‘Creed II’ Review: A heartfelt sequel that takes us back to ‘Rocky IV’
The second installment in the ‘Creed’ franchise is not only wildly entertaining but also is a continuation of the epic storyline from ‘Rocky IV’.
While ‘Creed II’ is the sequel to the massive hit ‘Creed’ that came out in 2015, more than anything, it is the continuation of the ‘Rocky’ franchise making ‘Creed II’ the eighth installment. To say it’s hard to keep a story alive and fresh for this long is an understatement, however the team behind ‘Creed’ and ‘Creed II’ are able to do so with flying colors.
Starring Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson, ‘Creed II’ follows Adonis Creed after he wins the heavyweight championship. Things in his life have never been better, he is engaged and has a baby on the way and has everything he could ever want. However the one thing he sorely misses in life is his deceased father Apollo Creed, whom he is constantly trying to live up to.
It was in ‘Rocky IV’ that Adonis’ father Apollo Creed was killed in the ring by Russian fighter Ivan Drago. Rocky Balboa was Apollo’s trainer for the fight, and his friend carries around the massive guilt for letting Apollo take the fight that led to his death. Rocky then did what he could to make things right, which was to fight Drago and beat him in his own country. This then led to Drago being shunned by Russia and his wife leaving him and his son.
Cut to over twenty years later to ‘Creed II’, where the story comes full circle and Drago’s son Viktor challenges Adonis to fight for the world championship. While Viktor is meant to be the villain of the film, it’s really his father Ivan that’s the one pulling the strings, trying to regain the respect of his country through his son. Obviously a sore subject for Adonis, Ivan and Viktor taunt him until he breaks and agrees to fight Viktor.
Everyone that loves Adonis urges him not to take the fight in fear that history will repeat itself. With a baby on the way and a fiancé, Adonis has a lot to lose and what really is there to gain? Pride? Revenge? Not saying the choice for Adonis to take the fight was unrealistic, but it was selfish to the people he loves that need him around, including of course, his unborn child who could potentially live without a father like he did.
Rocky refuses to train Adonis - he simply cannot see what happened to his father happen to him. Adonis goes on with the fight and almost loses his life, and after months of recovery, he still feels he needs to fight Viktor to not just keep his title, but to also prove that he is just as good as his father was.
To find out if he succeeds, you will have to see the film, which is well worth the watch. Besides the main storyline of Creed vs. Drago, there are so many other layers of the film that make it great. The central theme of family is one that is beautifully conveyed and will even bring tears to audiences eyes. As opposed to the first ‘Creed’ and several of the other ‘Rocky’ films, ‘Creed II’ opens up its’ story to a wider audience that are looking for something more than just another movie about boxing.
Director Steven Caple Jr. replaced Ryan Cooglar (who did serve as one of the producers on the film), and many had their reservations due to his age and experience. Thankfully people had nothing to worry about, as Caple’s directing was fantastic, bringing different facets to the story. The performances were fantastic, especially Jordan who really seemed to grow as an actor between the two films. Additionally, Thompson was also superb, bringing a much needed female energy to the story.
‘Creed II’ lives up to the hype and it’s a film you will not want to miss. Make sure to check it out in theaters opening on November 21!