For my review of the previous film, click the following link: CREED (2015)
Here’s the cast. Michael B. Jordan (KIN , FANT4STIC , and the upcoming JUST MERCY ), Sylvester Stallone (GUARDIANS 2 , RATCHET & CLANK , EXPENDABLES , 2  and 3 , RAMBO , RAMBO III , FIRST BLOOD  and PART II , and upcoming films BACKTRACE  and RAMBO V: LAST BLOOD ), Tessa Thompson (SORRY TO BOTHER YOU , THOR 3 , and upcoming films MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL  and PASSING ), Dolph Lundgren (HAIL, CAESAR! , and upcoming films AQUAMAN  and MALEVOLENCE ), and Florian Munteanu (feature film debut; congrats, sir).
In support, we have Phylicia Rashad (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of), Russell Hornsby (THE HATE U GIVE  and FENCES ), Brigitte Nielsen (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and upcoming films ADI SHANKAR’S GODS AND SECRETS  and THE EXPERIENCE ), and Milo Ventimiglia (THE DIVIDE , ROCKY BALBOA , and upcoming films SECOND ACT  and THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN ).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Steven Caple Jr., known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Co-writing the screenplay are Stallone (Rambo and Rocky movies, and the upcoming RAMBO V) and Juel Taylor (writing debut; congrats, miss). One of the producers is Ryan Coogler, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Composing the score is Ludwig Göransson, known for VENOM (2018), EVERYTHING (2017), and CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE (2016). The cinematographer is Kramer Morgenthau, known for DARKEST MINDS (2018), REBEL IN THE RYE (2017), TERMINATOR GENISYS (2015), and THOR: DARK WORLD (2013). Finally, there are three editors: Dana E. Glauberman (FATHER FIGURES ), Saira Haider (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of), and Paul Harb (MAZE RUNNER 3 ).
Already saw the flick, so lets get to it.
This is my honest opinion of: CREED II
Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) has climbed to the top as the new champion and celebrates his fame and glory by proposing to Bianca (Tessa Thompson), to which she says yes. However, the celebration gets its hitch in the form of Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), the man who killed Adonis’ father, Apollo Creed, so many years ago, and Viktor is looking to fight and bring honor and glory back to the Dragos. Despite Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) saying that he won’t win and stepping away to not see Adonis get hurt, Adonis accepts the challenge only to prove Rocky right. Though Adonis doesn’t officially lose the match, he’s rendered hospitalized.
Yup, this was just as good as the first movie. I don’t think it’s better, but it’s got some great stuff in it.
One of the first things that I really enjoyed was just how funny Jordan can be. When he’s trying to work up the nerve to ask Bianca to marry him, he’s pacing around the room like a crazy person, drinking a crap load of champagne, it’s all way too cute. And the cherry on this sundae of charm, he’s on his knee, ready to propose to her as she walks out of the bathroom, and when she opens the door to see the ring, she almost immediately slams the door on his face. Finally, she exclaims, “Quit playin’!” Because, of course that’s how you react to a proposal. Of course she says yes by the end of the scene, but the comedic beats are so on point that it’s arguably the funniest scene in the movie.
In fact, I think Adonis has some great character this go-round. I think both Adonis and Rocky, when they initially go their separate ways, have some legit reasons for their attitudes toward each other. For Adonis, Rocky has been about the closest thing to a father that he’s had. His lack of a father figure his whole life has clearly caused him to have some pent up anger, hence the boxing. So when Rocky walks out on him, showing him zero support for the fight against Viktor, Adonis doesn’t take it well. It’s almost like he’s reverting back to being a little kid by crying out, “I don’t need him!” On Rocky’s side, he knows what Ivan is capable of. He knows the level of lethal brutality that he can bring. He’s not a man that plays by the rules and suspects that Viktor was raised to be more or less the exact same way. To make matters worse, he’s still scarred by the death of his best friend at the hands of that very man, who seems to be 100 percent apathetic to what he did, which clearly scares him and is scared for Adonis, but knows that he isn’t actually his son and can’t be as assertive with what he should or shouldn’t do with him, or knows him enough to know that this was going to happen and it’s all in God’s hands. While I certainly could say that I didn’t appreciate Adonis being so childish by actually saying, “I don’t need him!” I can definitely sat that it’s a bit more justified here than most movies.
