Creed II review
If you were to ask any child of the 80's (or anyone who loves movies from the 80's) what an essential movie from that era was, chances are, they'll say Rocky IV. While a fourth movie from a boxing series may not seem like much, have you seen that movie? It's basically Rocky Balboa fighting and winning the Cold War. Okay, it wasn't that, but given it's time period and the fact that the competing fighter from the heavily controlled Soviet Union, it represented a lot of feat that a lot of Americans had about the Motherland and what could be lurking behind the Iron Curtain.
It may have been the silliest of Rocky movies (any Rocky movie with a robot is jumping the shark), but it embraced its tone enough that I still recommend it as an entertaining film. Like a lot of fans, I had also speculated about Dolph Lundgren's character of Ivan Drago. What would have happened to him after his loss and the fall of the Soviet Union? Would he still be involved with the world of boxing? Thankfully, these and more questions have been answered in Creed II.
After the events of Creed, Adonis Creed (played by Michael B. Jordan) has become the heavyweight champion and seems to be enjoying his new celebrity status. In celebration, he proposes to his longtime girlfriend Bianca (played by Tessa Thompson) in which she accepts. They also agree to relocate to Los Angeles to be closer to the Hollywood scene and be closer to his mother Mary Ann Creed (played by Phylicia Rashad). While this concerns Adonis who doesn't want to leave Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone) alone, Rocky seems okay now that he's recovered from his cancer treatment from before.
Meanwhile in the Ukraine, former boxer Ivan Drago (played by Dolph Lundgren) has been living a quiet life after being exiled by his home. But he's not alone. He's been training his son Viktor (played by Florian Munteanu) to become a boxer as well. Once ready, Ivan and Viktor travel to the states to challenge Adonis for a match. Nobody, especially Rocky, wants Adonis to take the fight, as Ivan was the one who killed his father in the ring. Adonis accepts it for the sake of his family history. At the same time, he finds out that Bianca is pregnant and he's afraid that the baby will inherit his wife's deafness.
Like a lot of sequels, Creed II does follow a lot of the typical second movie tropes like friends falling out, ego getting in the way, and a later "eye of the tiger" style learning to earn that hunger to win. The good news is that it still works thanks to the characters from before. Everyone, especially Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, are interesting and I want to see what's going to happen with them. Whether they fall or rise, their story is never boring and feels good in the place of the Rocky universe.
What makes this work better then I thought is the return of Ivan Drago. He isn't just a man of few words and punches like in Rocky IV. He's a man with a lot of anger, who blames his fight with Rocky as the start of his downfall, who only want's to reclaim the former glory of his days in Russia. It's clear that a lot of inspiration can from the new YouTube series Cobra Kai. Like in the show, they took a character who was a black and white villain, and added more depth to his personality.
Adding to that is his son, who is no joke. I have no idea to what preparation was made, but the movie did a great job at making this beast of a man who makes Adonis look small in comparison. This makes the upcoming fight very anticipated.
Without giving much away, if there's anything to admit, its that if you seen the other Rocky movies, then chances are, you'll know some of the outcomes. It's a sports movie, but I think a lot of focus is trying to make it a part of the Rocky storyline…perhaps a little too closely.
I'll give this four and a half Rocky IV posters out of five.Creed II continues both the stories of Rocky IV and Creed in fantastic ways that I'll be ready for a Creed III. It'll depend on how long Stallone will remain a part of this, but even if he leaves, this series is in good hands with Michael B. Jordan. Go see it, take a punch, and see it again.