Creed II (2018)
Living up once again to it's 40 year legacy
24 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Creed breathed new live into the Rocky franchise because it's less about Rocky and far more about Adonnis Creed. The best thing about Creed II is that it focuses so heavily on father and son relationships and what that means in three very different circumstances. Rocky and his son are estranged and Rocky doesn't know how to reach out to him and there is that father-son relationship between Rocky and Adonnis. You have Adonnis and Apollo, the son trying to live up to his father's legendary status but now also avenge his death and you have Ivan Drago and his son where he has raised this child in the shadow of his own failure. Rocky IV is generally considered the highlight of that franchise and certainly his greatest battle and this being a direct sequel to that makes Rocky fans happy and fans of the new Creed storyline happy to. It has deep drama and story, incredible action and intense performances. The scene where Drago and Rocky meet in Rocky's restaurant is complete perfection.

I wasn't sure how I would feel about Michael B Jordan taking over the Rocky franchise and whether I could ever buy him as the underdog boxer that I would root for. Creed was good but I still wasn't sure. I'm no longer unsure. Jordan completely owns this role and proves himself fully. He leads this film with great power and intensity. Sylvester Stallone returns as Adonnis' mentor and trainer Rocky Balboa. He takes even more of a secondary position in the film but enough that fans will still love seeing him back in the role but doesn't get in the way of the main story. Dolph Lundgren is incredible in this film. This might actually be his best role he's ever had period. In Rocky IV he was a machine that was meant to be a steel monster but now we see his humanity and what the loss has done for him and how he's trained his son. He is literally the highlight of this movie. Equally as impressive is Florian Munteanu who plays Drago Junior. He captures that steel monster that his father once was but he plays so much drama and intensity in his expressions. There is a scene with him and his father at a dinner table where you literally see him looking for approval. Tessa Thompson also returns as Bianca and gets even more screen time and an even better role than the first. Her and Jordan have good chemistry and I wasn't sure about her either until this movie. Phylicia Rashad also returns in a larger role as Adonnis' mother and gets some really solid screen time.

Steven Caple Jr. had a big job ahead of him. He's a virtual unknown director taking over for someone who got fans and critics on their side with the first Creed. I was worried this was a mistake bringing on a director with little experience but he captures this story and takes what Creed started and vaults it into the stratosphere. He packs almost too much into one film but it harkens back to the great Rocky films, pays homage to that but hyper focuses on Creed and that new legacy. Creed II is as good as the best from this franchise and ensures we get more in the future. Watching my idol (Stallone) hit the big screen yet again was an unforgettable experience. 9/10
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