Once hailed as one of the greatest sports films – and franchises – in movie history, it has seemed for some time that Rocky‘s days in the spotlight were over (ushered along by star Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa). But there’s no question that the tale of a working-class boxer making his break for glory still holds water. Rocky Balboa lives on, but he’s handing the title over to a new fighter in the upcoming Creed.
The film introduces star Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four) as Adonis Johnson, the son of famous Rocky rival Apollo Creed. With writer/director Ryan Coogler at the helm – the mind behind the critically acclaimed Fruitvale Station – it isn’t just the Rocky legacy that Creed has going for it. If audiences doubted that Coogler and Jordan could deliver another hit so soon, the first trailer for the film makes one thing perfectly clear: this might just be the Rocky successor boxing fans have been hoping for.
Supposing the film didn’t feature Sylvester Stallone’s return to the role of ‘Rocky Balboa,’ the spirit of his unforgettable journey would still be alive and well in Creed. After all, it’s impossible to tell the story of a young man stepping into the ring to make a better life for himself on the streets of Philadelphia without calling on the imagery and emotion of Stallone’s iconic opus. That being said, this is no simple Rocky sequel.
It’s Michael B. Jordan who looks most poised to stun audiences and critics (again), with Coogler sticking to his own style and mood (not looking to recreate the original series). From the first trailer, the franchise is unmistakably a new beginning meant to carry the Rocky legacy forward instead of returning to the same well yet again. Having never met his father before he was killed in the ring in Rocky IV, Adonis Johnson seeks to follow in his footsteps; a decision that brings him to the doorstep of his father’s former rival and close friend, Rocky Balboa.
Although he has put his boxing days behind him, Balboa returns from retirement to shape Adonis into a fighter after his own heart (one who learns how to take a punch, no matter where it comes from). The trailer implies that Stallone will be playing a supporting role this time around, and given the magic of Coogler and Jordan’s previous collaboration, that’s likely for the best. Not to mention a chance to see Stallone rise to the role of mentor, and add a new dimension to the character.
With the talent assembled, the trailer merely confirms that Creed will be a film worth paying attention to. Its story and star guaranteed it an audience (even if it were based on nostalgia alone), but the obvious desire to make something new from this dormant franchise is looking more promising by the day. Will you be looking to see Rocky’s legacy carried forward into a new generation?
Creed opens in U.S. theaters on November 25th, 2015.