Years after Adonis Creed made a name for himself under Rocky Balboa's mentorship, the young boxer becomes the Heavyweight Champion of the World. While life is good with that victory and his marriage to Bianca, trouble comes to Philadelphia when Ivan Drago, the Russian boxer who killed Adonis' father, Apollo, arrives with his son, Viktor, to challenge Adonis. Against Rocky's advice, Adonis accepts the challenge without his mentor's participation and pays the price in a punishing bout he wins only by a technicality. Now injured and demoralized, Adonis cannot bring himself to back into the game, leaving his spirit and title in jeopardy. Together, Adonis' family and Rocky must find a way to rekindle Adonis' fighting spirit to face the future in whatever choice he makes. Meanwhile, the Drago family have its own troubles trying to regain the respect in their homeland that they lost at Rocky's hands as they wonder whether is it truly worth it.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
First time in the Rocky/Creed franchise since Rocky IV (1985) that a new entry in the series is released only 3 years after its predecessor. Rocky V was 5 years after Rocky IV, Rocky Balboa (2006) was 16 years after Rocky V, and Creed (2015) was 9 years after Rocky Balboa. See more »
During the last fight, Bianca's hair changes. She has her in two braids, in some shots the braids are all one color in others you can see colored highlights in the braids. See more »
Ryan Coogler's deft touch could have made this great
The best moments of 'Rocky/Creed' movies are the ones that make you feel something. Creed II contains a few of those-perhaps not as many as you'd like but a few.
Adonis "Donny" Creed (Michael B. Jordan) and Bianca (Tessa Thompson) continue to share charming, effortless chemistry, leading to a few of those moving moments. Other moments come ringside when Donny and Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) exchange motivating words as the music swells, our pulses rise, and we slide to the edges of our seats. These moments are present in Creed II, but they don't pack the same punch as they have at their best, like in the first 'Creed' or 'Rocky.' There's something missing in the buildup and execution of these moments, and I suspect that that something is the delicate touch of director Ryan Coogler and the originality of first film in the series.
Being the seventh film in this franchise, Creed II faced an uphill battle in the originality department. By now, we all know the beats and how the story arch is likely to play out. But this story felt like it should have been the first and most obvious one pitched in the writer's room and one that should not have been the final choice. It's tricky to describe what I mean without mentioning spoilers, so suffice it to say that we've seen this story before, and we all could have seen it coming this time. The story is made of 99% recycled material, which is something I like in plastic and paper products but not in movies.
On top of the major issues with the plot, there are a few puzzling details, like why is Rocky so poor? He was the heavyweight champion of the world for nearly a decade, Philadelphia made a huge statue of him, and he is instantly recognized by adoring fans on a regular basis, yet for some reason, no one has any interest in his restaurant. Rocky, hire a manager! You could be raking in millions each year if you had someone helping you out.
Another issue, and this one seems more pressing, is the confusing struggle that Donny has to find his motivation for the fight against Viktor Drago. Drago is the top contender in the world, and Donny is the heavyweight champion of the world. Drago is talking mountains of trash. Drago's dad killed Donny's dad in the ring. Those are all great reasons for Donny to want to fight him. I don't see the struggle.
Fortunately, Michael B. Jordan is one of the most charismatic and energetic performers we currently have in Hollywood. His vivacity infuses the tired story with enough life to get by, and he absolutely pulls off all the training montages, even though he spends half his time doing neck curls, for some reason.
In the end, we have the fight everyone wants. It's satisfying enough despite the mixed message that it sends about not giving up but also knowing when to throw in the towel because you're dangerously injured and could literally die in the ring. We live in a world where we know the dangers of concussions in sports and the devastating long-term damage that they have on the lives of athletes. I find it hard to ignore, which makes these brutal fights a little bit tougher to watch, and it makes the victory celebrations a little less sweet because the only way to really win is to retire healthy.
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