Last year, the Rocky franchise was revived in a new way with the release of Creed, a new spinoff of the franchise focusing on Apollo Creed’s son, played by Michael B. Jordan:
Creed had a very difficult task to complete, pass the torch of the series off but also provide a satisfying conclusion to the original guard and Creed definitely succeeds at that.
But it’s hard to compare both Creed and the original Rocky film as both movies are equally as strong:
But hey, that’s why we’re here, let’s take a look at which film did its’ job the best, Rocky or Creed:
ROCKY VS. CREED
Let’s begin with the main characters themselves, Rocky and Creed, this is the best title character:
BEST TITLE CHARACTER
Rocky Balboa is depicted as an everyman who started out by going the distance and overcoming obstacles that had occurred in his life and career as a professional boxer.
With Rocky, Stallone plays the everyman role nicely and for all of the series, he remains a very likeable character and you can relate to his situation and his experience in that first film.
With that said, that role is pretty easy to play and while Stallone definitely gets that role down easily, it does get old with all the films that follow, with the exception being Rocky Balboa where it makes sense for it to return to a more reminiscent time from the first film.
In Creed, Michael B. Jordan, who has the unfortunate dishonor of being associated with Fantastic Four just before this film’s release, rebounds big time to prove that he’s a star in the making giving a great performance in this as the title character and he really does carry the movie on his own and show what a great future he has as an actor. And his chemistry with the cast just works so well, especially with Sylvester Stallone.
Rocky Balboa is such a good character that fits in tone with Stallone well in the original films but in terms of which one’s the better one, I would say that Creed is the better title character in terms of being better written, having more of a background behind him and a more clearer realization of why he does what he does. Nothing against Rocky Balboa but I think Creed had a much better written title character than the original film did.
Point goes to Creed
BEST TITLE CHARACTER WINNER: Creed
Both movies also have their strong supporting casts involved but which one had the better one, this is the best supporting cast:
BEST SUPPORTING CAST
In the Rocky series, the main supporting cast who appear in a majority in the movies include Adrian (Talia Shire), Paulie (Burt Young), Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), Mickey Goddell (Burgess Meredith), and Tony “Duke” Evers (Tony Burton).
In Rocky II, the cast is pretty much the same from the first film.
Rocky III adds Mr. T as Clubber Lang and Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips.
Rocky IV has Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago, Bridgette Nielsen as Ludmilla Drago, and Michael Pataki as Nicola Koloff.
Rocky V has Rocky’s son, Robert (Sage Stallone), Tommy Gunn (Tommy Morrison), and George Duke (Richard Gant).
And Rocky Balboa has Robert again, this time played by Milo Ventimigilia, Hughes, Rocky’s love interest, played by Geraldine Hughes, and Antonio Tarver as Mason “The Line” Dixon.
Creed’s got a great supporting cast too, another rising star Tessa Thompson is great as Jordan’s love interest, Phylicia Rashad playing Adonis’ mother is great, Wood Harris is great as Tony Evers, Tony Bellew is great as Ricky Conlan, and the rest of the cast just works really well.
And then you have Stallone as Rocky, pretty much being this film’s version of Paulie. And wow, welcome back, Stallone. While looking at Stallone in this, you may think he’s just there as stunt casting having him returns as Rocky Balboa just to pass the torch along and while that’s definitely what the casting is, the movie is clever enough to give Rocky a good story to work off of, he hardly has any friends or family around him to be with so when the son of one of his closest friends comes into his life and sees the potential he has, he sees a little bit of himself in this kid while facing with his own personal demons, I’ll delve into that a bit later but Stallone in this really lets himself go, this is some of the best acting Stallone had done since Rocky Balboa and even since Cop Land almost 20 years ago.
In terms of which movies had the most memorable supporting cast members, it’s hard not to top the Rocky cast. The Creed cast comes pretty close but the Rocky cast wins it by a small margin.
Point goes to Rocky.
