‘Creed’ packs a thrilling punch.
Redemption stories seem to be becoming old news nowadays. And, with a series that appears to be running on little fumes and an excessive amount of sequels, Rocky almost seemed to be headed straight for the grave. However, if there’s one single thread of hope left in the Rocky franchise, the world-champion title most certainly belongs to this winter’s surprise smash-hit, Creed.
What makes this spinoff so essential to such a historically worn-out storyline? Well, in this scenario, the essential keyword is spinoff. Creed focuses more on the title character rather than the exhausted Rocky Balboa, almost as if Rocky is handing the belt down to a new generation of heavy-lifting daydreamers.
Just to switch gears a bit, let’s focus in on the main event: Adonis Creed. This central protagonist references back to Apollo Creed, the World Heavyweight Champion that goes head-to-head with Rocky in the first four films. Adonis, the illegitimate son of Apollo, is taken out of juvy by the likes of Apollo’s widowed wife, Mary Anne Creed. Despite her best efforts, Adonis grows up with a close eye on the world of boxing, going under the name “Donnie Johnson” to avoid living under his late father’s shadows. Nevertheless, as time goes on and his day-job isn’t cutting it anymore, Donnie makes a last-chance attempt at glory by hunting down the retired Rocky and asking him to take him under his wing.
This fist-thrusting film has the potential to become one of the overall greats, and, weirdly enough, it’s not just Michael B. Jordan’s lightning-performance as the young-blooded Adonis Creed. Rather, it’s the way that Sylvester Stallone brings a new sense of worth into the former World Champ, possibly in the running for an Oscar this time around. Just ask local Rocky fanatic, Shannon Zang (age 14), who is also an avid follower of Stallone’s past work. “Creed will change the way you see Rocky, making you feel like the old man still has a chance,” she said.
Together, the two create a chemistry that brings a whole new level of significance to a seemingly-familiar plot. Each brings their own set of troubles into the training at hand. Nevertheless, they create a sense of family that can stand above the rest, including the current World Champion, Liverpool’s very own Ricky Conlan.
Overall, Creed redeems, yet also revives. Hope proves to be a recurring theme in the film, as well as our very own interpretation of it. Twelve rounds in the ring have, thus, worked wonders for the likes of Jordan and Stallone, leaving the audience literally cheering past closing-credits. And that’s the magic that this film reminded me of: that no matter how many times you hear that redundant theme song or see Rocky repeatedly jumping at the top of the steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, you still find yourself begging for more.
Creed is now playing locally in and around Montclair! Some theaters include AMC Clifton Commons 16, AMC Essex Green 9 in West Orange, and AMC Loews Wayne 14. For a list of even more show-times and movie theaters, visit fandango.com today!