After three years the sequel to the blockbuster hit Creed is finally here. Without the iconic director Ryan Coogler at the helm, can new director Steven Caple Jr. live up to the legacy of the Rocky franchise? To answer that question: yes. Creed II follows a formula most people are familiar with, but it packs twice the emotional weight, with themes that hit you in the gut. Creed II is not only a fitting sequel worthy of your attention but a fitting ending to the Creed vs Drago feud that began decades prior in Rocky IV.
Creed II picks up a couple years after the ending of the first, with Adonis Creed (Michael B.Jordan) contending for the heavyweight title, with former champion now mentor/trainer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and girlfriend Bianca “B” (Tessa Thompson) at his side. Shortly after the events of this match, a challenger appears in the form of Viktor (Florian Munteanu) accompanied by his father, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), the man who killed Adonis’s father Apollo. Fans familiar with the Rocky franchise can see where this is heading.
Caple Jr. manages to deliver on the idea of a Creed vs Drago rematch through their sons, while still capturing the heart of the Rocky franchise. We not only care about Adonis’s issues of living up to his father’s name while being a new father himself but Caple Jr. gets us to care about the people around Adonis as well. Bianca is fleshed out more in this sequel and doesn’t play second fiddle to Adonis, allowing Thompson to stretch her acting muscles. The biggest surprise is between Viktor and Ivan Drago. We discover what happened to Ivan after the events of Rocky IV and how that affected his son, and it’s a welcome addition to how these films typically progress.
Now let’s get to the bottom line: a few people are skeptical about Coogler not returning and worry about the fight scenes delivering. I am here to tell you the fight scenes not only deliver, but the fight between Drago and Creed is more enticing than anything in the original Creed. Reason being is that you are invested in both fighters. Their storylines run parallel, leading to the final match that has more weight than anything we have experienced before. Nothing feels contrived, and the ending is actually something believable. Even the training montages are on a higher level as we get montages of both fighters training in harsh conditions.
Like Viktor Drago, Creed II is stronger, faster, and bigger than its predecessor but doesn’t skip a beat when it comes to character development and heartfelt scenes. Caple Jr. and co-writer Stallone handle the series with care and remind us why we fell in love with Creed, and by extension to Rocky as well, to begin with.
Creed II is now playing nationwide
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