‘Creed’ is a knockout, modern re-envisioning of the classic Rocky franchise

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 at 10:23 PM
‘Creed’ is a knockout, modern re-envisioning of the classic Rocky franchise  by Brady Wesp
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) shown getting Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) pumped for his big fight.

Cue the theme music, put on the boxing gloves and start the workout montages. Rocky has returned...only he’s not coming back to the ring as he did before.

On a slightly different road, “Creed” follows the story of Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), the biologic son of the legendary fighter Apollo Creed, who died before he was born. After finally meeting his mother as a kid in juvenile detention in 1998, the plot jumps forward to the current day where Adonis spent his days in a business office and his nights brawling in the ring for extra money. In quick succession, he quits his job, moves out of his mom’s house (his father’s mansion) and heads out to become a professional fighter. 

Shortly after arriving in Philly, he tracks down “The Italian Stallion” Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) at his restaurant, eagerly insisting him to be his trainer. Rocky persists that he is officially out of the game for good, even after learning that this kid is indeed Apollo’s son. After finally seeing the strength and determination he had come to know from Apollo, Rocky finally agrees to take him on; little by little at first, but then more so as he gets enveloped into the boxing world that he may or may not have missed.

As Adonis’ training ensues, he comes to know the people of Philadelphia and even finds himself a girlfriend, a singer named Bianca (Tessa Thompson). Everything appears to be going great for Adonis and Rocky after his first professional match, especially when out-of-the-blue, he gets offered a chance to fight the top ranked, pound-for-pound heavyweight boxing champion of the world; a brutal 36-0 boxer who’s won 28 of those matches by TKO. Needless to say, the term “David vs. Goliath” barely merits the feel and hype of this championship fight, maybe even less so than Rocky’s first fight with Apollo Creed.

It’s complicated further more by Adonis’ unwillingness to use his father’s name in the ring in fear he won’t live up to Apollo’s shadow as he is expected. With Rocky encountering some rather urgent health issues, the young Creed finds himself fighting to establish his own identity and prove he is not a mistake in Apollo Creed’s shadow, rather his true-to-life reincarnation.

This film doesn’t miss a beat. It’s got everything and then some in its modern re-telling of the classic old mentor trains young blood story.

Stallone returns to a much older version of his iconic character that brought him to stardom, bringing some vintage “old grandpa” gags to his now mentoring role. It’s that timeless rendition of old- school meets new-school; much like the times you try introducing your elderly parents to new technology that’s completely alien to them. You are just as likely to laugh during this movie as you will be inspired by its tale. 

The intentions and actions of the characters are blunt and direct, yet the anticipation is palpable for when you think you know what’s going to happen next, only to have it transpire in a way you did not expect. Time pauses and at points in the movie you feel as if you’re watching history being written...much like in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum at the top of those steps back in 1976.

Built upon the broad and successful shoulders of the original series, “Creed” has laid the foundation necessary to proceed into many more films, a new modern-age continuation of “Rocky.”

The plot proved in spectacular fashion that Adonis Johnson Creed is just warming up for more. It all begins again, right where the legend started before, “One step, one punch, one round at a time.” 

Brady Wesp is a Staff Writer for The Spectator.

Tags: creed

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