Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
being a good trainer and mentor
being an unwanted child, born of adultery
Where did CANCER come from? Answer
How did bad things come about? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
|Featuring:|| Sylvester Stallone … Rocky Balboa
Michael B. Jordan … Adonis Johnson
Tessa Thompson … Bianca
Phylicia Rashad … Mary Anne Creed
Tony Bellew … “Pretty” Ricky Conlan
Andre Ward … Danny “Stuntman” Wheeler
|Director:||Ryan Coogler —“Fruitvale Station”|
New Line Cinema
“Your legacy is more than a name.”
The Rocky film series that began forty-years ago about a “down and out” underdog who is given a “million-to-one” shot at the heavyweight boxing title has be re-imagined for a new generation in “Creed.”
In place of the struggling Philadelphia boxer and collector for the local mob, the series now introduces the forgotten son of Apollo Creed, Rocky’s original boxing opponent turned friend, Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan). A fighter his whole life, Adonis has been making a name for himself in Mexico and has shunned the name of Creed, as part of seeking his own legacy. When no one agrees to train him, he travels to Philadelphia to try and enlist the help of the former champ, as well as the man who handed his father his first defeat ever, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone).
The retired champ is now a restaurateur and is reluctant to help Adonis, however he recognizes something familiar in the young man’s pursuit that gives him pause. In addition, he feels he owes his absent friend a great debt, and this eventually sways him into agreeing to a partnership, but no sooner is their friendship born, then it is quickly put to the test, when an offer to fight the outgoing champ arrives on their doorstep. Will the mostly untested fighter learn enough from the aging boxing legend in time to make a difference in the greatest fight of his life?
Previously used story-lines, such as a love interest in the form of a nightclub performance artist named Bianca (Tessa Thompson), a return to old school training techniques, and an unexpected medical crisis are contrasted against the new hero’s angst at being abandoned while having to prove he can succeed outside of his father’s shadow. All add up to make this latest entry in the franchise an often interesting one, though it is not without some areas of concern.
Violence: The majority of the violence shown is in the gym during training and during boxing matches and consists mostly of very hard and gut wrenching punches to the body, head and face. There are two brief fights that also occur, not related to a match, but are over quickly. Swollen faces and eyelids are often cut open, and blood is spilled in order to alleviate pressure.
Language: Curses included: a** (9), damn (3), sh** (10—not including some from a Tupac song overheard), the “n” word and the “f” word are both heard once, bulls*** (1), s.o.b. (2) and the Lord’s name is taken in vain 6 times, including once by name (Jesus). Bianca accompanies a song that sounds suggestive in its delivery. In a less overt way, Rocky references what Micky, his original trainer, taught him, when he tells Adonis that “women weaken legs,” and later, when Bianca stops by to visit him, Adonis tells Rocky that, yes he remembers what he said.
Sex/Nudity: There is some kissing and a single sex scene with implied nudity. Later, they are in bed, and Bianca is only dressed in a towel. There are also some sexual song lyrics, shirtless males, and females revealing dressed.
All three categories discussed above should be taken seriously and should preclude younger children from seeing this film.
Despite Rocky’s checkered past, he always believed in himself and displayed as much persistence as he did humility. “Creed” continues the tradition, less the humility, by touching on some positive themes, as well.
The Golden Rule: Rocky keeps secret a decision that will profoundly affect Adonis later, but when he finds out what Rocky’s been hiding, he takes a stand against his trainer for what he believes is the right thing to do. At first, Rocky rejects his offer, but soon steps out of himself and does what will be best for the kid, though not necessarily what he wants. His actions are a reminder of what Jesus himself commanded us to do when he said:
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” —Matthew 7:12
Love: Bianca is worried that what she and Adonis have is not love and instead calls it passion, or even infatuation, and says, “those all fade.” In speaking of those “feelings” that often drive us into relationships, she is absolutely right. However, just as Adrian was a positive influence on Rocky, Bianca is likewise teaching Adonis what true love looks like, and he will soon prove what he has learned, not only with her, but with his new father-figure Rocky. The Word of God has, without a doubt, given us the ultimate definition of Love that we are to strive for.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” —1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Forgiveness: From the beginning, Adonis clearly resents Apollo for not being there to raise him, but, eventually, he is able to let that go and even forgive Apollo, as the Word of God instructs us to do.
God’s Planning: In a stirring moment of anguish, he admits, “I need to prove I’m not a mistake”. Just because Apollo did not plan on having him does not mean that his birth was not part of a greater plan. As God’s children, we know that the hand of the creator was on us from the first moment, and that all of life’s trials will indeed work out by the end of our sojourn here on Earth, no matter how many obstacles we encounter along the way.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” —Psalm 139:13
A final observation about the young protagonist is that he is not the humble hero that fans of the Rocky movies may have wanted. Granted, the humbling Adonis receives during the film does make him a better person by the end, however he still portrays the modern flawed anti-hero that people have now come to expect from secular films.
In summation, “Creed” brings the struggle, the inspiring training sequences and the fighting excitement of the older Rocky movies back in a welcome relaunch of the series that is unfortunately marred by inappropriate language, sexual content and characterization. While the story languishes a bit, mostly during the narrative detours focusing on Bianca, the film’s energy noticeably rises whenever the aging, but still charismatic Sylvester Stallone appears, making “Creed,” by the end, a crowd pleaser.
Violence: Moderate to heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.