By Uri Vaknin, Staff Writer
Creed 2 directed by Steven Caple Jr., starring Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson and Sylvester Stallone continues the story of Adonis Creed, the son of Apollo Creed from the Rocky films.
Adonis is soon challenged for the boxing championship belt by Victor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago, who killed his father in the ring decades ago. With the training and guidance of Rocky Balboa and his family, Adonis takes on his greatest battle yet.
Creed 2 is a solid follow-up to the first one, with great performances and plenty of emotional scenes throughout. Much like the first Creed and other Rocky films, Creed 2 flows along a predictable story but shows heart and is engaging enough to overlook that.
There is a new director at the helm of this one, with Caple directing instead of Ryan Coogler. Coogler did an amazing job with the first film creating an immersive and visceral atmosphere and that feeling is definitely not lost here. Caple fills his role and made a great sequel to its predecessor.
The tone is still consistent and really feels like a two chapter story rather than a cash grab. It is clear the film was made with love and respect for the previous movies and still holds up well on its own.
The whole cast is terrific in this film, with Jordan and Stallone as highlights. Jordan upstages his performance from the first one. The conflict is much more personal for him this time around as he chooses to avenge his father in the ring while trying to start a family.
Stallone returns as the beloved Rocky who’s also connected to Adonis’ conflict this time around, having already faced Ivan Drago and being in Apollo’s corner the night he died.
Florian Munteanu plays Victor Drago and Dolph Lundgren reprises his role as Ivan Drago, who both do a decent job as the antagonists in the film. They are both towering and intimidating, and the movie does a good job presenting Victor’s ruthlessness in the ring. They are also fleshed out as characters rather than one-dimensional villains where audience members can sympathize with and understand their motives as well.
The fight scenes are filmed and put together masterfully, where the audience can really feel the impact of each punch. It is clear that both Jordan and Munteanu have trained hard for their respective roles, showing genuine fighting technique and genuinely coming across as two boxing champions.
The score is also amazing, with a few musical callbacks to the original Rocky movies here and there. It flows really well with the film, especially during the obligatory training sequences, where the audience gets pumped up along with the characters, and just adds a lot of heart to the overall product.
All in all, Caple and the crew knocked it out of the park, delivering a solid sequel that was fun to watch.