Ryan Coogler’s “Creed” and Steven Caple Jr.’s “Creed II” will both drop on HBO Max at the top of March, just in time for a revisit (or first-time watch if that be the case) ahead of Michael B. Jordan’s “Creed III” opening in theaters on Friday, March 3. The “Rocky” off-shoot centers on Jordan’s Adonis Creed, the now-grown son of the late heavyweight champion and Rocky Balboa’s rival-turned-BFF, Apollo Creed. Adonis, as you might imagine, is eager to carve out his own legacy separate from his father, both inside and outside the ring, and the “Creed” movies are all about his journey to doing just that. But it’s more than just the shadow of his dad that hangs over Adonis. There’s also his mentor Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), who’s already got plenty on his plate to deal with outside of guiding his troubled protege, and then Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), an opponent with just as much to prove to himself as Adonis.
From their vérité cinematography (“Creed,” in particular, boasts some stellar one-take sequences) to their stirring performances and rich exploration of Black masculinity, the first two “Creed” films have just as much to offer those who appreciate grounded human drama as they do “Rocky” fans looking for a worthy update of the boxing franchise for Millennials. In the same way its namesake has succeeded in forging a path separate from the ones traveled by his predecessors’, it’s the rare legacy sequel-spinoff series that stands firmly on its own two feet.