Creed II

Movie Review

Guess what everyone? I went and saw “Creed II,” which came out three days ago, this morning with my brother. Tonight, I will let everyone know what I thought about it.

The amount of legacy is high over “Creed II.” Not only for most of the characters, who must come to terms with their own family histories, but also for the filmmakers, who is told to make a sequel to a successful spinoff on a famous franchise. It would put any film on the line, but not this one.

“Creed II” does a really amazing job by adding to the story of its predecessor and launching the story into a bright future while also going back to pay tribute to previous films, bringing back some unfinished business from “Rocky IV” and adding a bit of “Rocky III.” In every way, the sequel might be just on par, if not better, then the previous film.

Steven Caple Jr. replaced Ryan Coogler as the director this time but there is a lot of continuity: Michael B. Jordan reprises Adonis Creed with Sylvester Stallone with him as former heavyweight champion and trainer Rocky Balboa. We also have Tessa Thompson as Creed’s now fiancé, Phylicia Rashad as Creed’s mom and Wood Harris as Tony “Little Duke” Evers, Adonis’s coach. Max Kellerman is back again as the color commentator and Andre Ward is Danny “Stuntman” Wheeler.

The sequel puts Creed against wrecking-machine Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of Ivan Drago, who killed Adonis’s father, Apollo Creed, in the ring in “Rocky IV.” This really saddens Rocky, who feels responsible for Apollo’s death. Rocky avenged the death by winning a match against Ivan Drago but we also find out what that lost meant for him. Associated Press said in their review, “This film is about ghosts as much as it is a meditation on fatherhood. At one point Kellerman says the showdown between the sons of Creed and Drago is almost like a Shakespearian drama and — laugh if you must — it feels sort of right here.”

Associated Press went on to say, “Desire — or lack of it — plays a key role in “Creed II” since we meet young Adonis as the new champion, at the top. Viktor Drago is at the bottom, hauling cement in Ukraine and burning for family redemption.” “My son will break your boy,” Ivan Drago threatens Rocky, who somewhat agrees. “When a fighter’s got nothing to lose he’s dangerous,” he warns Creed. “Listen, that kid was raised in hate. You weren’t.” Dolph Lundgren returns as Ivan Drago and there’s even a cameo by Brigitte Nielsen, who played Drago’s wife in “Rocky IV” and was actually married to Stallone. (Now that is all in the family. Speaking of which, expect another cameo from Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Rocky’s son, Robert Balboa.) Ivan and Viktor are getting help from their boxing promoter, Buddy Marcelle, played by Russel Hornsby.

Associated Press noted, “Caple matches Coogler’s moody, gritty vision of a brutal sport conducted by mostly honourable men trying to outwit each other. There’s plenty of gore, slo-mos of smashed heads and “Rocky” trademarks — the glorious montages with uplifting music as fighters prepare for their shot in the ring. (Prepare to look away if you are fans of massive truck tires — many get horrible beat downs.)”

Stallone is one of the writers on the script – after having a part in writing all the “Rocky” films but not writing “Creed” – and partners with Cheo Hodario Coker, creator of the Netflix superhero show “Luke Cage.” Onscreen, Stallone returns with his black hat and small bouncing ball, walking around and speaking silently, allowing his expressions to do most of the talking. I agree with Associated Press when they said, “It’s in the small moments between crusty Stallone and cocky Jordan where the film finds its sweet spot.” “What are you fightin’ for?” Rocky asks Adonis.

Associated Press said, “Jordan proves again that he’s a film force to be reckoned with, capable of searing and savage intensity and yet also goofy softness. This time, his swagger is tested and he must overcome intense pain and anguish.” Watching him stand up when knocked down again and again will make even the ones not familiar with the sport or the franchise shout. As Adonis, he wants to create his own legacy different from his father’s: “This is our chance to rewrite history. Our history,” Creed tells Rocky.

Associated Press mentioned, “Thompson and Rashad both temper the piles of testosterone onscreen as women who steer and guide the young Adonis.” Thompson’s character is fighting severe hearing loss and that is done well by the writers. There’s even a moment when Adonis is punched so hard that he falls silently and looks over to her, both looking for a moment in sheer silence.

Meanwhile, the filmmakers are making their own family legacy. Both “Creed” films have the same composer (Ludwig Goransson) art director (Jesse Rosenthal), special effects coordinator (Patrick White), costumer (Rita Squitiere) and location manager (Patricia Taggart). The films even have the same barber for Michael B. Jordan (Kenny Duncan) and Coogler didn’t completely leave, as he’s an executive producer.

However, despite that “Creed III” seems quite inevitable, there may be trouble ahead if the filmmakers want to keep bringing back old enemies and diving into story lines from previous movies. Associated Press noted, “And the creep toward more cinematic bombast needs to be watched vigilantly (remember how nuts the last few “Rocky” films got?)” Having that said, this spin-off franchise looks to be riding strong – ones that are nicely secured, protected by a boxing glove and going for the knockout.

This is another one of the best theater experiences that I have had in a long time. Just like the first “Creed,” people were getting into the match like they were watching a real boxing match. Someone was whispering, “Get up Adonis” and were applauding everytime Adonis knocked Viktor to the mat. It was all shot realistically, that I wouldn’t be surprised if Jordan and Munteanu were actually making contact when they were fighting. I felt every punch that was made. Also, it had some great comedy and some real legitimate family drama. Boxers actually go through everything you see Adonis go through. Definitely see this movie, it’s an absolute must, especially if you loved the first one. I say it is on par with the first.

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