CREED II Family Movie Review3 min read

By Justin Lozada

WHAT'S CREED II ABOUT?

Adonis Creed finds himself in the biggest fight in his young boxing career as he squares up against the offspring of a familiar figure. Order it here.

IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A-)

The previous film, Creed, had the difficult task of bridging the past to the future. The Rocky franchise is 42 years running and finding ways to keep it fresh and new, while making sure not to abandon the spirit of earlier entries is no easy task. Fortunately, the cast and crew brought their A-game and the results paid off big in terms of box office, critical accolades, and pleasing both long time fans and series newcomers. Creed II now has the task of keeping that fresh momentum going and is mostly successful in doing so.

Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone return to their respective roles, along with Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, and Wood Harris. Dolph Lundgren makes his return as the chief nemesis from Rocky IV, Ivan Drago. Drago is the man responsible for killing Adonis’ father (Apollo Creed) in the ring, and also left Rocky Balboa a scarred man after their encounter. After suffering a humiliating defeat in front of his country at the hands of Balboa, life for Ivan went downhill. 33 years later, a path to redemption is created via his son, Viktor Drago, an up and coming boxer whose brutality in the ring makes him a formidable opponent for Adonis. Adonis now feels the pressure to rewrite history while his trainer, an aging Rocky, tries to steer him away from the mistakes of the past.

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What I loved most about Creed II is how it raises the stakes for everyone involved. Adonis has much to lose this time around, old wounds are reopened for both Rocky and Ivan, and the lives of those who surround these characters are affected as well. The pressure is not only on the filmmakers, but also on the characters, and it shows for all 130 minutes of the film’s runtime. The amazing cast finds a way to bring their characters into an arc and help add depth to these familiar, and new, characters. Credit goes to the director, Steven Caple Jr., and screenwriters Juel Taylor and Sylvester Stallone (with a story by Sascha Penn and Cheo Hodari Coker). The photography and soundtrack fuse together to illustrate the latest chapter in the cinematic boxing saga that takes viewers to both new and familiar territory, while making sure to keep the essential ingredients intact.

IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR FAMILY?

Creed II is rated PG-13 for sports action violence, language, and a scene of sensuality. The boxing sequences are central to the storytelling and they are brutal and bloody. In terms of profanity the swearing is moderate, with the “s” word and “b” word being used. Some social drinking and a mild scene of sensuality is present but does not last long, as a recently engaged couple begin to make love (obscured, from the shoulders up).

ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?

Adonis’ journey in his young professional boxing career leads him to a path of personal revenge and redemption. He also learns revenge can blind a person with a sense of inflated pride and misdirected anger and frustration. Determination and healthy resilience can also help one overcome their opponent or obstacles.

Creed II carries over an important plot element from 2006's Rocky Balboa: Rocky's relationship with his son, Robert. Rewatch this underrated flick here

Justin Lozada is a financial systems instructor for the United States Air Force. He reviews Hollywood films at Letterboxd.

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