There are a lot of truly classic movies I’ve never seen — The Godfather, Citizen Kane, Forrest Gump, and, up until recently, Rocky, or any of its sequels. Soon after my Rocky education began, I was helplessly taken with the main character — so lovable, so kind, so very dumb.
This much-needed cinematic education began right around when the first Creed trailers came out, so my husband and I spent many nights watching each movie in the Rocky franchise in preparation of the film’s Thanksgiving 2015 release. The latest installment did not disappoint.
Adonis Johnson is a troubled youth rescued from juvenile hall by none other than Mary Anne Creed, Apollo Creed‘s widow. Although Adonis is Apollo’s son by another woman, Mary Anne takes him under her wing because she feels it’s her responsibility after his biological mother’s death, and she raises him up in her cushy LA home. Even as an adult Adonis can’t escape his fighting roots, so he finds himself giving up Hollywood for a bare bones existence in — you guessed it — Philadelphia.
Donny (so glad they switch to that nickname, “Adonis” is just too ridiculous) quickly locates a much older and worse for the wear Rocky Balboa in his neighborhood Italian restaurant, aptly named Adrian’s, and begs Rocky to train him to become the kind of fighter Apollo would be proud to call his son. In the nicest way possible Rocky resists, too hesitant to revisit that painful portion of his past, but Donny is nothing if not persistent. Rock eventually gives in and they go back to the old gym and training montages — the highlight of all the movies, in my humble opinion — in preparation for Donny’s first fight.
Creed mostly follows the same pattern as the other Rocky movies (training, fighting, training, fighting, mean opponents, undefeated fighters, etc.) with a few curve balls thrown in: Donny’s downstairs neighbor, Bianca, is an aspiring singer with progressive hearing loss, so they have a thing; Rocky discovers he is battling an early stage of cancer but doesn’t want to treat it because apparently that’s how Adrian died; Donny doesn’t want people to know he’s Apollo’s son because he wants to make it on his own, but of course that doesn’t work. I feel like all of these elements could have been emphasized a little more but they were just kind of just glazed over, but I’m actually grateful for that when it came to the cancer part because, honestly, Rocky Balboa being sick? Unbearable.
Michael B. Jordan was basically born to play this role, though; they even made him look like Apollo Creed’s son. It’s all thanks to one of his first big roles as a tormented teenage footballer playing for none other than Coach Taylor. #TexasForever