39 years after the release of the original Rocky film, a new tale of personal turmoil and strength is told. Creed is a movie set in the universe of the Rocky franchise. I will be your tour guide through this review.
Warning there will be spoilers ahead.
I only say this because it is an important detail in the movie. You have been warned, so lace up your boots and wrap your hands cause here is the review of Creed.
This is the story of a young man named Adonis Johnson, son of Apollo Creed from the original series. We meet our protagonist in juvenile hall. Prone to fighting and in and out of the foster care system, little Creed fights to survive. Until the day Mary Anna Creed takes in the boy and raise him as her own. Adonis has an office job but in his heart he wants to be a fighter like his legendary father whose shadow he lives under. He tells Mary Anna that he wants to be a boxer, and they have a falling out which leads him moving to Philadelphia. Here is where he meets Rocky Balboa his father’s best friend and rival.
This is where the movie connects the past with the present day. Michael B Jordan and Sylvester Stallone have good chemistry with the boxer/trainer relationship. Jordan’s Adonis is set on living down to his father’s legacy and instead, building a name for himself. Rocky, as we meet him in the film has closed himself from the world of boxing since we last met him. The movie does not mention the events of Rocky Balboa, but does catch us up on how the Italian Stallion has been doing since his career in the ring has ended. He is basically Mickey in this tale, an old hermit who has nothing left in his life and would love to be left alone. Adonis does not let this happen and in turn, gives Balboa new motivation to fight.
Just like the first Rocky film, there is a love story in the midst of the fighting. Tessa Thompson plays the beautiful Bianca a talented singer in the Philly music scene. Jordan and Thompson make for a good couple which serves to motivate Johnson to fight and put his all into his craft. It is a familiar sight to see in this franchise. Adrian and Rocky are mirrored in this image of new love.
We are introduced to new fighters in this movie which possibly provides the ground for a series to be built upon. One fighter in particular is Pretty Ricky Conlan, played by Tony Bellew which is the main opponent for Johnson in this film. He is the World Champion and believes that Adonis is given all his opportunities because of who his father was. This builds conflict into this story.
The boxing world in the movie reflects our own, minus a few details. HBO and ESPN gave the rights for their brand to be used in the film. This is one aspect that I liked. We were given a small segment of 24/7. A show used to promote and showcase up and coming fights, and a PTI (Pardon the Interruption) debate.
Writer and director Ryan Coogler added a new detail to the Rocky story. One that will tug at your heart and emotions. We see Rocky get ill during a training session with Adonis. He is rushed to the hospital and later we learn that he suffers from Lymphoma cancer. This is where his relationship with Adonis gets strong. They both have a thier own fight in this film. It's heartbreaking seeing a character that I loved since childhood suffer from something that I have seen friends and family die from. It was hard to see in the film, someone so strong was starting to lose hope and quit. They even added the minor details of chemotherapy to the film. It was a small twist to the tale of Balboa.
Creed has a good story with great fight scenes. The punches in the ring sound and feel real. As a boxing fan, I was cheering and flinching at every hit and move made in the ring. This added to the worth of the film. If there was one negative to the film, it is too close to the original movie. The positive is, it did not feel like a remake or reboot, but a reintroduction into the world of Rocky through the eyes of Creed. It sounds cliche, but the movie seemed fresh. It injected new life into the franchise. Coogler and Jordan made a good team as director and lead actor with Stallone as a supporting character. I did need my Frank Stallone fix, which I did not get! We all know he is the better Stallone with the voice of an angel. It's major strength is that it is inspired by Coogler’s love for Rocky and Stallone. We have a new contender in our hands. This film gets a 9/10.