So I spent far too long debating just starting with the lyrics to a Creed song. But then I realized Creed II kinda speaks for itself. Its literally a 7th sequel to an 80’s series. The second of the spin-off series that is just a continuation too. Its all weird enough. And then the last one was really freaking good! So honestly, going into Creed II I was kinda excited. I mean I have family in Philly, so its in my blood. So let’s get down to it.
Creed II is the continuing life of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) and Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Adonis is of course the son of Apollo Creed who was killed by Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) in Rocky IV. Well, Ivan is back and he has a son, Viktor (Florian Munteanu) and he too is a boxer. They’ve been waiting for Adonis to win the Heavy Weight Championship, which he does at the start of the film, and as such they come to America to challenge him.
I have to give credit to director Steven Caple Jr because he had a big mantle to take from Ryan Coogler. He also had a script that was pretty much the Rocky I, II, III, and IV compressed. That’s not to say the story is bad, but its the weakest part as it really doesn’t feel like it treads any new ground at all. But Caple really elevates it by handling his actors and the scenes really well. He also works well with Kramer Morgenthau who also had big shoes to fill when they took on the role of cinematographer. But seriously, this film is gorgeous and both deserve a lot of praise for that. Honestly. the film only suffers otherwise because of the quality of Creed being so hard to live up to that you can see where this is just a little less. That’s really barely an issue in my books though.
Another place Creed II shines is just how good the cast is. Jordan was always talented, but he really has such range he has to play here, and he kills every one of his scenes. Then there’s Stallone. Man, its so easy for people to write the guy off for the way he talks being hard to understand, and for him milking his franchises. But damn if he isn’t a talented actor. And as a character he’s been playing since the 70’s, he makes this character real and so heartfelt. I also need to praise Lundgren who really came out here to show he’s got it. He still plays Drago as the cold machine, but has some great subtleties that develop the character. The film really makes the Dragos more than just villains, though Munteanu doesn’t present much. I’d love a movie focusing on them. I don’t want to drag on too much, but I also just need to mention Tessa Thompson and Phelicia Rashad. These two have some amazing scenes that really are major to this movie and show just how much of an amazing talent both are.
Creed II is seriously just a downright amazingly good film. I didn’t even get into how good the boxing scenes are, but they serve some of the best in the franchise. Between gorgeous cinematography and stellar acting this film really outdoes its minor issues. Would it be nice for a more original plot next time? Sure. But overcoming a tried and true plot is honestly done with ease here.