Despite being part of the same franchise, Creed isn’t a Rocky movie, but that’s exactly what makes it so brilliant.
I think we can all agree that our favorite movie franchises are getting ran into the ground with unnecessary sequels. It seems that all Hollywood movies eventually grow (or shrink depending on how you look at it) to be nothing but cashgrabs backing off the success and following of the previous installments. Unfortunately, Rocky is no exception to this rule, but a change in directors and switching the series’s focus from the now 73 year-old Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) to the youthful Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is more than enough to get the franchise back on its two legs and fighting.
The basic synopsis of Creed is that Rocky Balboa’s boxing rival and close friend, the world renowned Apollo Creed, had an affair with another woman prior to being killed in the ring by Ivan Drago. This affair led to the birth of his son, Adonis “Donnie” Johnson, who grew up in foster care before being taken in by Creed’s wife. Adonis is much like his father in that he has a love for boxing, but wants to make a name for himself in the boxing world, so tries to keep his relationship with Apollo secret. He convinces Balboa to train him, and quickly rises into popularity after the media finds out that he is Apollo’s son. He is given an offer to fight “Pretty” Ricky Conlan (played by Tony Bellews, a real life professional boxer), but only if he admits to being Apollo’s son.
Creed gives the audience a new experience that feels quite like no other Rocky film ever has, and because of this manages to be enjoyable through each and every moment. Newcomers to the series will feel right at home and don’t need to watch any of the previous films to know what is going on. Meanwhile, die-hard fans will love this new expansion and redefining of the series, which even lives up to the original masterpiece that Rocky 1 was. Creed portrays boxing in a much more accurate, and fast paced manner than the previous films, but still keeps the training montages and soundtrack that has become iconic of the entire Rocky franchise.
Sometimes a film has to redefine the franchise if it wants to succeed, and Ryan Coogler’s Creed does exactly this to land a “knockout blow” on audiences worldwide, raking in more than $170 million total, and winning 46 different awards. As for where the franchise is heading next, the Creed 2 trailer shows Adonis to be fighting a familiar face, the son of Ivan Drago. If Creed 2 can offer the same enjoyment that Creed did, then I’m sure viewers will once again be in for a surprise.