I have followed Rocky through all the movies, in college I even did a Rocky Marathon watching all six that had come out in 24 hours. As it turns out the first three are great, four is a bit worse (although it does have one of the coolest villains in Ivan Drago), Rocky V sucks balls and Rocky Balboa gives an interesting coda to the film, it’s better than both four and five but not as great as the first three. With Creed we are given a good Rocky film. once again. Spoilers to follow.
This film is about the son of Apollo Creed, from an affair, Adonis “Donnie” Johnson (Michael B. Jordan). We begin in 1998 as Apollo’s widow Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad), visits Donnie who is serving time at an LA juvenile facility and offers to take him in since he’s got Apollo’s blood in him he’s family. We skip 17 years and Donnie is working for a securities firm, but it just isn’t for him as Donnie spend his weekends fighting down in Baja Mexico. Mary Anne isn’t happy about this since she doesn’t want what happened to Apollo to happen to anyone else. However Donnie is stubborn and goes to Delphi Boxing, Apollo’s home gym but is quickly shown the door as Tony Evers Jr. refuses to train him. So Donnie decided to see what would happen in Philadelphia where he gets in touch with Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and asks Rocky to help train him. Donnie fall for a girl in Philly, Bianca (Tessa Thompson). It is soon found out that Donnie is the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed. After this news comes out Donnie gets an offer to fight the world light heavyweight champion, “Pretty” Ricky Conlan, but only if he change his name to Adonis “Hollywood Donnie” Creed. At the same time Rocky gets some bad news as he learns that he has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Rocky hesitates at what to do as chemo didn’t save Adrian. In the boxing match we get a rehashing of the fight from Rocky, but it feels fresh.
Ryan Coogler makes a film that works and doesn’t only appeal to a race or a generation. We get lots of stellar performances and it seems like a sequel is in the works. If you are a fan of Rocky films take some time and watch Creed as well. It is sort of fun to see Rocky in the role of trainer, after we’ve seen him get beat up countless times. Sure you can watch it if you haven’t seen any of the Rocky films but it’s a great disservice to yourself, but just watch the first three and then Rocky Balboa. There was only one thing that this film was missing that could have made the film better was Paulie’s robot.