He just fights all the time
Creed speaks to the post GFC crisis and the politics of austerity. Legacy in the film isn’t simply patriarchal, familial, nor a film franchise been reborn or a star image (Stallone) being resurrected, but a continuation of neo-liberal policies that create the need for (paid) violence and which leave a liquid underclass behind. In Philadelphia, we see this manifested in the black-American motorcycle boys who herald Donnie’s rise as if he is their way out of the contemporary ghetto of high youth unemployment, sub-prime mortgages and empty shops. The scene in which Donnie trains as these nomads ride and pull wheelies behind him to the sound of ‘Fighting Stronger’, emblematic of the neo-unemployed looking to rise again and of the need to fight one’s way out of one’s marginalized existence. The audio-visual echo back to the black realist pictures of the late Reganite 1980s, is signed. In Liverpool (and ‘Toxteth’, where the 1981 race riots took place) we see austerity personified by Pretty Ricky Conlan, on remand for gun possession, and whose father worked as a labourer in the docks. The cross-cuts between Philadelphia and Liverpool draw together two global arcs of austerity lustre: that those of non-white ethnicity and the lower social class have been left behind by the lights of late capitalism, as has the industrial cities where they live. Whose fault is this? At the beginning of the film, when Donnie gives up his position as a manager at a hedge firm, the suggestion might be, the bankers who got us into this mess. However, the sense of poverty and inaction seems to ultimately just sit in the environments we find them in as if it is their fault (as austerity discourse would want to have it). The only way out is professional boxing, and the promise of violent self-actualization in a world behind the hood.