“A fantastic addition to the Rocky film franchise, staying true to the legacy of the story”
“Well performed, well put together, and manages to engage an audience in a forty-year old story that’s still going strong.”
The next chapter in the iconic Rocky franchise was released a few weeks ago in the form of Creed 2. This film continues the story of Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed, as he is challenged by the son of the man who killed his father in the ring: Ivan Drago. Sylvestre Stallone and Dolph Ludgen both reprise their talismanic roles from earlier films, while Michael B Jordan and Tessa Thompson continue in their next-generation characters.
I was really, really looking forward to this one, having loved the first Creed and the original Rocky movies. I found my expectations well met. I loved this movie, even more so as compared to the first Creed. Michael B Jordan continues to cement himself as an absolutely top notch actor (so long as we forget about fantastic four) and delivers a superb performance. Tessa Thompson is an unsung hero if you ask me, and the ever-unintelligible Sylvestre Stallone continues to blur the lines between himself and his self proclaimed ‘best friend’. A lot of the ‘wow’ factor of this film comes from the legacy of the characters in the film. Each and every scene is charged. The director, Steve Caple Jr, makes sure that the audience is, at no point, more than three inches deep into their seats; often hanging right off the edge. I attribute that mostly to the performances, but to be honest, there’s an inherent tension that comes up just with Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago on the same screen (it’s a little difficult to differentiate which of the two of them is Russian when they talk :). I love that about these films. A lot of the impact of the story is what has happened before, and just the knowledge of the history of the characters is enough to maintain a tangible level of tension and excitement throughout.
The actual fighting is a little bit mind boggling. There were actual moments during the boxing where my brother and I would turn to each other and just laugh for how insanely intense some of it was, without seeming outlandish in any way. It adds, exponentially, to the incredible tension that the director achieves in the film. I knew that during the first fight Adonis couldn’t die, but I swear to god I stopped breathing every time he went down. It was shocking. Florian Munteanu, who plays Viktor Drago in the film, should be arrested on the charge of being an absolute goddamned monster. The guy is huge, and his contrast with Jordan, who, while in ridiculous shape for this film, is comparatively small, gives a bone chilling David and Goliath feel to the matchup. All in all, the fighting in the film is electrifying and engaging, not allowing for a second’s relief in the thick of the action.
But the Rocky franchise is known for more than just the fighting. Ringside, the writers of the film have managed to cultivate extremely strong, likable characters. The fights only matter and the tension only so thick as a result of the deeply emotional connections the characters beg you to make with them. Rocky’s family relationship with Adonis and Bianca is beautiful, and Adonis and Bianca’s personal struggles are interesting enough for a film of their own. The film asks questions about parenting and love and what is and is not important, going above and beyond its purview as a fighting film.
Creed 2 is a fantastic addition to the Rocky film franchise, staying true to the legacy of the story and exploring new, rich avenues at the same time. It’s not too often these days for a sequel franchise to be handled well, but I can safely say that I enjoyed Creed 2, even more so than Creed 1. It’s well performed, well put together, and manages to engage an audience in a forty-year old story that’s still going strong.
Aman’s Rating: 81/100 Aryamaan’s Rating: N/A