first movie to be written by someone else other that Sylvester Stallone and also his first time out of the directors chair with Aaron Covington and Ryan Coogler in the hot seat.
Creed sees young Adonis Johnson Creed (Michael B. Jordan), a troubled young man after the untimely death of his father and boxing legend Apollo Creed turns up on Rocky’s door set to seek training and follow in his father’s footsteps. Reluctant at first, Rocky shies away from training the young boxer, however Creed (who goes by his mothers last name of Johnson) finally persuades him and Rocky is once again out of retirement to show the world that its not all over yet for the boxing great.
The major factor that audiences loved about the original Rocky movies was the under dog rags-to-riches tale, of a boxer that makes good and gets the girl. With Creed, the movie stays away from that theme and it’s not really clear as to why the young man is angry and aggressive until later in the film when we learn that Adonis is the illegitimate child and the product of an affair, so he has a pretty big point to make that he is not a mistake.
Having been raised by Apollo’s widow Mary Ann Creed (Phylicia Rashard) he finally gets to step out of his father’s shadow and with the help of love interest Bianca (Tessa Thompson), a partially deaf musician, he is able to step up and be the man he wants to be.
With new writers and Stallone not sitting in the directing chair, the movie does take on a lot of Blockbuster gloss with montages and highly emotive music at every turn. It can be a little hard to connect to the character when every time he has a break through or a crisis there is blaring Hollywood motivational music blaring which is borderline cheesy. Also the motivation as to why Apollo Creed’s widow would take in a child that is the product of her husband’s infidelity is never made that clear and not explored.
When Rocky becomes sick the movie takes a more serious turn and Stallone portrays the role of a cancer patient quite well – even if some of it is mashed up in montages, the images it portrays are rather accurate. Stallone shows a lot of heart as the ailing Balboa and it’s rather a surprise to see him handle the emotion quite well.
Whilst the movie claims to be a reboot of the series and with the story line leaving open possible sequels, without Rocky Balboa it would simply be another boxing movie. As it stands, Creed is quite an enjoyable flick once it shifts into high gear.
Review: Amanda Starkey