I have always been very weird when it comes to the Rocky movies. I always enjoyed the movie silly entries, such as Rocky 4 over Rocky 2 or Creed. So when I heard Creed 2 was going to bring back Ivan Drago I got really excited. I enjoyed Creed for the most part but got quite bored during the second act. Sylvester Stallone gave one of his best performances in the first Creed movie and he carries it over into the sequel. Though his screen time felt shorter, his acting chops stayed just as good.
Years after Adonis Creed made a name for himself under Rocky Balboa’s mentorship, the young boxer becomes the Heavyweight Champion of the World. While life is good with that victory and his marriage to Bianca, trouble comes to Philadelphia when Ivan Drago, the Russian boxer who killed Adonis’ father, Apollo, arrives with his son, Viktor, to challenge Adonis.
Against Rocky’s advice, Adonis accepts the challenge without his mentor’s participation and pays the price in a punishing bout he wins only by a technicality. Now injured and demoralized, Adonis cannot bring himself to back into the game, leaving his spirit and title in jeopardy. Together, Adonis’ family and Rocky must find a way to rekindle Adonis’ fighting spirit to face the future in whatever choice he makes. Meanwhile, the Drago family have its own troubles trying to regain the respect in their homeland that they lost at Rocky’s hands as they wonder whether is it truly worth it.
Compared to the first Creed, the plot is a little all over the place and the writing is a little stale. However, what makes this a great movie is the chemistry between the two main stars. Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone are like family, you can see Jordan enjoy every minute acting alongside Stallone and they’ve formed a real father-son bond. Someone who gives a surprisingly good performance is He-Man himself, Dolph Lungren. Himself and his co-partner Florian Munteanu hardly say any words in the movie but they share one of the most well-acted scenes. I won’t go into spoilers but it was this scene that made me respect Lungren as an actor.
Lungren and his son have the most interesting narrative in the movie, I was much more invested and wanted to see how their story ended than if Adonis Creed was going to win the final fight or not.
I’m not the biggest fan of rap and R&B but I can say without a dealt that Creed 2 has one of the greatest soundtracks of 2018. Every piece of music amplifies the scene, the training sequence has such an epic feel to it and it really made me want to see Creed win in the end. It would have been better if the characters motivations were explored some more, such as with Drago and his son. Creed 2 does contain some callbacks to Rocky 4 but it can become a little overwhelming at times. There were many opportunities to expand upon Viktor Drago’s story, especially considering him and Creed are one of the same, with what happened to their fathers changing the impact of their upbringing. This would have been an interesting plot point to expand upon but the movie that decides to focus on it.
As good as Lungren is at portraying Drago, the character of Drago is one of the weaker parts of the movie. In the first Creed, you could see how Rocky had developed over time and regretted certain decisions he made in his career. Drago never shows any kind of remorse towards killing Apollo and is nothing but a dick to his son. Treating him more like a fighter than a son. There are some great scenes between the two and one of them involves the ending.
It is sad that a movie that revolves around boxing, has extremely forgettable fights. The cinematography does nothing to invest you in the fights and the outcome is really predictable. On the other hand, the fights are still entertaining to watch and are never boring, with the final fight having one of my favourite scenes in the whole movie.
Overall, Creed 2 is a good sequel. It doesn’t do much to progress the character but it does offer an interesting enough story and one really well-done training sequence. Jordan and Stallone’s chemistry is as good as ever, Lungren and Munteanu could have been better but their arc still had some stand out moments. They certainly were never boring. The soundtrack is something that I will be listening to for a while but I won’t be rewatching the fight scenes anytime soon.
Creed 2 (7/10)
Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Runtime: 130 Minutes