A very lucky coincidence had me seeing this movie a week before its Germany release. We have this thing here where some cinemas show movies that will come out a couple of weeks later for one night and for a very low price. The catch is that you don’t know which movie will be playing. It’s always a surprise and this time it was a very pleasant one since I planned on seeing that movie anyways and even re-watched the first one a week ago.
Let me give you the key points right away because I might get carried away with the rest of this. I am the overthinker after all.
- Very dramatic, gruesome fight scenes but the focus is on family and feelings
- It’s refreshing to see physically strong guys vulnerable and insecure
- Be prepared to feel sympathy for the antagonist
- Michael B. Jordan does a great job of making Adonis Creed a very different kind of fighter than his Black Panther Killmonger character
Now let’s get into it. Creed 2 is the sequel of the Rocky spin-off Creed which focuses on the son of Rocky antagonist/friend Adonis Creed played by Michael B. Jordan of Black Panther fame where he portrayed the villain Killmonger. Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone, acts as coach, mentor and father figure. The main trio is completed by Tessa Thompson who I know mostly as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok. Other notable cast include Dolph Lundgren who reprises his antagonist role as Ivan Drago from Rocky IV and this time around trains his son to fight Adonis Creed. His son Viktor Drago is hard to miss because of actor’s Florian Munteanu’s stature. This new face also stood out to me because he actually hails from my own hometown of Munich, Germany.
The story picks up a while after the end of Creed (spoilers for Creed ahead!), where Adonis had got the girl but just about lost his first big fight. He is now making his way up in the boxing circuit – actually winning a big title early on. His relationship with girlfriend Bianca is serious and loving and Rocky has become a father figure. The movie then focusses on the re-emergence of the disgraced Russian Rocky IV antagonist Ivan Drago who notably killed Adonis’ father Apollo Creed in the ring before finally losing to Rocky. He wants to see his son Viktor to fight Adonis which – of course – eventually happens.
The fights are magnificently staged and brutal – complete with more than one bone getting audibly crushed and some truly gruesome slow-motion sequences. As somewhat of a boxing aficionado but not a super fan, I found it all very dramatic yet believable. That is except for the fact that Florian Munteanu is like twice the size of Michael B. Jordan. Both of them were clearly trained for ultimate beast mode – and it did look incredible – but face to face the amazingly fit Michael B. Jordan just looked tiny. Of course, the disparity made the fight purposely unbalanced but at times I was downright scared for the “delicate” Jordan. But enough about the fighting, as it was really not was stood out to me in this movie. Of course, the training and the actual fights got a lot of screen-time but it was really the “in between” moments that made the movie.
Adonis’ growing and evolving relationship with Bianca – and the start of their little family – with all the love, hope, angst and fear was central to the movie and I loved every second of it. For such a physically strong man to be so vulnerable, insecure and loving was truly refreshing. As was the unconditional love and support Bianca had for him. Jaded from a lot of movies who crave that little extra edge of drama, I kept thinking it would fall apart in some way but was pleasantly surprised that the problems were of different varieties. Adonis’ relationship with Rocky – and in turn, Rocky’s relationship with his own family – was a little cliché but also super sweet and unexpected to see from THE Rocky Balboa.
Now while the Creed extended family situation and theme was heartwarming and unexpected, what really threw me was the Drago family backstory. To say Ivan Drago was not the most loving of fathers would be the understatement of the century. Viktor Drago was so completely under his father’s control and frankly under his constant abusive mental manipulation that you can’t help but feel really, really bad for the giant guy. It surprised me how this very silent and very threatening character of Viktor Drago had me feeling bad for him. It was really done beautifully. He was full of insecurity – and confusion at times – and treated so badly by both his parents and life in general that you couldn’t help feel for him.
Also – to a potterhead like me – he looked EXACTLY like Viktor Krum who I also happen to like very much. As a die-hard MCU-fangirl, also felt a lot of Winter Soldier vibes in his silent confusion, his dependence on his father and his general despair. Speaking of the MCU, it is worth mentioning that Michael B. Jordan did a wonderful job of making Adonis Creed nothing like his Black Panther Killmonger character. It would be easy to think that these two extremely strong fighters would be alike but Jordan did a beautiful job fleshing out an insecurity and softness in Adonis that Killmonger’s backstory didn’t allow for. They were very different kinds of fighters and that is a testament to his acting abilities in my eyes.
Recommendation: I can definitely recommend Creed 2: Rocky’s Legacy not only to Rocky fans and boxing aficionados but also to everyone looking for something a little deeper – as long as you don’t mind a bit of sweat and blood. Oh and to everyone who likes to see incredibly fit guys run around half-naked a lot. Creed 2 is just so much more than dramatic fights in the ring: The unfolding Creed family story is heartwarming and unexpected but what throws you is the sympathy you feel for antagonist Viktor Drago.
Thanks for reading this review – I know it got a little long. I will try to keep them shorter in the future but I am the overthinker after all. Creed 2 is out now and you can watch the trailer here.
Also, I am still unsure about copyright laws and stuff – maybe there is a way to post actual movie stills and stuff and if there is, I will figure it out eventually but for now I really just want to stay out of trouble.