Creed is the latest film in the Rocky series that focuses on the son, Adonis ‘Donnie’ Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), of the late former boxer and friend of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Struggling with not having a father we see a younger Adonis (Alex Henderson) in a youth prison where he is visited by Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad). Mary Anne isn’t the biological mother of Adonis, it is revealed that Apollo had an affair before he died, despite this she offers to take Adonis home with her.
The film fast forwards seventeen years, Adonis has just been promoted at his office job however his passion for boxing leads him to pursue a career in fighting. After the loss of Apollo through boxing Mary Anne is disappointed in Adonis choosing to follow the same path. His decision leads him to moving to Philadelphia where he seeks out Rocky after hearing all the stories of his friendship with his father.
At first Rocky is adamant that he doesn’t want anything to do with boxing now and wont train Adonis however after persistence from Donnie, Rocky is convinced. The film has many motivational moments that would make the laziest person want to ‘get up and go.’ Michael B. Jordan is fantastic and really portrays the anger that the character has as well as the determination to become the best. Stallone plays the trainer/mentor role amazingly well coming across wise, and his usual friendly personality making him more and more likable in each film.
Jordan does really well to show the inner conflicts that Adonis experiences throughout his journey so far, one main issue being his fear of failing the ‘Creed’ name. This is a theme highlighted in the trailers with Bianca (Tessa Thompson), Adonis’ love interest, telling him that it’s his name so he should use it. Right from the off you get the impression that Adonis is ‘lost’ emotionally. Fighting under different names, using Johnson as his last name to steer clear of the Creed relation, this film shows a journey of someone accepting who they are and taking on any challenge that may come from it.
Jordon and Stallone have a great on screen relationship and Stallone arguably gives one of his best performances in a long time earning himself an academy award nomination for best supporting actor (Jordon being denied a nomination was a contributing factor to this year’s revival of #oscarssowhite).
Thompsons character Bianca is someone that the audience will enjoy (maybe not her music), she has good chemistry with Jordan on screen and has a back story with a bit of pull. However, it may be that they were struggling to fit in some scenes to develop Bianca’s relationship with other characters, without giving away any of the story I can’t go into too much detail.
An area that was greatly improved in this film from the previous Rocky films was the choreography of the fighting. Some of the fight scenes are brilliant and the make-up is insane, especially in the final showdown fight against real life boxer Tony Bellew who plays the scouse ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan.
Creed is a solid introduction to a new lead character in this Rocky ‘reboot-spin off.’ Michael B. Jordan is a fantastic young actor with the potential to play this character for many years to come as well as be successful in other genres and areas. Stallone gave a phenomenal performance with a number of heart wrenching moments. With the success that Creed has had a second is just a matter of time and I can’t wait.