“Creed II” is the second movie of the “Rocky” spinoff series directed by Steven Caple Jr.
Michael B. Jordan returns as Adonis Creed, Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as the Rocky Balboa, Tessa Thompson as Bianca, Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago and Florian Munteanu as Viktor Drago.
The first “Creed” movie had a lot to live up to, as the “Rocky” franchise is one that is near and dear to many, and a follow up film to the already large collection had some fans worried that it wouldn’t deliver.
Then it did.
The same goes for the sequel of “Creed,” as perhaps this boxer was a one-trick pony.
Then it did it again.
The sequel to “Creed” takes old rivalries to new heights, and introduces a past foe from the “Rocky” series – Ivan Drago. Ivan killed Apollo Creed, Adonis’ father, in the ring under the coaching of Rocky Balboa. Rocky would go on to defeat Ivan, and put the rivalry to rest.
The sequel gives us a full perspective of how much that rivalry affected Drago’s life. Ivan Drago is seen as a failure to his nation, and his wife even leaves him due to the shame he brought on his family.
Ivan raises his son, Viktor, to be a boxing machine. All Viktor knows is how to fight, and all he does is train for the sole purpose of taking down Adonis Creed to claim the heavyweight championship and make Mother Russia, and his daddy, proud.
Viktor Drago has established himself as one of the most well-written “Rocky” antagonists, and you understand where he is coming from. He’s never made anyone proud, and it seems like this is the one chance for him to do so. He’s a quiet individual, and Caple does a great job of making the audience empathize with him.
Creed still has some of his rash personality from the first film, but that quickly subsides and we learn what Creed is really fighting for. His major character flaw in this film is what killed his father in the “Rocky” series – he can’t decline a fight.
Rocky is still Rocky, and that’s perfectly fine. He has a subplot all about family that doesn’t feel tacked on.
This movie manages to raise the stakes even higher somehow, and that’s exactly what a sequel should do.
The use of storytelling through visuals rather than dialogue is exceptional. For instance, the cold bleak streets of Russia fit Viktor perfectly, while the bright yellow desert of LA fits Adonis.
There are some subplots involving Adonis and others that don’t quite fit, but certainly not enough to hinder the enjoyment of the film.
As to be expected, as they are in most “Rocky” films, the choreography of the fights is stellar.
If you like the first “Creed” movie, you’ll love seeing him in the ring again.
“It’s a knockout.”