Director Steven Caple Jr.’s sequel Creed II hits all the expected notes, but does it well enough to get viewers onside. The film is immensely entertaining.
A few years after his breakout fight, Adonis Creed’s star is on the ascent. As he rises in the boxing world, he receives a new challenge. His intended opponent is Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago…
A sequel to the 2015 hit Creed, this film sees Ryan Coogler pass the directing baton to Steven Caple Jr. (Coogler stays on as executive producer). Creed II picks up a couple of years after its predecessor. Protagonist Adonis Creed’s underdog becomes a champion, only for a new challenger to emerge. Creed II treads a familiar beat; the film will be reminiscent for fans of the Rocky franchise. The protagonist goes on enough of an emotional journey to engage with viewers. Likewise, there is development from Rocky Balboa, fitting nicely into the mentor mode adopted in the previous film.
With the reappearance of Ivan Drago, the film loops back to Rocky IV. Whilst not a remake of the 1985 film, Creed II follows a very similar narrative path. In a sense, it is both a remake and a sequel. The use of footage from the 1985 film further emphasises this. Although the film concentrates on Adonis’ journey, there is enough about the Drago family to give this opponent motive and backstory.
Caple Jr. does not shy away from the brutality of the boxing with some gory depictions. There are some nice shots; Adonis’ reflection in the trophy cabinet springs to mind. Music is used well, combining aspects of the Rocky theme with more contemporary tracks. Michael B. Jordan is convincing again as Adonis Creed. He offers both charisma and a heathy degree of authenticity. Tessa Thompson and Sylvester Stallone provide good support. Dolph Lindgren is also a welcome presence. The return of a few characters from the original franchise is a nice touch.
Creed II is predictable in places, but this hardly matters when it is such an enjoyable watch.