Rocky a Mentor in the Seventh Round

The poster for Creed depicts Adonis (right) and Rocky (left) in the gym. The film finished third in the box office on its opening Thanksgiving weekend, grossing $42.6 million (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 came in first). Photo Courtesy: Warner Bros.

Rate: ✭✭✭✭

On Wednesday, November 25, Creed came to theaters nationwide. The film is essentially a seventh film of the Rocky series, although it is a reboot.

The Rocky film franchise was made famous by its star, Sylvester Stallone, in the 1970s. Rocky and Rocky II were highly successful, both commercially and critically. They detail the Italian boxer, Rocky Balboa, an underdog who rises to success, eventually winning the world heavyweight championship from Apollo Creed. The first film was awarded an Academy Award for Best Picture, while the second was a massive box office success. To the delight of fans, the series continued in the 1980s with Rocky III and Rocky IV. However, by the fifth film, released in 1990, it seemed as if the series was overstaying its welcome, this time with a poor plot and poor acting. Still, Rocky continued in 2006 when Rocky Balboa was released. Many viewers thought that the series should have ended long before that.

With Creed, the series has now gone full circle. Michael B. Jordan plays Adonis Creed, the son of Apollo Creed, Rocky’s enemy-turned-buddy, who died in the ring during Rocky IV. For unclear reasons, Adonis wants to fight, so he turns to Rocky (Stallone), who is reluctant to train him. He eventually gives in and becomes Adonis’s mentor.

The New York Times described the film as “soothingly old-fashioned and bracingly up-to-date.” This is true. Creed draws many similarities to Rocky and yet is still fresh with modern themes. The vibe is very twenty-first century, and it concentrates on Philadelphian culture. At the same time, Adonis is an underdog, which is what everyone liked about Rocky to begin with. He makes an unlikely rise from his father’s shadow and is eventually given the chance to fight the world heavyweight champion, much like Rocky’s opportunity with Apollo.

The film brings new dynamics. For one, the hero is African-American rather than Caucasian, which is rare for boxing movies and was even more rare when the first few Rocky films emerged. Also, Adonis feels pressure because of his famous father who he never knew, something that was not an aspect for Rocky. People doubt he is the “real thing.” Just when the film looks predictable, a new factor emerges, this one involving Rocky and his health.

This film is exciting, but releases a new out feeling to viewers. It uses clever cinematography, which is one of the best film aspects. It will be interesting to see if this is the final Rocky film or if there are more to come. Creed brings the franchise back to its roots, but has a fresh feeling, leaving viewers satisfied.


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