As a child, Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) was constantly getting himself into trouble. It usually involved fighting. While he was in a juvenile detention center, Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad), widow of former boxing champion Apollo Creed, takes him under her wing.
Now knowing his father was one of the greatest boxers ever, Adonis is obsessed with becoming a boxer himself. He moves to Philadelphia and finds Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), hoping to be trained by another boxing legend. Once Rocky finally agrees to train him, Adonis prepares to follow in his father’s steps. Hoping to make a name on his own, he hides his prestigious lineage.
Adonis and Rocky form more of a bond than just a typical trainer/fighter relationship. As Adonis prepares for his first big fight, Rocky finds he has a battle of his own. Will they be prepared for the fights of their lives?
Following Rocky Balboa, Creed is trying to revive the Rocky franchise and bring it back to its former glory. What makes Creed so successful is that, rather than try to keep an aging Sylvester Stallone relevant in the ring, it passes the torch to the next generation.
Michael B. Jordan is excellent as the arrogant, boxing phenom, and son of Apollo Creed. It takes a lot to carry a Rocky movie. Especially now, given that the last time Rocky took on the role of training was the mistake that was Rocky V. Sylvester Stallone seems to realize that he only has so much time left as the iconic boxer, a point played well in this latest movie. Creed is probably his best portrayal since Rocky IV, the last good Rocky movie that, for some reason, holds a special place in my heart.
The story is as realistic as a Rocky movie can get. It skips some of the over-the-top story arcs that we typically get out of this movie. Instead, it adds some real heart. It forces you to like Adonis and fall in love with Rocky all over again.
Writer/Director Ryan Coogler has given us what could be a successful revival of the franchise. I could see Michael B. Jordan taking this series somewhere exciting. I look forward to seeing where they take this story. If you’re planning to see a movie this Thanksgiving weekend, Creed is an excellent choice.