February 9, 2016

Why Creed Does More Damage To The Rocky Franchise Than Good

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Written by: Lee Skavydis
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It is claimed that the 2015 box office hit boxing movie, Creed has successfully revitalized the Rocky franchise. Sylvester Stallone returned after ten years along with Michael B. Jordan as the title character that wants to find the same success that his famous father, Apollo Creed once revelled in. Rocky accepts his offer to train and guide him to the world heavyweight championship, this time held by Ricky Conlan, played by real life British boxer Tony Bellew. While the movie is critically acclaimed and is the reason why Stallone will be up for an Oscar this year, it is not without it’s faults. And dare it be said, liberties were taken.

Hardcore followers of the Rocky franchise quickly realized before the film’s release that the main protagonist, Adonis Creed should be considerably older than the 20 something he was portrayed to be. Such abnormalities can be acceptably pushed aside. But can the same action be taken when it was discovered that father, Apollo, who was a notable character in the original franchise actually cheated on his wife that resulted in the birth of Adonis? Surely it would be better for Creed Jr to have been born from the same woman Apollo was shown to be with in Rocky’s I, II and IV! It was stated in Rocky III by Apollo himself that he went through a period of depression after losing to Rocky in the second picture which lead to him not wanting to be close to his own family. Perhaps he found solace during this time. But such happenings would be forgiven if they were not emphasised.

Remember that famous freeze frame at the end of Rocky III when both Apollo and Rocky threw simultaneous punches at one another? For years, fans debated who really won. Well, their debates came to an end when Creed was released because we finally found out who was the better man that left the ring that fictional day. And that was Apollo! To this writer, it seemed as if both men were simply going to have a friendly sparring match and Rocky’s one and only slightly black eye shown at the beginning of Rocky IV certainly made it seem that way. But according to Creed, they had a full blown fight. Regardless, it all means that Apollo unofficially won over Rocky two out of their three fights. Rocky is a huge movie character in pop culture along with the likes of John McClane, Freddy Krueger and many others too numerous to mention. Deciding that his former nemesis was the better man in the third installment all kind of lessens the fanciful notion that Rocky became one big movie boxing hero.

The boxing villains had their share of screen time and character development in the past. Even Mason Dixon in Rocky Balboa, who did not appear to be any kind of obnoxious antagonist, had his own brief back story. But Ricky Conlan in Creed was nothing more than just a boxing champion who was simply….there. Maybe him being British had something to do with it and our American cousins may have had trouble understanding his Liverpudlian accent enough to hold off on exploring his character further. Who knows. But Conlan was hardly a character that one could despise, even though Tony Bellew tried to provoke that through his gestures. There is nothing to dislike if there is nothing to know.

But back to Adonis, he was a little difficult to relate to. Rocky was easy to relate to because he was humble and always wanted to do the right thing, even though he started off working for a loan shark and forcing people to pay up what they owed in “unorthodox” ways. Adonis’ life story was mundane and seemed like a stale imitation of Rocky’s life in the original movie, sans working for loan sharks and discovering a great father. To cap it all off, the conclusion has Adonis losing the world title opportunity vs Conlan but gets the glory. Deja Vu? That sounds like the same ending that the original Rocky movie had. A sequel has been announced but it is not known as of yet what will be in store for our new dry hero. How long Sylvester Stallone will stick around for is another thing that we will find out in the future. He admitted that his days of playing action heroes is over and that he will now be aiming more at dramatic roles, so one gets the feeling that he will be up for as many sequels as the studio wants to churn out. It will be a much easier money earner than having to wear the gloves himself.

Creed is a great movie for those that know little about the back story of the Rocky series, but not so much for people who have lived in an era when Rocky was a character that was highly acclaimed. Passing the baton is great if it is graciously executed, but it is felt here that was not so in Creed.

The sight of Rocky vanishing after his wave, symbolizing to everybody his farewell at the end of Rocky Balboa is the franchise’s true last hurrah.

And that is now way in the past already.

About the Author

Lee Skavydis
Lee Skavydis
I am a die hard movie fan, owning over 500 movies on both DVD and Blu Ray. I try to go to the cinema at least once a week when time permits. My other hobbies include following fight sports such as boxing, travelling around, writing and editing, listening to heavy rock and cook the odd occasional recipe. I used to write for several prolific boxing websites, interviewing some of the most famous names associated with the sport around.


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