Creed II Review: A worthy sequel that is both vicious and heartwarming in nature.
The Rocky series is undoubtedly one of the most inspirational film series in the industry and it only continued once Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky left the ring and Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed entered to live up to his boxing name. Thankfully, Creed II continues this trend with a bout that not only settles a long-awaited score, but also is highly entertaining to see unfold.
Coming out of the shadows after hearing of Adonis’ rise to success, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) now brings his son Viktor (Florian Munteanu) into a mix of revenge and redemption to challenge Adonis Creed (Jordan). With Adonis looking at this challenge by Drago as a chance to avenge his father Apollo (Carl Weathers) as Ivan killed him in the ring. Now with this impending fight, both Creed and Rocky Balboa (Stallone) must reconcile with past demons and work together so that history doesn’t repeat itself in the ring.
Drago coming back could’ve easily just been a retread of his original appearance in Rocky IV, and for some parts it kind of is, but seeing things from Drago’s point of view not only make Creed II to a worthy sequel for Adonis, but also for both Rocky and Drago. Seeing how Drago has basically been hardened by losing to Rocky and having been abandoned by his country as a result really adds some context for him to have redemption.
This anger has transferred perfectly to Viktor and this is fully displayed by the incredible intimidation and force that is felt from Munteanu’s performance. Viktor, honestly, might not only be scarier than his father, but also might be the scariest opponent in the entire series as he punch he throws will strike fear in every viewer is so powerful that many might think he could decapitate Creed with a single strike.
Creed is also given some more special light as we get to see his relationship with Bianca develop as they begin to start a family and his own struggles to live up to his father’s legacy. There’s some truly emotionally gripping moments with Adonis and Bianca not only having to deal with his father’s past making their present a struggle and complications with their new child. It’s truly great to see and really makes this story feel way more impactful and more than just a straightforward sequel.
However, the best parts of the film come from Stallone as Balboa as he continues to shows why Rocky is one of the greatest characters in film history. His more personable attitude and desire to just do what’s right is a perfect opposite for Adonis’ more cocky and dominant attitude and helping him stay in the right mindset. Seeing him on-screen immediately brings a smile to anyone’s face and having him deal with both issues in his past and deal with the choices he has made makes his appearance feel much more than just a usual appearance.
There’s also a great attention to detail this time around as there are some great returning characters and actors that help tie the story together well and feel truly surprising. The sound design is also well executed with each punch feeling like bombs being dropped and each fight feels a little more gruesome and dire this time around.
However, I was missing Ryan Coogler’s direction from the original as his use of long shots in the original made you feel like you are in the ring. This time around the fights are shot with much special care and it slightly detracts from how great these scenes could be.
As a whole, Creed II is everything you could want in a sequel and more. It breathes new life into the Rocky series and brings on a new fight that’s both heartbreaking and incredible to watch. I think it’s finally safe to say that the Creed series has earned its respect in its own right and stands highly as a dominant force in sports films.