The Rocky franchise has never been about any surprising twist in the tale or about the technicalities of boxing. It has always been deeply emotional going into the psyche of the fighter in the limelight in each film. And the fight was never limited to the arena as the real-life conflicts of the characters made it more real and raw. The reason why Creed worked was that it also explored the person Adonis Creed was. With Creed 2, Steven Caple Jr. also maintains that humane texture of the story and along with Stallone as the writer he has created one more emotional movie that has all the right to be in the franchise.
So after losing the match and winning the hearts last time, Adonis Creed is now a sensation and he goes on to become the world heavyweight champion. Back in Russia, his father’s rival Ivan Drago is preparing his son Viktor Drago to challenge Creed. Ultimately the venue is set for one more face-off between a Creed and a Drago. The movie is about this iconic fight where both parties have huge emotional baggage in their hearts.
A big reason why this movie works (and almost all of the Rocky/ Creed films) is because of the human factor. The two hours plus movie will most probably have only half an hour of actual boxing. But how it gives those fights a meaning through the background circumstances is what makes it a memorable and influencing movie. Rocky Balboa initially denies coaching D as he felt that the nothing to lose scenario of the Dragos can be a problem. And at the end, even though it is a Drago Vs Creed fight that you will know who will win, there is a sense of empathy that you will feel for both of them as you can sense why they were fighting in the ring. The parallel fights of both these characters outside the arena create such an impact that the predictability of the story never bothers you.
Michael B Jordan reprises the role of Adonis Creed. He manages to show the insecurities of the character in the beginning very naturally. The deterministic shift in the latter half of the movie was also portrayed earnestly by him. There are no major shifts in Rocky Balboa’s character played by Sylvester Stallone. He is calmer and sorted and has that composure of a man who has seen it all. Tessa Thompson as Bianca also has a very well written character arc which she has performed very naturally. Dolph Lundgren returns as Ivan Drago and Florian Munteanu plays the role of Viktor Drago. They both start off as these huge killing machines and eventually, the movie manages to show them as those disheartened human beings who also want to prove something. Phylicia Rashad who played the role of a mature and strong Mary Anne also deserves a mention.
Steven Caple Jr. replaces Ryan Coogler this time in the director’s chair and he hasn’t done any harm to the texture and grammar of the franchise. The screenplay is really elaborate about the personal equations of each character. If you look at it closely, there is a good amount of time that is spent to show us the conversation between D and Rocky, D and B, D and his mother, and Ivan and Viktor. Because of that the audience is not merely sitting there to see Drago getting beaten up by Creed. We sort of sense and feel the journey of each of those characters. The previous movies had that motivating vibe in them and this one was never disappointing in that aspect as well. The female characters here have a really good role to play in the evolvement of Creed and the humaneness of the story largely works because of their presence. The background score is just perfect. The visuals also play a key role in setting the mood. There was a wonderful imagery of Adonis holding his baby with the backdrop having Apollo Creed’s image surrounded by boxing equipment and that visual in my opinion was basically showing a lineup of fighters. The fight sequences are real and authentic.
Creed 2 is a truly impressive sequel and has all the qualities to be in the Rocky universe. With characters getting explored in depth with all the flaws and vulnerabilities, I would say it has the quality to cheer you up if you are also facing some sort of music in life.
With characters getting explored in depth with all the flaws and vulnerabilities, I would say it has the quality to cheer you up if you are also facing some sort of music in life.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended