One of the big missed for me last fall was not getting into a theatre to see Creed II. I loved the first film, starring Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson and Sylvester Stallone, and directed by Ryan Coogler when it was released back in 2015. It managed to push the classic Rocky franchise forward in a way that felt genuine. Time wasn’t on my side, but I finally had a chance to catch up this weekend, and I’m glad I finally did.
While Creed director Ryan Coogler didn’t return for this outing, instead serving as executive producer, Steven Caple Jr. does an admirable job continuing the story of Adonis Creed on his way to the World Heavyweight Championship and a showdown with Viktor Drago (Florian “Big Nasty” Munteanu), the son of Rocky IV protagonist Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren).
The movie, written by Stallone and Juel Taylor, could have been a simple retelling of a previous entry in the Rocky franchise, but there’s genuinely bigger things at play; mainly, family relationships. Not just the obvious fathers and son, but husbands and wives, and mothers and sons, and the burden of expectations, both spoken and un.
All the performers do an exceptional job in Creed II. Michael B Jordan and Tess Thompson continue their incredible rise to the top of the young Hollywood superstars. The two of them have a natural chemistry onscreen that make them so compelling to watch together. Meanwhile, Stallone still shines as Rocky Balboa; the character fits him like a well-worn glove that still manages to keep the warmth in. Meanwhile, director Caple Jr. nails some seriously solid and bone-breaking fight scenes, ones that I had a visceral reaction to when watching.
Ultimately, while there are numerous callbacks to Rocky IV, as you’d expect, Creed II manages to be its own fighting machine, echoing but far from reliant on the past.
You can order Creed II on Blu-ray now.