We should all be a little honest here, the humor in this movie is almost too good and gets some seriously strong laugh out loud moments. I think another favorite laugh I got was when Adonis and Bianca were having dinner with his mom Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad). They’re about to tell her that he’s going to fight Viktor, but then surprises everyone when she remarks that Bianca is pregnant. She of course denies it, taking a sip of wine, but then takes a beat, spits out the wine back in the glass, and DOUBLE TWIST, she’s actually pregnant! Seriously, gotta respect veteran mamas for calling shit out even before the young bloods even know. This was a great little scene.
But, get your pitchforks and torches ready because I am about to dish a little dismay toward the film.
Here’s my biggest problem with the movie, and it’s going to sound incredibly familiar with my rant against BLACK PANTHER. I feel like the characters weren’t pushed as far as they could go. Okay, so why was it so important for Adonis to fight Viktor? According to him during the scene where he and Rocky make up, he says… “I was afraid that I wouldn’t live up to all of this” referring to all the trophies and pictures of Apollo. That seemed… really thin and kind of disappointing to me. Another aspect that I am growing to dislike more in these movies is that there’s a clear and precise bad guy. In 2018? Really? Come on, now. And to make things just a bit more confusing, the bad guys are attempted to be given humanity.
Okay, so here me out. Let me tell you what I would have changed, and you tell me how you would feel about it. What if Viktor didn’t actually care about fighting Adonis? What if he didn’t care about going back to Russia? What if he was perfectly content in Ukraine and he’s only a boxer and doing what he does because his father hasn’t given him anything else to want? What if on that fateful day that they fight, he basically comes out and says, “Hey man, I don’t hate you, this feud has nothing to do with us,” something like that. Or, maybe his only real desire to fight Adonis is to win back favor with his mother who abandoned him. He still doesn’t much care about the country that abandoned him, but he does miss his mom. Actually, come to think of it, if the camera had been on Viktor a little bit more and gave him a real arc, this could have potentially been in the movie anyway. Moving on though. Question, why is Adonis so eager to fight Viktor and not Ivan himself? Yes, yes, old and washed-out man versus younger, far stronger boxer, of course Adonis would win. Still, Adonis should be bloodthirsty for Ivan’s blood, not Viktor. Viktor had nothing to do with Apollo’s death. If he beats Viktor in the ring, does that somehow avenge his father? So I was thinking that Adonis would make an attempt to really hurt Viktor, break his back, or something, anything to take just one more thing away from Ivan, but ultimately loses the match anyway. This would still keep with the theme that Adonis “wasn’t in the right head space,” and had something more relatable to mentally work with and overcome. So by the time the rematch comes along, the two men have mutual respect for each other, they’ve both put the past behind them, and all that matters is the match and see who the best fighter is. Nothing more.
Finally, I got a few issues with the rematch. Don’t worry, I won’t give anything major away, but… I mean, this isn’t CITIZEN KANE, y’all. This isn’t some masterwork film. It’s a boxing movie. It’s probably going to end exactly like you think it will. Anyway, can I ask, how did fight go eight rounds and Viktor never once went for Adonis’ broken ribs? Wouldn’t you think that would have been a borderline magnet for the homicidal boxer? I mean, even naturally? Just… that’s where boxers punch. Really? Ivan had to instruct Viktor to go for the ribs? Also, who was watching Adonis and Bianca’s baby? I would have guessed Mary Anne was taking care of him, but she was sitting right there with Bianca in the bleachers, and that baby wasn’t in either of their arms. No seriously, where the hell was that baby?!
Overall, I think this movie has more than a few great moments. It has legit emotions, solid character building, wonderful humor, just about everything that a good boxing drama would need. Of course, I have a few issues with how far the characters could have been pushed, but they barely negate how well this movie was put together. As a recommendation, hell yeah I recommend it. I don’t know if you should expect anything amazing, but it’s a damn fine film. Just like Rocky wasn’t a one-hit wonder, neither is Creed.
My honest rating for CREED II: a strong 4/5
This week’s reviews:
Next week’s reviews:
- ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE
- THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE
- HEAD FULL OF HONEY
- TODOS LO SABEN / EVERYBODY KNOWS