OPINION: Creed 2 and Living Up to the Rocky Legacy
With Creed 2 hitting theaters this weekend, it’s a good time to reflect on what makes The Rocky films one of the most celebrated franchises in cinematic history. The first Rocky movie was a fairly simple story, as we were introduced to Rocky Balboa, an unlucky guy who just wanted to be a well-known boxer. Rocky’s life changes for the better when he is given the chance to fight World Champion Apollo Creed. The story follows Rocky as he faces hardships and deals with the struggles of his new-found fame. Though Rocky doesn’t win the fight, audiences couldn’t help but relate to and admire the “Italian Stallion.” Rocky got to live his dream, and in the sequels, we witnessed his character grow, find love, start a family, and set a legacy.
Along the way, we are introduced to many iconic characters such as Mickey, Rocky’s trainer, and Adrian, his girlfriend who later becomes his wife. These characters help develop Rocky’s character and act as his moral support. Later in the series, we are also introduced to arguably Rocky’s toughest competitor, Ivan Drago. Drago not only breaks Rocky mentally but almost physically, and he is responsible for killing his enemy turned friend Apollo Creed. These characters motivate Rocky and help him become a better fighter and more importantly, a better person. The Rocky films are still watched and talked about to this day because it’s so easy to fall in love with the concept of one person chasing their dreams. At the end of the franchise, Rocky retires and we are left thinking he accomplished everything he wanted. That, of course, changed when when Creed was released in 2015. In Ryan Coogler’s Creed, we are introduced to Adonis “Donnie” Johnson, the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed. Adonis is just an up and coming boxer who just wants to make a name for himself, similar to Rocky in the original franchise. He knows that if he truly wants to do this he needs help from the person who beat his father, Rocky himself. Rocky, in turn, becomes his trainer and teaches him a few life lessons along the way.
Creed follows Adonis’ journey as he tries to make a name for himself and step out of his father’s shadow. It very much resembles the original film but adds a modern take on the story. What makes Creed truly so compelling is that it’s the story of a guy trying to prove himself and be his own person. Adonis at first doesn’t want to live up to Apollo’s legacy, but he then accepts his role and takes the last name Creed. This is very compelling because many people were able to relate to Donnie’s journey of trying to make a name for himself, even when he is stuck under his fathers legacy. In Creed 2, being released November 21, 2018, we will all witness Adonis fight Viktor Drago, the son of Rocky’s rival Ivan. This will prove to be Adonis’ toughest fight as he is not only fighting for fame, but also revenge. These are a few of the reasons why the Rocky franchise is so beloved, but hopefully Creed 2 will give us many more reasons to respect and idolize these beloved characters.