Before you read this, check out my (very first ever!) review of Creed (2015).
In Creed II, Michael B. Jordan reprises his role as Adonis “Donny” Creed, the son of late heavyweight champ Apollo Creed. Donny has already proven himself as an undeniable talent in the ring, yet he still has a chip on his shoulder, which seems to fuel him. Just when life appears to be at its best, trouble comes calling when he is challenged by Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu)– the son of his father’s former foe, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren).
Pushed to physical and emotional limits he could’ve never imagined, the sequel follows Donny as he prepares for the fight of his life.
Rocky is a seminal film that has had a great impact on me for both its filmmaking aspects and its messages of self-discipline and self- respect. That someone like director Steven Caple Jr. could come along and give us another great addition to the franchise that is fresh and exciting…I’m honestly over the moon about it.
Creed II is truly a fantastic film! From the vibrant cast to the fresh storyline, to the look of the film, it’s another winner. I had my concerns going in, but it didn’t take long before I could clearly see that while different than the first, this film is entertaining and still has the heart that audiences loved in Creed (2015).
It’s no surprise that MBJ is back in great physical form. He already proved his level of commitment in the previous film; and he truly looks and moves like a fighter. Beyond that, I think he delivers a performance that is even more touching than in the first film. It feels like he is a little more confident and a little more self-aware than before, although it’s difficult to know if that is the actor himself or simply the character. I would wager that it’s a little bit of both.
I really liked that we got to see more of Donny’s relationship with Bianca (Tessa Thompson) because the chemistry the two of them share is special. It doesn’t take much to believe that they are a real couple. Thompson is wonderful onscreen and seems to be at her best in the more dramatic moments. I appreciate what her character Bianca brings out in Donny; she forces him to open up in a way that no one else can. That vulnerability benefits him in ways I’m not sure that he has really begun to grasp.
Of course I can’t leave out Sylvester Stallone, who has always challenged Donny and served as the father figure he desperately needs. Stallone is an important part of this film and what he brings just cannot be duplicated by anyone else. He pulls double duty this time around, as he co-wrote the screenplay. I think that was a smart move. Who better to pen this installment than the person who created this world and these characters in the first place?
While Creed II seems pretty formulaic, there are moments that did surprise me. For instance, the lives of the Dragos are explored in ways we’ve never seen before. Everyone knows the tense backstory dating back to Rocky IV. Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) went up against Drago and was tragically killed in the ring. In the same film, Rocky trained harder than ever before and defeated Drago in a brutal fight.
While Rocky went on to other successes and is still something of a big deal in Philly, it’s interesting to see what has become of the once-great Russian champion. Ivan’s life has taken a pretty pathetic turn; his country has ostracized him and left him to raise his son in obscurity. If Adonis has a chip on his shoulder, then Viktor has a boulder on his.
When he gets into the ring with Donny, they are downright explosive together. I promise you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting to see how things turn out. Actually, that might be an understatement. You might just find yourself squirming in your seat (or worse the aisle)!
If you liked the first Creed, you’re in for a treat. Creed II is in theaters now!
What’s your favorite sports movie of all time? Let me know in the comments down below!