As a longtime Rocky fan and a man who respects the sanctity of the franchise that Rocky V and Rocky Balboa violated, Creed was the resurgence that Rocky fans young and old can rally behind. Creed is the new name, and Michael B. Jordan wears it well. Pound for pound, Creed is the best boxing movie since The Fighter back in 2010.
The story is one franchise fans can relate to, but it also creates a new legacy for Adonis Johnson (Jordan), and also showcases fantastic direction by Ryan Coogler whose fight scenes are so raw and in the moment not only are you in the ring, but you’re encapsulated in the mind state – a Creed’s mind state.
Johnson’s had a hard go at life. Not only did he lose his father before he was born (“Drago!!!!!”), but not long after his biological mother passed away when he was 6-years-old. Brooding and alone bouncing from foster home to foster home, he landed himself in juvenile hall because of behavioral issues – namely fighting.
Johnson was tracked down by Mary Ann Creed, Apollo’s widowed wife. Even though he wasn’t her child, she took the troubled boy in, and raised him well. Johnson grows up strong. He’s part time white-collar, part time 15-0 in Tijuana, Mexico.
The whole film is about Johnson’s identity, which from the beginning he tries to but hopelessly can’t deny. He decides to quit his job and train to be a boxer. He’s no scrub either. He’s a self taught natural who checks the Youtube tape of the super fight: the great Apollo Creed versus the Italian Stallion; he shadow-boxes the fight perfectly as Rocky Balboa against his own father.
He fights his the ghost of Apollo every step of the way, and that leads him to the irony of being trained by Rocky Balboa himself. Johnson is special and incredibly talented, but chauvinistic like his father. Balboa channels that inner-Creed in him, and puts him to work Rocky style. Rocky’s got him chasing after chickens for the speed, running the streets of Philadelphia, and battles himself in the mirror. “You’re a bum Creed!” (He doesn’t actually say that, but you get the picture).
Before you know it, Johnson is given a title shot due to unfamiliar circumstances, namely the secret getting out that he’s Apollo Creed’s son. He’s creating buzz everywhere including on shows like PTI, Tony Kornheiser criticizing him most of all posing the loaded question, “Can he fight like the old man?”
The story is about the name, and this character called Johnson whom his whole life has been denying the word “Creed”. The shadow of his past is what he must break free from. With Balboa in his corner, Creed means everything to these men: life and death, victory and defeat, family and blood, loved and lost. This is Creed, and it’s worth the name.
The Jamestown Gazette is pleased to bring our readers insightful and informative reviews of some of the nation’s most popular, current films. Jared Hill’s past commentary and reviews will be archived at Jamestown Gazette’s website, www.jamestowngazette.com.