Don't! I have to prove it! {…} That I'm not a mistake!
~ Adonis to Rocky.

Adonis Johnson Creed is the titular main protagonist character of the 2015 well-acclaimed sports drama film Creed , the spinoff of the legendary Rocky franchise. He is the son of the late legendary boxer Apollo Creed, who died by Ivan Drago in Rocky IV and Rocky Balboa, his father's old former rival and best friend trained him.

He is portrayed by Michael B. Jordan , who also portrayed the superhero The Human Torch, Steve Montgomery in Chronicle, and Guy Montag in Fahrenheit 451 (2018).

Biography

Childhood

In 1998, Adonis "Donnie" Johnson is serving time in a Los Angeles youth facility, he is the son of an extramarital lover of former heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, Apollo died in the ring before he was born. During his time in the Youth Facility Creed's wife, Mary Anne, pays him a visit and offers to take him in. Adonis has an older half-brother and half-sister who are Apollo and Mary Anne biological kids. Seventeen years later, Donnie turned his life around, he went to college and got a great job in a securities firm. He still love boxing, once he found out boxing in his blood. He earned some extra money boxing in Mexico. Donnie walks away from his job at a securities firm to pursue his dream of becoming a professional boxer.

Creed (2015)

Becoming Fighter

Mary Anne vehemently opposes this, remembering how her husband was killed in the ring 30 years earlier against Ivan Drago. He tries to get a slot at Los Angeles' elite Delphi Boxing Academy, but is turned down. Undaunted, Donnie travels to Philadelphia in hopes of getting in touch with his father's old friend and rival, Rocky Balboa. Donnie tracks down Rocky at Rocky's Italian restaurant, Adrian's, named in honor of his deceased wife, and asks Rocky to become his trainer. Rocky is reluctant to get back into boxing, having already made a one-off comeback at a very advanced age despite having suffered brain trauma during his career as a fighter, however, he eventually agrees. The reason why hr doesn't train Donnie, he used to train and manage Tommy Gunn who stabbed in the back for George Washington Duke to for the title. Donnie trains at the Front Street Gym, with several of Rocky's longtime friends as cornermen, and also finds a love interest in Bianca, an up-and-coming singer and songwriter. Donnie, now known as "Hollywood Donnie," defeats a local fighter, and word gets out that he is Creed's illegitimate son. Rocky gets a call from the handlers of World Light Heavyweight Champion "Pretty" Ricky Conlan, who is due to be forced into retirement by an impending prison term. He offers to make Donnie his final challenger—provided that he change his name to Adonis "Hollywood Donnie" Creed. Donnie balks at first, wanting to forge his own legacy. However, he eventually agrees.

Getting Ready for the Big Fight

While helping Donnie train, Rocky learns he has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He is unwilling to undergo chemotherapy, remembering that it was not enough to save Adrian when she had ovarian cancer. His diagnosis and the fact that his best friend and brother-in-law Paulie Pennino, Adrian's brother, has now passed away in addition to Adrian, Apollo and his old trainer Mickey Goldmill further force him to confront his own mortality. Seeing Rocky shaken, Donnie urges him to seek treatment.

The Big Fight

Donnie fights Conlan in Conlan's hometown of Liverpool, and many parallels emerge between Apollo and Rocky's first fight 40 years earlier. First, before going into the ring, Donnie receives a present from Mary Anne, new American flag trunks similar to the ones Apollo and later Rocky wore. Additionally, to the surprise of nearly everyone, Donnie not only goes the distance but he also becomes the first person to knock Conlan down in his entire career. Conlan wins on a split decision (just as Apollo retained his title by split decision against Rocky), but Donnie has won the respect of Conlan and the crowd. As Jim Lampley puts it while calling the fight for HBO, "Conlan won the fight, but Creed won the night." Conlan tells Donnie that he is the future of the Light Heavyweight division. After the fight, Donnie and a frail but improving Rocky climbing the "Rocky Steps" at the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Creed II (2018)

First Decisions

In 2018, three years after his loss to "Pretty" Ricky Conlan, Adonis "Donnie" Creed has won six straight bouts, culminating in a victory over Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler to win the WBC World Heavyweight Championship. Now a worldwide star, Donnie proposes to his girlfriend, Bianca Taylor, who agrees to marry him. When Bianca suggests starting a new life together in Los Angeles, Donnie is reluctant to leave Philadelphia as it would mean leaving Rocky.

Victor Drago's Challenge

Ivan Drago, the former Soviet boxer who killed Donnie's father Apollo Creed during a bout in 1985 before losing to Rocky Balboa, seeks an opportunity to regain glory. Assisted by promoter Buddy Marcelle, Ivan pits his son, Viktor Drago, against Donnie. When Rocky refuses to support Donnie's decision to accept Viktor's challenge, Donnie leaves for Los Angeles.

Donnie and Bianca settle down in a luxurious apartment in Los Angeles close to Donnie's adoptive mother and Apollo's widow, Mary Anne. As they adjust to their new life and prepare for the upcoming match, Bianca learns that she is pregnant. Donnie recruits Tony "Little Duke" Evers, son of his father's trainer and later Rocky's trainer, to start training him. Overwhelmed by his life's recent developments, he rushes into the match and is badly injured. Viktor is disqualified for hitting Donnie while he is down, allowing Donnie to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. However, Viktor becomes extremely popular in Russia and wins a series of fights with top billing.

