Written and directed by Ryan Coogler, the latest edition to the Rocky franchise is the story of Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), and his entry into the ring. With the help of boxing legend Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), Adonis begins training to fight an English world champion and live up to his fathers name, a relation he has been hiding until now.
MILD SPOILERS AHEAD. If you haven’t seen the film and want to, come back once you have!
I found the film exciting and exhilarating, I was hooked on every fight and even found myself sharing the same nerves Adonis feels before a fight despite having no relation to that sport or environment; the film was completely immersive. The soundtrack was fitting and enjoyable, it worked with the tone of the entire film. Even when there was a throwback to the original theme, it worked.
Michael B. Jordan was a strong lead, convincing as a real, emotional character. Sylvester Stallone’s performance was also very impressive, after all, the film did show a relatively new side to Rocky, of whom there was just the right amount. It didn’t feel in anyway as though the character was forced upon us, it felt like Creed’s film. Other supporting characters were equally as believable, especially the films antagonist: a Liverpudlian boxer named “Pretty” Ricky Conlan. As in both boxing and Rocky films, it would not have been complete without an overconfident, loud-mouthed competitor.
The story was interesting, but slightly predictable. Not the entire major arc, but the smaller secondary stories were rather typical of your average ‘rags-to-riches’ story. The story also moved at different paces which was slightly unsettling, and I’m not talking about the classic Rocky training montages we all know and love (of which there was two), some of the secondary story arcs appeared as though they had been wedged in somewhere and they felt a bit rushed. Neither of these things detracted my enjoyment of the film, but they were note-worthy.
After I finished the film I asked myself the question, ‘do I want more?’ Certainly, there is potential there: interesting characters and relationships to be explored, new avenues for the story to run up and new battles to be fought. The worry is that we have seen it all before in the previous six films of the franchise, is it enough to have a new lead character? I would like to see more of Creed, he is an exciting and inspiring character who I don’t mind taking over the franchise. But that begs the question, what about Rocky?
Is it time for Creed to take over or would a Rocky film without Rocky be too much of a chance? Can Creed roll with the punches, or will it be knocked out in round 2?