Though Rocky looked like he bowed out of the ring with 2006’s Rocky Balboa, a surprisingly satisfying finale for a franchise that spawned five sequels, it appears that the series that made the career of Sylvester Stallone is far from over. Directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), Creed is a Rocky spinoff that follows Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the youngest son of Rocky’s arch-rival and friend, Apollo Creed. In addition to Jordan and Stallone, the film co-stars Wood Harris, Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad.
It’s great to see a boxing film that follows a fighter of color. As many of us know, sports movies, especially those centered on boxing or prizefighting, typically follows a protagonist that is usually white. Jordan, who’s proven himself to be one of the best young talents working today, seems more than up to task of not only changing that formula, but also playing the son of the charismatic Apollo. Additionally, it’s nice to see Stallone actually acting his age and choosing not to get back in the ring for whatever reason or another.Taking on the role of a trainer/mentor for Adonis is a huge step in the right direction for Stallone’s Balboa.
Now, to be completely honest, I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Rocky franchise, but even I’ll admit that the references to the original films, especially Rocky and Rocky IV, are pretty cool little nostalgic nods. It’s also hard not to see the parallels between Creed and the much maligned Rocky V, where Rocky also trained a young upcoming boxer. Though that film was less than successful, Creed definitely looks like the superior version of that story from the trailer alone. At this point, I’m just waiting for the end-credit’s stinger when Ivan Drago Jr. challenges Adonis to a boxing match to the death. Think of all the wonderful montages we’ll get in that sequel!
Creed will make its way to theatres November 25, 2015.