BEST SUPPORTING CAST WINNER: Rocky
Of course both Rocky & Creed have their excellent fights involved, would you expect anything less? Let’s look at the best fights:
The Rocky movies’ action scenes mostly come from the boxing scenes themselves, all of them shot with a lot of great action and tension filled moments. Each fight manages to keep you on the edge of your seat every time it happens on screen.
In Creed, the camera work is incredible, many of the scenes are all done with one shot and done incredibly well, the fight sequences are nicely done mixing in real footage with footage as if the fight is being watched on HBO, it’s a different approach to the fights once again meeting with the familiar style and format of the past fights.
It’s hard to top Rocky. Each one of the final boxing matches have so much action and tension filled moments that it’s hard to topple that.
And I’ll be damned if Creed didn’t do just that, the way they mix the regular camera work with footage as it is being shown on TV is so well done, it creates a new aspect to the fight sequences for the Rocky films. Gotta go with the new one here.
Point goes to Creed.
BEST FIGHT WINNER: Creed
Of course, let’s talk about the excellent music choices both movies had to offer, the best music:
Bill Conti does the famous musical score for Rocky:
They are both really good themes but once again, Rocky is just the most recognizable and catchy of the two. The music by Ludwig Goransson in Creed is fine but again, it’s hard to go against the Rocky theme.
Point goes again to Rocky.
BEST MUSIC WINNER: Rocky
It all comes down to which film was better put together
BEST OVERALL FRANCHISE
Rocky’s biggest stumble came with 1990’s Rocky V, which tried to add in way too much to the story but also tried to repeat what made the first movie such a success. It was the lowest grossing Rocky film of the series and was a huge financial and critical bomb that lead Stallone to create the much better and more well-made Rocky Balboa 16 years later.
Other than that, Rocky II, III, and IV are all actually really good movies, not as good as their predecessors but still good.
With Creed, The best aspect about the movie on its’ own is the way the story is played out. I talked about in The Good Dinosaur about how the story didn’t work because it was so predictable and just all over the place. Here, it’s done perfect, it’s done in a way where you think you can tell what’s going to happen but the movie is smart enough to turn the tables on you and give you something else you weren’t expecting but again, plays back to the original films. In the previews for this, they make it clear that Rocky was sick and considering that this was more than likely going to be Stallone’s last movie in the Rocky series, it would’ve been so easy to kill him off but the movie does it very cleverly to where you could see it as Rocky’s swan song and yet he does not die at least not in this film, the way the movie does it and makes it so that it’s not just Adonis fighting his own battle but also Rocky fighting his own battles as well, the movie does a great job of blending both these worlds together and making it flow in a good narrative fashion.
If there was a complaint I had towards the film, it’s more of a nitpick, the opening scene with Adonis as a child and Rashad’s character taking him in as her own, not that the scene itself is bad but the scene says it takes place in 1998, now if you remember from Rocky IV, Apollo Creed died in the fight with Ivan Drago, that movie was released in 1985 and natural assumption is that’s also when the fight takes place, so if this takes place in 1998 that would mean Adonis would be 13, the kid they got to play Adonis, I’m sorry, that kid is not fucking 13 years old. That kid looks like he’s 6 or 7 then looking like he’s 13. And yes, they did say that Adonis’ mother was a extramarital lover, I can buy that, what I can’t buy is how this kid looks, that kid does not look 13 years old at all. Even if he wasn’t born in 85 or a year or two afterward, he still does not look 13 years old at all.
There are other moments that don’t really work but again, nothing to the point where’s it worth going off of but that opening scene’s logic really did get to me.
This is why I think Creed is the best of the whole franchise, the casting works, it gives Michael B. Jordan a chance to break out and succeeds, it gives Sylvester Stallone one last ride as Rocky Balboa and he succeeds, it gives the franchise a chance to spawn a new leaf while paying tribute to the original series and it definitely succeeds on that. Creed continues the legacy of Rocky with mix of something old and something new to excel it as one of the best films of last year.
And with that, Creed easily takes this one as the superior movie.
BEST OVERALL FRANCHISE WINNER: Creed
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