Creed II

  • Directed by Steven Caple Jr.
  • November 14, 2018 (Lincoln Center) / November 21, 2018 (US)

Adonis Creed faces off against Ivan Drago’s son Viktor in the ring.

I was not big on Creed and truthfully have tepid feels on Creed II. Part of the problem for me with Creed as well as this film is that Creed is already good. He has nothing to prove to himself. He’s just gotta beat the other guy and show everybody that he is good. Rocky, on the other hand, always had to step up to the challenge and usually prove to himself. Victory was achieved not necessarily by winning, but rather by dealing with what was happening. Two very different things.

Michael B. Jordan does fine with his material but there’s nothing that really brings him to the level of Rocky. And I know this is supposed to be its own film series but considering its heavy connections to Rocky and the fact that Adonis refers to Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) as his uncle it is hard to ignore those connections. As a character, Adonis is not an underdog nor a champion of the people.

Tessa Thompson has minimal range in her acting. I’m really mystified by how she keeps getting significant parts. As Bianca in Creed II, the moments where she’s supposed to be excited (or should be anyway) she just gets kind of happy and the times when she’s supposed to be upset she gets no more than kind of bothered. And her expression never gets beyond bored/irritated to be there like it is all a nuisance.

Adonis and Bianca certainly come off as if they care about each other, but their relationship certainly doesn’t feel like it rises to the point of marriage or as passionate as their dialogue implies. As actors, those two have minimal chemistry. Rocky and Adrian on the other hand had strong chemistry right off the bat. Amazing chemistry. Adonis and Bianca get along well. Very well right off the bat. But they are no great romance.

Since Adonis fights Ivan Drago’s son Viktor (Florian Munteanu) we also get his pops Drago (Dolph Lundgren) making a comeback to the silver screen. The few elements directly between Drago and Rocky were very good moments. Rocky has clearly put things behind him as much as he can while Drago has not mostly because what happened in that ring ruined his life. And the tension between the two characters is palpable. Truly good stuff that teased a much better story than the main one.

Rocky and by extension Drago were ultimately unimportant to the narrative. Neither character needed to be present for events to unfold. Their presence simply serves to remind us that this is INDEED connected to the Rocky films, but that aspect is well served by the mentions of Apollo Creed’s legacy.

Adonis never feels like as strong of a character as Rocky did even at his worst portrayal. He talks a good game, but he is upset over a guy that killed a father he never knew and maybe that’s the problem. At least for me. There is no direct connection between Adonis and Apollo. He seems more upset that he got cut out of basking in the legacy and the life of his father. It’s not as if he ever knew him.

Adonis’s big personal issue is his baby with Bianca is born deaf and he needs to deal with that. But there really is little he can do other than wait and be upset. Being upset over this issue or his anger over Viktor or Ivan never becomes a challenge he must really deal with that builds the character. And you could be forgiven for not knowing that the baby’s deafness is a result of Bianca’s progressive hearing loss. Her issue is barely even touched on here.

The final fight uses bits and pieces of the Rocky music. Really? This is Creed II and not Rocky VII or VIII. Don’t be afraid to stand on your own if you’re going to minimize the character from which this all sprung. Otherwise you run the risk of being considered a pale imitation. I’m not saying this is that, but it certainly reminds the audience that this film is here because of another BETTER movie. 

This isn’t bad, but for me it is strongly overshadowed by the original Rocky films. And in my perception it tries to rap itself in those Rocky films rather than do its best to stand on its own. I know that may be difficult but by the inclusion of Rocky and a match between Drago’s son and the final bout taking place in Russia it just is so heavy handed in how it links up to Rocky IV alone.

And once again where are Creed’s other kids? I remember in Rocky II (I believe anyway) you actually saw some running around in the background at his house. At least they certainly seemed to be his children. Yet Mama Creed (Phylicia Rashad) doesn’t bring them up and neither does Adonis. That really bothers me.

The movie does occasionally remind you that Adonis Creed is not related to Mama Creed but that whole element does not really play into the story at all. Make it a bigger part of the story! Maybe delve into this image he has of his father compared to the realities of the man. Or something. Why introduce it if you are not going to use it?

Creed II is an okay movie that I feel is largely hampered by being attached to another and better set of films. I certainly would’ve appreciated it more if it was unrelated to the Rocky series. I can see its appeal, but it doesn’t have that appeal for me. I will give this an if you want. Personally, I think you should stick with a superior original Rocky series.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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