A very simple plot that's not much more than a string of events
To preface all of this, I really dislike boxing as a sport. I see nothing sportmanslike about punching each other in the head and body, causing grievous injuries now, and likely permanent brain and organ damage down the road.
That much said, I did enjoy most of the Rocky franchise, as it was always about the plucky underdog rising against all odds, and defeating somebody strong, or faster, or simply younger with sheer willpower. The Rocky IV soundtrack will always have a place in my (infrequent) workout lists.
Creed was an enjoyable spin-off cut from the same cloth the Rocky franchise, with a few fresh story elements expertly woven in, and intimate, powerful fight sequences that were light on effects, but strong on action and emotional resonance. The then-not-as-famous cast (besides Sylvester Stallone, of course) shone in their roles, truly elevating Creed from generic action flick to a powerful emotional story.
Now, here’s where Creed II runs into problems. There’s simply not much story to it. If Creed was a 12-round slug fest, Creed II was a sparring match. The sequel’s lukewarm rehashing of a story that’s yet again about daddy issues would have been somewhat fresh if, well, let’s say… all three of the main cast didn’t recently act in an MCU movie about daddy issues. Wait, what, they did? All three of them in three different movies? Huh.
Despite my ragging about the overall story, or lack of one, everything else either remains equally good or only slightly worse. Creed II really missed Ryan Coogler’s eye for action in the first, where the fight scenes were either brilliantly intimate, or filled with grandiose flair. Steven Caple Jr. does the best he can, but fails to reach the heights of the first.
The cast improves, adding fan favourite Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago and his son, Florian Munteanu’s Viktor Drago. The main cast of Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson, back from their stint in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, acted out a plain story phenomenally. Truly, if the cast was slightly less talented, Creed II would be hard to watch.
Despite the tremendous performance from its actors, Creed II truly pulls its punches, a sequel that with its last flurry strikes above mediocrity. If you’re the girl that bit her braces broken by watching Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther, you will definitely enjoy the sequel. Otherwise, its an OK popcorn flick that will probably make you want to watch Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Thor: Ragnarok or Black Panther again.