Almost 40 years after Sylvester Stallone first put on his boxing gloves as Rocky Balboa, the Oscar-nominated actor delivers an emotional performance as the retiring prizefighter. It’s a glorious comeback for the 69-year-old New Yorker, who gives one of his best performances in decades as the legendary bruiser who fights an invisible enemy who can’t be outmatched in the ring. Creed pulls into four decades of nostalgia thanks to a revitalized Stallone, but as the title suggests, this isn’t about Balboa.
How to Stream or Download Creed
You can stream it or you can download the film from a digital store – to do so, click on the Download button at the end of this review. Check out also our review of Creed II (2018) and Creed III (2023).
The Movie Review
An orphan named Adonis Johnson juggles between juvenile detention centers and care homes growing up in 1990s Los Angeles, until Mary Anne Creed adopts him. Mary Anne is the first wife of his father – Apollo Creed, a legendary boxer who died in the ring before he was even born. She takes care of Adonis, and he grows into a smart guy with a steady career.
However, boxing is in Adonis’ blood, and he declines a promotion to pursue his sporting ambitions. He travels to Philadelphia in the hopes of training with Rocky Balboa, another boxing legend.
Director Ryan Coogler teams up once again with Michael B. Jordan from Fruitvale Station to bring the Rocky series back to its feet, following the last film’s failure. Under his directing skills, everything from the well-choreographed fight scenes to the development of Adonis’s relationship with Bianca feels brand new. Creed is a film that is both entertaining and heartfelt.
The storyline is good, but the actors are a little cheesy. Despite this, fans will cry and root for Rocky and Adonis as well as laugh. There are obvious connections to previous Rocky films, so fans of the franchise will like it, but you don’t need to have seen them to understand this one.
One thing I like the most about Creed is the writing, Ryan Coogler, and Aaron Covington did so well that the cast is able to fully immerse themselves in their roles. Jordan gives an amazing performance again, and I enjoyed how his character was a wonderful guy who simply made some bad judgments.
We see a lot of horrible characters attempting to do good, but Jordan brought a lovely aspect to the role that I really liked. Stallone offers one of his best performances to date, proving once again that he’s a fantastic actor who doesn’t require a machine gun in his hands.
He has several extremely moving passages in this film, which he flawlessly delivers. Tessa Thompson, who plays the love interest, is equally stellar in her supporting role.
The music in the film is excellent as well, and the cinematography was just as good. Do you know how difficult it is to film a fight scene when there are hundreds of boxing movies out there, but I felt the scenes here worked well and had a real sense of movement.
What I hated though was the nostalgia. Don’t get me wrong – it’s exactly like Rocky, but we know it’s not, and it leaves a strange feeling. The good news is that Stallone delivers a consistently excellent performance for his part, strong enough to earn him an Oscar nomination.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Creed is surprisingly good. And I don’t just mean surprisingly good for a sports movie.
Aside from a few clichés about the importance of hard work and perseverance (which are a staple of the genre), Creed rises above tradition and not only pays respects to the original with plenty of references but also raises the bar with a solid storyline, and memorable performances. In fact, it could be the best Rocky film since Rocky.