CharlesYang’s review published on Letterboxd:
A fresh start.
Clear of the past and looking forward. The one main reason I enjoyed this film was because there was no Paulie. He's gone and will never be in these movies again. Though it does brings a smile to my face imagining Adonis moving into Rocky's home and knocking that bastard out for saying something racist.
Comparing the two heroes, Rocky was a block of iron that could withstand massive amounts of damage and weather through anything the opponents threw at him.
His trials to overcome were based on his low income Italian loan shark enforcer life, mixed with a neighborhood that held little future besides meat packing and boxing and being afraid to ask his girl out.
Adonis on the other hand is much more frail (but not that much, but when compared to Rocky his defense is inferior) but makes up for it with his explosive strength and maneuverability. However he lacks focus and accuracy, due to not cultivating a sense of self discipline.
From the start, Adonis is taken in by Creed's late wife and even given a promotion in a corporate job that obviously pays well. So he does not come with the economic hunger Rocky had. Instead, as an orphaned child brought up in the abusive foster home system, he does struggle with self identity and living in the shadow of a legendary fighter.
As for asking a girl out, that was never a problem for the smoother and more charming Adonis, now if only he could do something about that choleric temper of his.
Rocky is no longer the hero. He made his peace in Rocky Balboa (2006) and is content to let things be. Switching gears to Creed, the direction makes it clear it is now his movie. As such a more contemporary music soundtrack brings this to fore and sees our old protagonist taking the place of Mickey as the mentor.
Michael B. Jordan is showing some major star power here. Everytime I see that hungry look in his eyes, that anger, that resentment, it flows from the screen to me and I believe it. It's real.
Everything feels good. I liked it. This movie is rock solid.
Creed makes a good first impression for this new saga.