Blood, sweat, determination, ambition and pain are all encompassed in the fighting spirit that is Adonis Johnson (played brilliantly by Michael B. Jordan), the long lost son of the legendary boxing champion Apollo Creed and the title character of the new film “Creed.” Having never met his legendary father, however, Adonis shares the same passion and connection with fighting that his father did and relocates to Philadelphia to pursue this dream. While there, he meets Rocky Balboa, the Italian Stallion himself, where he eventually agrees to train the young novice so he can reach his greatest potential and make a name for himself.
Throughout the movie, Adonis struggles to define himself as his own man as the shadow of his father lurks behind him in nearly every match. In the boxing world, Apollo Creed was legendary, reaching godlike status, but Adonis manages to navigate through the added pressure by focusing in his own growth and skill as a boxer. He is not only a determined and ambitious man, he’s a guy with something to prove. Should he waver or fail to “go the distance,” the backlash could be devastating to his career. People would soon question his parentage and credibility as a Creed. But his father’s former opponent guides him through it all.
In this new exciting addition to the classic franchise, Rocky (played eternally by Sylvester Stallone) is no longer in his prime, but still possesses just as much heart and passion as he had in his youth. At first, he’s reluctant to train the young Creed but is soon convinced by his fire and his need, possibly reminding him of the tough, determined young man he was in his youth. Rocky becomes sort of a father figure or makeshift uncle to Adonis as they take on boxing arenas by storm. Rocky’s own passion for the sport is rekindled more and more as the movie progresses. He teaches Adonis that the only man standing in the way of his personal victory is himself.
But Adonis and Rocky are not perfect. Adonis is easily provoked by the taunts and insults used by other fighters simply to get him off his game but he learns to focus that anger and channel it into his matches. Rocky himself learns that fighting isn’t always about winning a match or a championship. He learns that it takes just as much strength and perseverance to keep going even when you’re ready to quit.
All in all, this movie truly lives up to, and maybe even surpasses the hype. The actors who play these strong-willed characters are just as amazing as their characters. In both of the film’s central characters I can see certain details as parallel. Rocky was the underdog, the guy who could never seem to win. Adonis wants to live his dream but is weighed down by his father’s titles and accomplishments. Though they had dissimilar struggles, each fighter finds the power and strength in himself to push through the obstacles and succeed in their own ways. And that is greatest point this movie makes.
Go see “Creed.” If it’s the last thing you do on this earth, go see “Creed!”