A New Underdog Story
Creed has everything going for it. It’s hard to go wrong with two of the businesses best rising stars (Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson), the return of Stalone as Rocky all under the direction of up-and-coming helmer Ryan Coogler. Is it even possible for it to live up to all the hype that comes along with it being the next entry to one of America’s most beloved film franchises? Read on to find out.
If there’s one common recurring theme in Rocky movies, it’s that they’re always essentially an underdog story. While there’s mostly a new cast of characters and a new hero in this story, Creed is no different. Creed follows the story of Adonis Johnson; the son of Rocky’s opponent/friend from the first few movies, Apollo Creed. We see Adonis fighting to Make a name for himself and live up to the legacy of his father.
I’m so glad that the filmmakers didn’t attempt to do a reboot, or prequel or that they didn’t attempt to get Rocky in the ring again. This was the fresher approach. They were able to follow a completely different character who might be more relatable to the current generation, while still touching on familiar story beats. So as different as everything was, it still felt like it was in same vein as the other movies.
Starting with the title character Adonis Johnson/Creed played by Michael B. Jordan, I loved that nothing was overly stereotypical about this character. Creed didn’t have the typical rags to riches story that you see in movies like these and that I was expecting based on the trailer. At the beginning of the film, we see that Creed has taken on and is succeeding in some sort of professional career. To spite that fact, he has so much passion and is determined to succeed in his true calling and leaves it all behind. Creed was just inspiring in this movie much like Rocky was in the originals.
It was also awesome seeing Sylvester Stalone back reprising one of his most iconic roles. In this one we also get to see Rocky fighting. This time against his own old age and everything that comes along with it. Things like loneliness and health problems. It was a new spin on a beloved character who somehow after all this time still managed to be the underdog we all love to root for.
Creed was always going to need his Adrian. That role is filled by the gorgeous Tessa Thompson as who is quickly becoming one of the most intriguing young actresses in the business. She played Bianca, who much like Adonis and Rocky has her own underdog thing going on and is a much more flushed-out character than Adrian ever was in the Rocky Movies. Her and Creed have great chemistry and their relationship is one of the best things about the movie.
All of the fights here were as good as anything in any of original films. They were all powerful, magnificently choreographed sequences. We see Creed get knocked down, then like a champ’s supposed to do, he got back up and kept fighting. We even get the obligatory training sequence that’s become a staple of the franchise. My only real gripe with the fights is the same one I had with ones in the Rocky films. None of these fighters seem to have any sort of defensive skills. They just take every punch right on the cheek! While this is a minor annoyance, it also makes for more dramatic scenes when the fighter are beating each other to a pulp.
Given the pedigree of star Michael B. Jordan and the quality of his previous collaboration with director Ryan Coogler, expectations were extremely high for Creed. It’s great o be able to say that those expectations were met and exceeded. Creed was a fantastic movie that all underdogs should go to see.