Creed was a total surprise. No one expected that a film adjunct to the series of Rocky films would be any good. Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler proved everyone wrong. While that first one was an unlikely success you really had to double down when you heard they were making another. They couldn’t fool us a second time by making a boxing film that was actually good…or could they…
Just when life seems to be on the upswing a big Russian bump in the road appears for boxer Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan – Black Panther, Fantastic Four). He has just won the World Heavyweight title and his girlfriend Bianca (Tessa Thompson – Annihilation, Thor: Ragnarock) has just accepted his proposal. Though not planned, Adonis and Bianca also find out she is pregnant.
It is all sunshine and lollipops then two large Russians arrive in Philadelphia. They are Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren – Rocky IV, Universal Soldier), the man who killed Adonis’ father, and his son Viktor (Florian Munteanu – first feature film) and they are looking for a fight. They are there to challenge Adonis to a fight with Viktor. Against Rocky’s advice Adonis takes the fight with the mind of honouring his late father’s memory.
In a vicious fight, Viktor wins, but Adonis maintains his title on a technicality. But physically and emotionally he is a wreck. For months he does not train at all. Even after he has physically recovered. Not only is his title in jeopardy, but Viktor wants another fight. His family and Rocky need to find a way to communicate with him that they are on his side no matter what his decision is.
Creed II is directed by Steven Caple Jr. (The Land), someone who has focused mostly on television and shorts up to this point in his career. This is definitely his first big budget film. And yet he is a part of the “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…” team. Once again the film is highly watchable. Now, they don’t do anything special here except have Brigitte Nielsen turn in a cameo where she utters not one word, but that is a discussion for another time. The story is a simple one. The action is solid, but not spectacular. And the boxing scenes are nothing that we have not seen before. Yet, the film is good. Magic!
Part of the watchability factor is definitely Michael B. Jordan. The man can do no wrong, it seems. Throughout his career he has turned in varied and magnetic performances. Whether he is the bad guy in Black Panther, a young man who on New Year’s Eve decides he needs to change his life in Fruitvale Station, a young man in the projects in televsion’s The Wire or a football player on television’s Friday Night Lights the guy is a star! For me the only head scratcher was his time on soap opera All My Children. He is able to bring a depth to whichever character he takes on without the aide of much dialogue. You feel what is going on in his characters’ hearts and minds. Brings a understanding to his characters that is not attainable by many actors.
Once again, like Rocky before it, the film taps into the public’s love for the underdog. This time it is even though Adonis is the champ. We still seem as the guy who is not supposed to win against the behemoth of a Russian boxer. All the odds are stack against him. We even doubt for a time that he is going to get back into the ring. We applaud his courage when he does. Root for him and see ourselves in his struggle for identity and self-worth.
-The Rocky Legacy
-From Father to Son, Blood Runs Hot
-The Women of Creed II
-Finding the Authentic