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Creed' Keeps 'Rocky' Franchise Moving Forward

Touted as a spin-off, the seventh film in the popular Rocky franchise sees Rocky Balboa training the illegitimate child of Apollo Creed. Can "Creed" stand up to the legacy of the Oscar winning original?

Michael B. Jordan and Producer Sylvester Stallone seen at Los Angeles World Premiere of New Line Cinema’s and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures' 'Creed' at Regency Village Theater on Thursday, November 19, 2015, in Westwood, CA. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Warner Bros/AP Images)\n

**The following is an in-depth review of “Creed” and does contain spoilers.**

"It ain't about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."

Those words were spoken by Rocky Balboa in the sixth film in the franchise, and despite getting knocked down a couple of times, the franchise keeps getting back up and moving forward.

The latest attempt, "Creed," follows the illegitimate son of original Rocky opponent Apollo Creed. Adonis "Donnie" Johnson works in an office, but he has a longing that he can't shake, and that longing is to be a fighter. It was eating at him long before he found out his "absent" father was former heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed, who was killed in the ring by Russian fighter Ivan Drago.

Michael B. Jordan and Producer Sylvester Stallone seen at Los Angeles World Premiere of New Line Cinema�s and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures' 'Creed' at Regency Village Theater on Thursday, November 19, 2015, in Westwood, CA. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Warner Bros/AP Images)

In his quest to become a prize-fighter, Donnie quits his job in Los Angeles and moves to Philadelphia to find one of his father's closest friends and greatest opponents, Rocky Balboa. He hopes that Rocky will train him and help him to fulfill the burning desire he has to become a fighter.

"Creed" isn't a good boxing movie and it isn't a good "Rocky" movie; it is just a really good movie in its own right. It's next to impossible to point to a franchise that can make it to seven films and still deliver - "X-Men" comes to mind - but "Creed" definitely does deliver.

What made the original "Rocky" such a great film - and worthy of the Best Picture Oscar - was that it had heart. It wasn't just about boxing, it was about life. Everyone can identify with Rocky and his desire to go the distance. The original film wasn't about winning and it was about staying in the game until the end; it was about taking everything life can throw at you and staying the course until the final bell.

This was something that "Rocky Balboa" brought back to the franchise, and "Creed" takes it to another level.

"Creed" mirrors the original Rocky in many ways. So many ways, in fact, that it could almost be seen as a remake in some aspects, even though it keeps continuity with everything that came before. Donnie is Rocky. He is everything Rocky was in 1976, and Rocky sees that in him. That, maybe even a little more than who Donnie's father is, probably had a lot to do with Rocky deciding to train Donnie, when originally he wasn't interested.

The redundancy works because it shows the franchise coming full circle, and it makes for a nice bookend to the series.

It should be noted that "Creed" has been marketed not as another "Rocky" sequel, but as a spin-off. If the studio is franchise-minded where "Creed" is concerned, this does seem to present a number of problems.

As a cap to the Rocky franchise, "Creed" works wonderfully. As the first film in its own series, one has to wonder where they could go from here without just repeating Rocky's journey. As an allegory that life goes on and there will always be another Rocky, it works. As the first film in its own series, all of that falls apart and it just becomes a repeat of what has gone before.

"Creed" works. It works as a stand-alone film, it works as a bookend to the entire Rocky franchise; it just works.

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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