Becoming a Father

His body and ego shattered, Donnie becomes increasingly disconnected from Bianca. Mary Anne reaches out to Rocky, who reconciles with Donnie and agrees to train him for a rematch against Viktor, who is suffering torturous physical tests at Ivan's hands. Bianca gives birth to a daughter, Amara, and Rocky is named her godfather; however, Donnie and Bianca realize Amara is born deaf, inheriting it from her mother's progressive hearing disorder. Later Rocky and Little Duke retrain Donnie in a decrepit location in the California desert, focusing on fighting from within and training Donnie's body to absorb the heavy impact he will receive from Viktor in the ring.

The Rematch

In Moscow, the rematch is more balanced as a more controlled and focused Donnie exchanges equal blows with Viktor. Since Viktor is accustomed to winning by knockout, his fights have never lasted beyond the fourth round; Donnie uses this to his advantage and willingly endures a heavy beating from Viktor, even after his ribs are broken. In the tenth round, Donnie unleashes sequence after sequence of effective blows and knocks Viktor down twice. Ludmilla departs after the second knockdown, upsetting Viktor, and Ivan sees the truth of Viktor's earlier statements. An exhausted Viktor is cornered and receives multiple strikes without defending himself, but is unwilling to go down. Realizing that his son's safety means more to him than acceptance from Russia's elite, Ivan throws in the towel, forfeiting the fight to protect his son. He assures the distraught Viktor it is okay that he lost, and embraces him. As Bianca enters the ring to celebrate with Donnie and Little Duke, Rocky recuses himself, telling Donnie that "It's your time", and takes a seat to watch them from outside the ring.

Family Reunions

Donnie visits Apollo's grave, where he makes peace with his deceased father and the burden of carrying on his legacy, as he and Bianca introduce his granddaughter, who is wearing a new set of hearing aids. Rocky travels to Vancouver to make peace with his own estranged son, Robert, and meets his grandson Logan for the first time, noting how much he looks like Adrian.

Personality

Adonis is torn between trying to preserve his father's legacy and build his own. A.O. Scott of the New York Times wrote that, "Adonis is a complex character with a complex fate. He is at once a rich kid and a street kid, the proud carrier of an illustrious heritage and an invisible man. His relationship with Rocky is complicated, too. The older fighter is a mentor and a father figure, to be sure, but he also needs someone to take care of him, especially when illness adds a melodramatic twist to the plot.  Adonis has been described as "arrogant", Although Adonis' circumstances change after he is adopted by Mary Anne Creed, his late father's widow, he retains his fiery personality. Short-tempered and impulsive, but good-natured, it is Adonis' tenacity that convinces Rocky to train him. Michael O' Sullivan of The Washington Post analyzes that Adonis' "struggles with his temper" are "a coping mechanism that helps him deal with the fear of not living up to the name Creed."  Jordan states of Adonis, "My character is living in the shadow of his dad, who is arguably the greatest fighter that ever lived, and he really has to embrace that to move forward. I could understand wanting to have your own legacy and trying to find your own lane". Adonis' hubris initially causes him to refuse to embrace the name Creed, instead using his mother's surname Johnson. Only with his girlfriend Bianca's encouragement does Adonis eventually come to accept the name When Adonis meets Rocky and reveals to him that he is Apollo's son and that he wants the elder former boxer to train him, Rocky questions, "Why would you pick a fighter's life when you don't need to?" He immediately notes that Adonis is well-educated and comes from a wealthy background, which contrasts Rocky's own upbringing. However, Rocky sees in Adonis the drive and determination in himself and Apollo when he was younger, and concedes in training him.  After Rocky is diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphona, it is Adonis who motivates him and teaches him to fight again: "Adonis is there to push Rocky the same way Rocky pushes him in the gym and in the ring." Adonis pays tribute to Rocky, his father, and his country by wearing the classic American flag shorts in his debut professional match that Apollo and Balboa sported in their bouts against Ivan Drago. However, Adonis' shorts have the name Johnson on the back and Creed on the front, symbolizing that he can both preserve his father's legacy and still make his own.

His Fighting Style

Although Apollo Creed's boxing style was based on Muhammad Ali's, Adonis uses a different style. Adonis has an orthodox stance like his father, yet Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler wanted Adonis style to be "unorthodox". They modeled Adonis' style on Timothy Bradley, a real life boxer from California. Jordan described Bradley's style as "pretty wild" and "kind of a brawler". He added that since Adonis "taught himself to box", his style would be rough and untamed. Being trained by Rocky, Adonis learns to absorb a lot of punishment and has a strong chin, but he is generally much faster than Rocky and more prone to dodge punches. Unlike Bradley, who is a welterweight, or Rocky, a heavyweight, Adonis is a light heavyweight boxer.

Trivia

  • He is played by Michael B. Jordan, who also played The Human Torch in the 2015 superhero epic but critically-bombed Fantastic Four.

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