Creed Parent Review
Fans of this franchise likely won’t be disappointed by this latest addition to the Rocky legacy.
The old saying, “What goes around, comes around,” proves true for Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) when the retired heavy-weight champion is visited by a young man claiming to be the son of his former competitor and friend, Apollo Creed (a character introduced in the first Rocky movie).
Going by the name Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) to protect his privacy, this illegitimate child of the world-renowned pugilist has been in and out of group homes and juvenile detention centers. His prospects only brighten when the wife of his famous father, Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad) takes him in and attempts to raise him as her own. Yet the fight he inherits from his deceased Dad, plus the anger he still feels about his past, cause him to walk away from her kindness and a well-paying office job. Instead he tries to find himself in the boxing ring. With a desire to succeed in his father’s sport, he contacts the “Italian Stallion” hoping old ties will be enough to rope the aging man into being his trainer.
Of course Rocky eventually accepts the challenge (or it wouldn’t be much of a movie), and Johnson is matched up with some opponents intended to improve his skills and knock some sense into his troubled mind. But when his secret identity is unexpectedly revealed, the novice is suddenly given an opportunity to compete at the professional level against a disgraced champion (Tony Bellew) anxious to get one more chance to defend his name.
From start to finish, the film is full of well-choreographed fight sequences. Inevitably, these sequences also contain head and body blows that result in bloody injuries and knockouts. Along the way Johnson meets Bianca (Tessa Thompson), his beautiful neighbor who is pursuing her dreams as a singer (she performs some sensual music). Their budding romance is depicted with passionate kisses and a scene of implied sexual relations. As well, the script is punctuated by some mild and moderate profanities, including a sexual expletive, scatological slang and terms of deity.
That aside, fans of this franchise likely won’t be disappointed by this latest addition to the Rocky legacy. Although the plot is predictable, it is still pleasantly familiar. Perhaps the biggest surprise Creed offers is Stallone’s unexpectedly touching performance as a father figure. At first the experienced former athlete believes he is the one in a position to give. Then fate changes Rocky’s circumstances and places him in a vulnerable situation too. The inclusion of this storyline, which forces the man and boy to fight together, adds a deeper dimension to what could otherwise have been just another boxing tale. And that twist brings the this long-running series full circle.Directed by Ryan Coogler. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan, Wood Harris. Running time: 124 minutes. Theatrical release November 25, 2015. Updated May 12, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Creed here.
Creed Parents Guide
All three of the main characters in this story (Rocky, Johnson and Bianca) have dreams and vulnerabilities. How are their situations different? How are they the same? How do these fears help them to assist one another?
Why doesn’t Johnson want to tell anybody who is Dad is? Why does he feel caught in his father’s shadow? What is it he really trying to prove in boxing ring?
At one point in the film, Rocky makes a poignant speech about how his family, friends and career are all behind him. How can someone who is aging still find things to look forward to? What new places does Rocky discover that need his energy? Might this storyline mirror real concerns for an ageing actor (or anyone else reaching retirement) who might be wondering about the feasibility of future work opportunities?