Review: ‘Creed II’ Is A Fitting Addition To The ‘Rocky’ Franchise

Creed II Michael B Jordan Sylvester Stallone Rocky Balboa Adonis Creed

The Rocky franchise is considered as one of the greatest in movie history. The first Rocky film spawned sequel after sequel, and while not all of them were great, they will live on having some of the best moments in Pop Culture history. After Rocky V, the franchise seemed finished. That was until visionary director Ryan Coogler delivered a pitch that featured the son of Rocky foe-turned-friend Apollo Creed.

The first Creed film was garnered with critical acclaim. It even went on to get nominated for several awards and Sylvester Stallone was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The studio green-lit a sequel for Creed, but then it was announced that Ryan Coogler couldn’t helm it due to his current obligations directing Marvel’s Black Panther and Stephen Caple Jr. would go on to take directing responsibilities. As time went on and filming began we got to know a little bit about the plot and it appeared that the film would have Adonis face his biggest challenge yet: Victor Drago, the son of the man who murdered his father in the ring. I got to see the main event between Creed and Drago and I have to say it did not disappoint.

If the first Creed was kind of a retread of the first Rocky with the underdog going toe-to-toe with the world champion and showing him who’s boss then Creed II is something new entirely to the Rocky franchise. Creed II tells the story of Adonis’ rise to fame after his big fight with “Pretty” Ricky Conlan in the first film. Adonis is killing it in the ring and even becomes World Champion all the while getting his mustang back from Danny “Stuntman” Wheeler.

Creed II Rocky Balboa Ivan Drago Viktor Drago

As the film goes on, Adonis realizes being the champ comes with a price when he gets baited to fight Victor Drago. Adonis’ struggle with wanting to fight Drago and avenge his father’s death all the while having those close to him tell him he shouldn’t fight creates an inner conflict of who he is as a fighter and what is he fighting for. Creed II is the story of Adonis’ figuring out what he really is and the way the film unravels resolves that perfectly while delivering stellar performances from Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson and Dolph Lundgren.

Michael B. Jordan returns to the ring as Adonis Creed and shows new skill as well as handles what’s given to him in this role with expertise. As Adonis grows, so does Jordan’s acting ability. There are moments in the film where you really feel that Jordan has become Creed and is experiencing everything the character is and you become empathetic for him. Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky is a little bit older and a little bit wiser and is 100 percent more healthier than the last film, but is still dealing with an internal struggle that Stallone masterfully handles and may hopefully get another nomination for his performance as the retired boxer-turned-trainer. Rocky and Adonis’ relationship is a bit rocky to say the least in this film, but the two actors still play off each other incredibly well and you feel the love between them.

Creed Michael B. Jordan Sylvetser Stallone

Tessa Thompson’s is back as one of the leading ladies in Adonis’ life. Thompson has more purpose as Bianca in the sequel and she handles the role spectacularly. And with all the stress that comes with being in a relationship with a boxer, Bianca never falters and stands by Adonis in his time of need, though she doesn’t agree with his decisions. Phylicia Rashad as Mary Ann Creed is ever so welcomed as she becomes the heart of the film, making sure the characters stick together and that Adonis has all the guidance he needs around him. Meanwhile, Dolph Lundgren makes his epic return as Ivan Drago and has developed a dastardly plan to restore his name. Drago is smart, bitter, maniacal and ruthless. He’s relying on his son Victor Drago, played by boxer Florian Munteanu, to restore the name of Drago. Munteanu does what he can in the film and becomes the ultimate adversary to Adonis. There’s a lot pain behind his brutality derived from the tactics of his father, giving us a compelling backstory for our antagonists in and out the ring and making the film a well rounded piece of art.

Overall Thoughts: Creed II is like a breath of fresh air for the Rocky franchise, but it still feels like it’s missing the touch of Ryan Coogler. If you’re looking for a fast-paced boxing film with impeccable fights sequences, this is the film for you. If you’re looking for the heart that was in the first film, you’ll also find that here as I found myself sobbing multiple times. All in all, I think it’s a great movie, but it isn’t as good as the first.

Rating: 8/10

The 9 Best Things About ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’

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Red Dead Redemption 2Well, cowboys and cowgirls, Red Dead Redemption 2 is finally here. Eight years after the original title took the gaming world by storm, Rockstar is back with a prequel set ten years before the original. For people who like horses but may not want to ride them in real life, they’re in luck, because anyone who plays Red Dead Redemption 2 will be sitting on a horse for quite a while. As you pursue an outlaw life, jumping from town-to-town, players explore a world full of danger and excitement behind every corner.

Red Dead Redemption 2 has already broken pretty much every entertainment record imaginable. It’s had the most successful opening weekend for any entertainment product ever, so you don’t need to take my word on why this game is so good, just go look at the numbers. Underneath the massive, 60-hour story, is a beautiful world layered with complicated characters, powerful predators and painful memories. So, what are you waiting for, go jump on your horse and start playing this game!

Hit Next to discover the 9 Best Things about Red Dead Redemption 2!

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Nathaniel Brail

Nathaniel Brail

Running things at HH. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @NateBrail