In Theatres: 
Nov 25, 2015
Running Time: 
133 minutes

Sylvester Stallone has always been at the forefront of the Rocky franchise. The series has always been about rising above whatever difficulties and struggles you might face and overcoming adversity; a true rag-to-riches story for both Stallone himself and the character he plays, Rocky Balboa. Creed has its own uphill battle to face as it is both a spin-off and sequel of the franchise and the first to focus on someone other than Rocky. It follows the same general format as its predecessors, but its characters breathe a new life into the franchise.


Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) is the son of the legendary boxer Apollo Creed, but he has always distanced himself from his famed father, fighting under his mother’s name instead. Up until now he’s only been fighting in amatuer boxing matches down in Tijuana, but a recent move to Philadelphia puts him in contact with Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Rocky, seeing that he’s Apollo’s son, reluctantly agrees to train him to become a better fighter. As he rises in the ranks, the word of Adonis’ heritage gets out, and the pressure of living up to his father’s name becomes all the more real.


Creed is a new beginning for the Rocky franchise, and the film comes out swinging. The opening fight showcases that Michael B. Jordan is an absolute beast when he puts on the gloves. Not only does he look the part by packing on pounds of muscle for the role, but he performs like any boxer you would see on a pay-per-view event. There is never any doubt that he doesn’t belong in the ring.


Director Ryan Coogler does an excellent job at capturing every punch and every blow, as evident by Adonis’ first main boxing match. It’s a gorgeous single-shot take that follows Adonis around the ring as he throws punches and bobs and weaves. At times the camera will swing over to his opponent or to Rocky over in the corner, but it never cuts. It’s nothing but constant action for a couple of minutes.


Outside the ring, Adonis struggles with overcoming the hype and pressure surrounding the Creed name. He learns from Rocky, who he sees as a father figure, and Rocky learns from him as well. Even though he’s retired, Rocky ends up the underdog in a fight once again, only this time it’s with cancer. It’s a hard-hitting side story that mirrors Adonis’.  


Creed acts as the perfect transition to a younger generation of audiences who didn’t grow up with Rocky Balboa. Adonis is the main contender of the film, but Rocky always has a strong presence throughout. The boxing it presents is phenomenal, both inside the ring and during the multiple training montages. Michael B. Jordan isn’t just acting, he’s actually training as a boxing. There is never any doubt he’s the right one to carry the Creed moniker and the entire Rocky franchise forward.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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