Recently crowned heavyweight boxing champion Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is publicly challenged to fight by the son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), who killed his father Apollo in a boxing match years earlier. Afraid that history will repeat itself under his supervision, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) declines to train Adonis if he chooses to accept the fight. Despite the pregnancy of his new fiancee Bianca (Tessa Thompson), Adonis still decides to accept Drago’s challenge. Getting disqualified for an illegal blow, Drago pummels Adonis, sending him to the hospital to endure a long recovery. After a period of physical therapy and emotional vacancy, Adonis is visited by Rocky who empathizes with him about the pressure of being a champion, advising him to maintain livelihood priorities. He accepts a rematch with Drago, and Rocky decides to confront his own fear of loss and prepares Adonis for the upcoming fight. Through inherent grit and Rocky’s motivational advice, Creed defeats Drago’s son, forcing Ivan Drago to throw in the towel out of fear for his son’s safety. Rocky, inspired to fix his own mistakes, finally decides to meet his grandson, and Creed savors his victory and his family as he talks to the tombstone of his father.
With chilling boxing sequences, impressive performances and some classic Rocky Balboa inspiration, Creed II delightfully exceeds sequel expectations. Comparing a sequel to it’s original may not always be a productive exercise, but nevertheless the new Creed contains the relationships, dialogue, and fight scenes that make the Rocky series so engaging. With Creed’s characters and point of view no longer being entirely new, parts of the sequel, like Drago’s callous Russian superiors, seem mildly predictable or overdone. Yet despite being the eighth movie in the Rocky series, Creed II manages to be nostalgic while introducing entirely original conflict. Each main character is multidimensional. Even Ivan Drago, the seemingly straight-laced bad guy, evokes some sort of sympathy, as he manipulates his son to regain the respect of his ex-wife and the Russian boxing community. Rocky and Adonis aren’t simply conflicted by the lingering tragedy of Apollo Creed’s death either. By accepting to train Adonis, Rocky is forced to confront his fear of loss: the same fear that caused him to isolate himself from his son and grandson. Adonis doesn’t want to fight to avenge his father, but because, like his father and Rocky, he’s a competitor. Moreover, while Coogler introduced stronger black representation into the Rocky franchise with Creed, Caple Jr. emphasizes the representation of black family life, with Adonis and Bianca getting engaged and experiencing the birth of their first child. You sympathize with Creed’s struggle to balance boxing and family, which in the classic Rocky form makes his climb from failure so inspirational.
From an audience’s perspective, this movie will make you want to do something productive. Not only because Drago and Michael B. Jordan are absolutely jacked, but because this movie never seems to stop being motivational. The entire theatre burst into excited applause when the Rocky theme song played towards the climax of Creed’s fight. The fight scenes are grimace-worthy, with slow-mo shots of the violent blows Creed endures and the thunderous sound of Drago’s fists. You feel the pain of the fight, which is what makes Adonis’ inherent toughness so enthralling. And who doesn’t love a Sylvester Stallone pep talk? You could give the man a TED talk about brushing teeth and soon everyone would be brushing their teeth four times a day while humming the Rocky theme song. Creed II will leave you satisfied as a moviegoer but unsatisfied with your gym routine. It’s an entirely engaging sequel of what, with Milo Ventimiglia playing Rocky’s son, we can hope will be a successful series in the future.
CREED II is in theaters Wednesday, November 21st
Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what’s worth fighting for, and discover that nothing’s more important than family. Creed II is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can’t escape your history.
Release Date: November 21, 2018
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris, Andre Ward, Florian “The Big Nasty” Munteanu, Dolph Lundgren, Russell Hornsby Writer: Sylvester Stallone
Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Distributor: MGM, Warner Bros. Pictures
Runtime: 120 minutes
Official Website: www.CreedTheMovie.com
Official Social Media Pages:
IMDB Page: @Creed2
Wiki Link: @Creed2
Eoin Goyette | Writing Contributor
B.A | Film & New Media Studies | UC Santa Barbara
Eoin has loved telling stories for his entire life, with his interests ranging from Swedish films to fantasy football reports. He is in his 2nd year studying Film & Media at UC Santa Barbara, where he’s a part of the honors program, Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, and many student film productions, including ones which he writes and directs himself. When he isn’t writing or watching movies, you can often catch him lost in train of thought, berating the TV during 49ers games, or shamelessly laughing at his own sarcasm. | Instagram @eoin_goyette| View My Blogs
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