Writer-director Ryan Coogler follows up his breakout film Fruitvale Station with the film to see this Thanksgiving holiday, Creed.
Creed is the best unofficial sequel I’ve seen in recent memory. Unofficial because the crew behind the film claim it as a stand alone movie and not a sequel in the Rocky franchise. Michael B. Jordan plays Adonis Johnson, son of the late Apollo Creed. After being discovered by the only family he knows (Mary Anne Creed, played by Phylicia Rashad) he struggles with his constant desire to box. His daily gig at an investment first can’t divert his obsession with boxing and he eventually quits to train professionally. After his search for Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) is successful, his story can begin as he starts to find himself, redefine ‘family’, and perfect his craft as a boxer.
As stated before, this is not a Rocky sequel but enough flashbacks and references were thrown in to keep audiences up to par with the history of the Balboa-Creed relationship.
Adonis’ love interest is young woman named Bianca (Tessa Thompson) who lives downstairs from him when he starts to train. If your eye isn’t trained properly, you might think you were staring at Angela Simmons. A rising musician, Bianca is a free spirit whose taken over the local club scene in efforts to boost her music career. As if her work ethic wasn’t enough drive for her, she’s also suffering from a hearing condition. She works on her music constantly, knowing one day she will succumb to a complete loss of hearing. Her talent and dedication draws Adonis’ attention and gives her added motivation for songwriting and to keep pushing towards her dream.
Michael B. Jordan is sure to win the hearts of the Rocky franchise as he puts on a solid performance as the son of Apollo Creed. Starting as a young child in a detention center, he can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Determined to never return to a group home, his plans are derailed when a former love interest of Apollo’s, Mary Anne Creed, comes on the scene to take him in to give him a sense of family.
The movie takes place in Philadelphia and the film pays homage to not only the Rocky franchise but the city itself. They might as well have given the entire soundtrack to Meek Mill (you’ll hear him many times), they shine a light on the city’s dirt bike/4-wheeler culture, and features some Philadelphia natives too. My favorite being newcomer Gabriel Rosado, who I discovered earlier this year on DIRECTV’s Big Knockout Boxing (BKB).
There’s enough Rocky to have fans of the original have spells of nostalgia while a balanced amount of Creed will make fans out of a new generation of moviegoers. This great balance of old and new is why I feel comfortable giving this a 9 out of 10. It’s a bit over 2 hours in length and a great film to enjoy over the holiday.