The Rocky Lessons That Make Creed A Contender

When it comes to inspirational boxing movies, you can’t do much better than Rocky. It makes sense, then, that actor Michael B. Jordan and co-writer/director Ryan Coogler—the duo behind 2013’s sleeper hit, Fruitvale Station—would join forces with the most iconic sports movie franchise to deliver an inspirational boxing movie of their own. With Rocky himself (Sylvester Stallone) acting as a mentor to his former rival’s illegitimate son, Creed delivers a combination of stirring nostalgia and vivid modern drama, resulting in arguably the best Rocky movie since the original. Here are the franchise traditions that made that possible.

Rocky speaks his mind


More bruised and battered than ever before, Rocky battles loneliness, cancer, and his own stubbornness, but he never fails to charm with his inarticulate wisdom and good-natured encouragement.

The fights feel real


Expertly pushing the audience’s emotional buttons, Creed had people at my screening jumping out of their seats and shouting at the screen. Part of the reason for this is the incredibly convincing boxing. Every punch seems to really connect, and one especially authentic fight is relayed in a bravura long take that perfectly captures the disorientation of the ring.

The audience gets inspired


Particularly during its training montages, Creed gets everyone in the audience psyched up to overcome their weaknesses and reach their full potential. Taking this to an intriguing new place, one montage culminates in an unlikely—and unforgettable—convergence with a bizarre biker gang.

Our hero’s in love


While she lacks the introverted sadness of Adrian, Tessa Thompson’s Bianca proves to be a crucial life force in Creed, adding valuable brains to the emotional brawn of Rocky and Adonis.

You may shed some tears


An expertly crafted tearjerker, Creed earns an emotional response with its epic final bout, but the real source of drama is the two-way mentorship between Adonis and Rocky, an affecting alliance of opposites that should move even the most hardened moviegoer.

Creed opens in theatres today. Prepare yourself for this emotional whirlwind with the trailer below.