My father almost named me Rocky… True story. That’s how much he loves the Rocky movies, and he passed that fandom onto me. Since a very young age I have been doing all night Rocky marathons and I am happy to say that Creed will be an excellent addition to the set list.
As we all know Apollo Creed passed away as a result of fighting Ivan Drago in Rocky IV (when America won the cold war) what we didn’t know is that prior to this Apollo had an affair which led to the conception of Adonis Johnson…
Now call me old-fashioned but I feel like they took one of my childhood mates and dragged his name through the mud a little bit here. Obviously this was not set up by anything in Rocky I-IV and now he’s an unfaithful husband, there is a certain artistic licence here but I won’t hold that against them too much: it’s not like they were planning Creed 40 years ago. It is obviously done to bring the interesting dynamic of Adonis not having known, or been influenced, by Creed himself and that makes it more of a rags-to-riches story. Does it work? – Yes. Does it still hurt a little? – Yes.
Now away from heritage and onto Adonis himself: We start out watching Johnson fighting in a juvenile detention centre, and then he and us are told the origin story. Michael B Jordan stars in Creed and does an excellent job in the role as a character trying to follow his aspirations, to find love, and struggling to be his own person under the weight of his father. However Adonis’ character remains (filmically) the major downfall of the movie seeming somewhat overdone: The troubled child with the bad temper and a criminal history turned boxer. You would probably believe me if I said Adonis was ripped straight from the latest Fight Night game. This is only further evidenced by the overshadowing that Rocky Balboa so easily provides. What has always set Rocky apart from these other Adonis-type characters is his politeness and morals juxtaposing against the supposedly barbaric sport of boxing, yet time and time again we see the criminal boxer in Hollywood, why is this? Because it’s true, it’s realistic, it genuinely happens… so every problem anyone may have with that is solely from the perspective of ignoring the real world and trying to be different. Creed is realistic, complex, interesting, and without a doubt brilliantly directed. Hats off Ryan Coolger.
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