Creed II Review

Creed II - Dolby Cinema Poster

At the start of filming, no one expected that Creed would be such a terrific and emotional film. After all, it’s a spin-off of a franchise that hasn’t had a good film in years. So it’s no surprise that MGM and Warner Bros made the decision to greenlight the sequel. Unfortunately, Ryan Coogler won’t be in charge this time around. So is Creed II able to replicate the magic that its predecessor had without Coogler at the helm?

Not quite. The film fails to reach the level of Creed through its unfocused storyline and stale moments. However, the film is still an inspirational and crowd-pleasing film. After all, this is still a Rocky film.

Creed II follows Adonis Creed on his way to becoming the world heavyweight champion. However, an infamous name from his father’s past has come from the shadows to challenge him—both mentally and physically.

Creed II - Sylvester Stallone & Michael B. Jordan

Much of the reason why Creed II isn’t as good is because of the sequel’s predictable storyline. If you’ve ever seen a Rocky film then you know what’s going to happen. It’s not a total shock since the writer Sylvester Stallone has used this formula in the past Rocky films. However, the film does more than follow the same formula. Creed II takes several storylines from Rocky III and IV and blends them together.

Unfortunately, this mixture doesn’t blend very well as the film tends to go off on several different tangents. These tangents are simply there to break Adonis down both mentally and physically. However, the tangents convolute the plot to the point where the film teases certain character moments but never goes anywhere with them. This is due to the fact that the other side characters and villains are cast aside in order to focus on the Adonis.

Be that as it may, fans will find themselves doing something that they never thought they’d do: Feel sorry for the Dragos. The film does an impeccable job on making Ivan and Viktor Drago sympathetic characters. This is the man who everyone hated after he killed Apollo Creed. Now, we get to feel compassion for him. It’s quite a feat. Unfortunately, it did its job TOO well. Creed II set up the Dragos so well that they became more sympathetic than Adonis Creed.

Creed II - Florian Munteanu & Dolph Lundgren

As you can imagine, the Dragos are multi-layered characters without uttering a ton of dialogue. As a matter of fact, Ivan, Viktor, and Adonis are the only characters that have solid character arcs. This, unfortunately, includes Bianca. Although Tessa Thompson has a meatier role this time around, her character’s storyline feels more like a supporting character storyline than a main character’s.

Despite all of the story issues, the boxing choreography is hard-hitting. It’s not as dynamic as the first film, but you can feel every punch in the fight. In addition, Creed II feels more like a finale than the second part of a trilogy. All of the world building done in the first film is cast aside within the first thirty minutes of the film. From then on, Creed II begins to tie up loose ends from the original film and ties it up in a nice little bow.

Michael B. Jordan gives it his absolute all in this film. Not only does he bring physicality to the role but he’s able to show such a wide range of emotions as well. Not surprising considering he’s the only character that goes through the most in the film. Tessa Thompson is typically a better actor but she completely phones it in here. Her performance is just so wooden and stale. Sylvester Stallone has always been likable as Rocky Balboa and continues that in Creed II. Sadly, Stallone doesn’t have as impactful of a performance this time around.

Dolph Lundgren and Florian Munteanu barely have any lines in the film but they show enough emotion for us to care about them. However, Munteanu does look a bit goofy when he shows emotions through facial expressions.

Overall, Creed II is an average and formulaic follow-up to a fantastic film. Nevertheless, it’s still a Rocky film. Thus, it’s still an inspirational and crowd-pleasing film from beginning to end. Fans of the franchise will definitely love this film too. Just don’t come in expecting that it’s as good as the first film.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

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