Despite retreading the familiarity of the Rocky films that have come before it, Creed is a great tribute to some of the best boxing films to grace the big screen. Although it never quite hits the same emotional highs of the originals with Stallone at its helm, Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), son of the late great Apollo Creed, does a great job of playing the underdog rising to stardom.
The story follows Adonis Johnson, a rookie boxer who calls on Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) to train him. After initially turning him down, Rocky changes his mind after seeing the heart and drive of a champion, something he had back in his prime, and decides to train him to become one of the best fighters. Its a familiar story for anyone who’s ever watched a Rocky film and for all its passion and drive, this sequel never quite lives up to the high standards set before. Right down to the iconic run through the streets, Creed borrows heavily from the Rocky films. Sometimes it works well, with chasing the chicken and the street run but other times it doesn’t quite work and only further emphasises Creed just isn’t at the same level as the films that have come before in the series.
Sylvester Stallone is fantastic here too and his supporting role in the film is worthy of an Oscar. With his old life a distant memory, he finds solace in Johnson and together they make a formidable team. Their chemistry on screen is well realized and with a well paced story, it gives time for both characters to be fleshed out.
Overall, Creed is a decent boxing film but as a sequel, it never lives up to the standard set out by the Rocky films. It has passion and heart but it does feel past its prime. With constant references and nods toward the originals, on one level it works to showcase how far the characters have come but it also acts as a reminder that Creed is forever living in their shadow. Sylvester Stallone is fantastic here though and his supporting actor role is one of the best things about this film. Of course, the film is exciting and the explosive climactic fight is as exciting any other Rocky film. Having said all that, Creed certainly holds its own in the ring but it just can’t quite deliver a knockout blow to make it really shine next to the other films that have come before.