Three years after the first Creed film Adonis (Michael B Jordan) finally reaches his goal; winning the same belt that his father, Apollo, and trainer, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) held before him. However, whilst balancing his personal life with struggles around not feeling like he belongs, an opponent comes out of the industrial landscape of the Ukraine to challenge for the belt and redeem his family’s name – Viktor Drago, the infamous Ivan Drago’s son.
Walking in to see Creed II I was expecting a pretty predictable plotline similar to Rocky III, with a big tough bad guy beating the hero before there’s a training montage and the hero redeems himself. In fact, the plot line twists and turns, and while you can probably predict the final destination the journey Creed II takes you on to get there makes the movie feel as fresh and original as any boxing film.
Whilst there are a few subplots running through the film that touch on some big topics, to me the best part was the development of Viktor Drago’s character. Rather than just being the steroid-fuelled and lab-built machine his father was, who you just see in a few training scenes Creed II looks at the relationship of Ivan and his Viktor, the motivation for why he fights and really fleshes out the character more. I found myself in a weird place as a viewer, obviously wanting Adonis to win, and knowing that Viktor was the bad guy and a dirty fighter, but also in some ways rooting for Viktor to do well too.
All in all Creed II doesn’t drop into that stereotypical box of the sequel being worse than the original (or in this case the reboot of the six movie long series), and, in my opinion, is a great film. It explores complex motivations, some pretty deep subjects, keeps you on the edge of your seat during the intense and well shot fight scenes and, of course, has a few sick training montages in it – cue the theme music, and get yourself to the cinema to see it.
“Since you’re going back to hell you might as well get used to it”– Rocky talking to Adonis before starting his training camp
4.5 stars out of 5