Steeped in legend, the Rocky franchise produces another sequel in Creed II. This film is derived from the events that took place in Rocky IV (1985), where heavyweight hard-hitter Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) fought and killed Adonis Creed’s father.
At the outset of this movie, we are reintroduced to Ivan Drago as well as his son, Viktor (Florian Munteanu), who is also a boxer. This introductory scene sets the mood for the rest of the movie in terms of its vigor and fighting spirit. And I’m not just talking about the boxers themselves. Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) has to step up in more ways than one, as he takes a fight with Viktor to defend his title as heavyweight champion. He also proposes to his girlfriend, Bianca (Tessa Thompson). Not only that, they soon discover that he is going to be a father – how Adonis ultimately executes this balancing act is impressive. Initially, Adonis struggles as he is taken out of his comfort zone, but he doesn’t get scared nor dejected by his new responsibilities. He handles his business like a man, and it serves him well as the movie progresses.
This film’s characters are fascinating, especially Viktor and Ivan Drago, as is their relationship as it develops over the course of the film. Ivan Drago has been stewing over his loss to Rocky for 30 years, and he finally has a chance to set things right. His retribution is quite serendipitous, and that makes him a complex character as he instills these feelings in his son, Viktor. Similarly, the relationship between Adonis and Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) dips in some emotionally turbulent ways, and it also reaches new heights of glory and friendship.
This film takes place three years after the events of Creed. Adonis is now winning many fights and is currently standing on the status of heavyweight champion of the world. And when you’re number one, the haters come in droves. Ivan Drago, still feeling the humiliation of losing to Rocky all those years ago, sees a chance for retribution and proposes a fight between his son Viktor and Adonis. Creed ultimately accepts his challenge. But mentally, emotionally, and physically — he is not prepared for the fight. His relationship with his fiancé Bianca also suffers as Adonis struggles to discover what he is meant to learn from all this.
Overall, I enjoyed this film more than the previous installment of Creed. It completely fleshes out the character traits of Adonis in ways that we haven’t seen before. He is a young man now, but also inadequate and insecure in some ways since he did not have a father growing up. The manner in which he executes his vision is his glory. But it’s not just for him – it’s for his family, which includes Bianca, his daughter, his stepmother, Rocky, and his deceased father, Apollo. What we see is a man of many layers, which become revealed to the audience and quite possibly, Adonis himself. This is a great film. Check it out.
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