That next round is always a little more difficult than you ever expect…
For better or for worse, Creed II pretty well follows the beats of the franchise that you’d expect along the lines of a Rocky sequel (of which this of course is). It’s an entertaining and well executed affair that allows the characters to evolve in a natural way but there’s nothing here that is going to reinvent the movie going wheel as this is basically the cinematic equivalent of comfort food.
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. It’s a reminder that you can’t escape your history especially when you want to be embraced as a champion.
Creed II leans into everything that we as fans really do ask for from material like this because as much as we hate to admit that lightening will very rarely strike twice we just have to be happy when something that we love and are emotionally invested in just doesn’t get fucked up.
With director Steven Caple Jr taking over the reins from Ryan Coogler (who remains as an executive producer) everything plays out in a decent enough fashion from beginning to end but with a universe like this where everything is already established the only thing that the director really needs to do is make sure that the movie never goes after the rails, and Caple Jr is a steady enough hand to keep the car pointed down the road in the right direction. The script which has a few too many cooks in the kitchen on it (including co-star Stallone himself) is reasonably solid as all the characters feel like they’ve been make a certain degree of natural evolution in the time that we haven’t seen them. However, the real problem is that ultimately no matter what they throw at us on the screen it all comes across as variations on a theme. Nothing is bad, but we’ve seen all these beats play out before and there’s not a genuine surprise in the narrative because to be quite frank, movies like this aren’t necessarily about the destination that we get taken to but about the character we are riding with along the way.
Michael B Jordan has a real strong sense of the character that is Adonis Creed and it plays out even more this time around. He’s hit the pinnacle of his talents and is riding on top of the world but he still has this monkey on his back and a part of his history that he needs to resolve so that he can truly evolve into the person that he needs and was destined to be.
Jordan rides the line between confidence and allowing that to co-exist with a fragile ego from an upbringing and events that scarred and ultimately defined him which is why it makes so much sense that we see the reintroduction of Drago and we finally get some sort of resolution to that story, not only for Jordan’s character but also for Stallone who reprises as Rocky. It’s the one part of the dynamic between these two characters that is always there and it had to come to a head eventually.
Stallone wisely takes the character down a quieter road and lets Jordan as Creed take the lead, because it’s his story now and this narrative makes sense. Dolph Lundgren and Florian Munteanu as the Drago’s (father and son) had a presence but their parts were just a little underdeveloped and it would have been nice to see their back story fleshed out just a little bit more. The rest of the supporting players are solid as Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad came back and did well but the key element of it all is between Rocky and Adonis and how they need to let go of the death of Apollo and how they all came together.
At the end of the day Creed II works because it allows the whole arc of the Rocky universe to feel like we’re getting a certain degree of closure to the circle. Sure it plays into the beats of the franchise in a predictable fashion but it does so in a fashion to allow us feel satisfied with how it’s all played out. I know I’m making this feel like it’s an ending to the franchise but it isn’t, it’s just an acceptance how we evolve and move through the moments that define us and make us who we are.
- Genre: Drama, Sports
- Release Date: 11/21/2018
- Directed by: Steven Caple Jr
- Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone
Comments are closed.