A new contestant steps into the ring in the continuation of the well-beloved Rocky franchise, Creed.
The unknown legacy of renowned Rocky Balboa’s rival turned friend Apollo Creed, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) struggles with his identity, never knowing his father and the early death of his biological mother. In and out of group homes and juvenile detention, Adonis is taken in by Apollo’s wife, changing the course of his life from then on. But there’s no denying the ruthless blood running through his veins, the gravitational pull towards the only thing that makes him feel alive, boxing. Determined, Adonis heads to the streets of Philadelphia, the centre of boxing and seeks out Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) as his mentor.
Fruitvale Station collaborators Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan team up for the seventh film in the Rocky franchise, thankfully rebooting the franchise for a refreshing and revitalising new film. A street film and a blockbuster hit – Creed keeps in touch with its original roots whilst giving the franchise a new direction. Written and directed by Coogler, the filmmaker creates a surprising turn, keeping the emotional level high in harmony with the aggressive and tough demeanour of the boxing world.
Stepping into the ring as lead boxer, Jordan takes an extraordinary run as Adonis Johnson, a white-collar Californian who’s unable to inhibit his aptitude for boxing. Haunted by the shadows of the talent and the father that he never knew, Adonis seeks guidance from the only connection he has left, Rocky. Having shown his artistic prowess in the Sundance hit Fruitvale Station, Jordan radiates as the son of renowned Apollo Creed, devoting a fearless and powerful performance that transcends the previous films. Jordan amplifies the franchise, depicting the emotional and physical dedication to the role with an electrifying execution. An initially reluctant mentor, Rocky hands the boxing reigns to young Adonis, providing him with both a trainer and father figure. Stallone suppresses his well-known aggressive demeanour but maintain his strength and emotional tenacity and surprising comedic wit. Together, Jordan and Stallone represent the contemporary and vintage boxing era and an on-screen chemistry that shows an inspiring tandem. Adonis’ love interest, Bianca (Tessa Thompson) is the modern-day Adrian, a singer diagnosed with progressive hearing loss. Thompson is a knockout and delivers a wonderful performance that rises above the typical sideline cheerleader.
A star on its own, the city of Philadelphia takes centre stage in Creed, showcasing the gritty streets and the humble ferocity of the heart of boxing. The transition from the glitzy Los Angeles to the resilient Philadelphia is suggestive of Coogler’s approach, maintaining the mainstream feel whilst respecting its native origin. Creed revives the spiritedness that is so palpable in boxing as well as the invigorating and fierce competition of a battle. The physical exhaustion is both tiring and moving to watch from training in Philly gyms to the bright lights of the arena. Creed will make those who are unfamiliar with the sport captivated and impassioned, an unforgettable rebirth to boxing world.