Creed II follows in the path of the original movie while also offering something new for the audience. Here, the past is in conflict with the present, the son in conflict with his father’s sins, and drive for ambition juxtaposed against family legacy. The conflicts underscore the trials and triumphs of the main characters.
As a mainstream Hollywood film, Creed II was shown in cinema chains worldwide including Odeon Cinemas. The high-tech audio-visual system in these contemporary cinemas highlighted the film’s excellent cinematography and music, too.
Great Performances from Old and New Stars
Michael B. Jordan is a rising star who we predict will remain in the A-list for many, many years to come. At the moment, he is widely considered as the dominant Hollywood male movie star of his generation – and we’re not just talking about African-Americans either. Here, he plays Adonis (Donnie) Creed, the son of Rocky’s former fiercest rival who later on became his closest friend; Donnie, as seen in the original Creed movie, is a protégé of Rocky, a role reprised by Sylvester Stallone.
Jordan has a charisma about him that makes Donnie lovable and relatable despite his flaws. He has such a deep understanding of his character that he can convey emotions with a single glance and gesture, an actor who can inhabit his onscreen character almost uncannily. He makes seeing both the original and its sequel a few times worth it.
Tessa Thompson plays Bianca, Donnie’s girlfriend and a musician, gave a career-defining performance, too. She adeptly combines an emotional directness and an elegant self-possession that serves as a foil for Jordan’s powerfully emotional turn.
In the movie, Donnie and Bianca remind the audience that there’s a strong romance that allow them to be equal partners and enjoy a wonderful chemistry. While Bianca can be a badass, Donnie can be emotionally vulnerable without being bashed for it, a gender-busting depiction of a relationship between a tough-guy boxer and a sensitive artist. Together, they prove that the nuances of black love are alive onscreen, including their funny yet sexy and romantic proposal.
Let’s not forget that Creed II also has Stallone and Lundgren on the cast, both of whom deliver sterling performances. Stallone shows that he has finely tuned acting skills that we have seen in Rocky and its sequels; we don’t like him in Oscar but hey, every actor has a movie that he isn’t as proud as he should be so we forgive him, too. Here, he plays the corner man and mentor to Donnie, a role that he seems to dive into with gusto – he’s less gruff and he honors Burgess Meredith’s Mickey in his portrayal.
Dolph Lundgren reprises his role as Drago, and he does so with even more effectiveness than in the Rocky franchise. Like Stallone, he has become a chiseled, if grizzled, aura about him that still commands the screen whenever he’s on it. He still has that intimidating look that made audiences love to hate him – or at least, his onscreen character – and his portrayal of a disgraced boxer bent on revenge through his son makes us want to root for him here.
Meeting of the Past and Present
In a way, Creed II is a story of revenge and redemption for many of the parties. The theme stems from the tensions between former rivals in the ring and rivals still in the corner, as well as the tensions between fathers and sons, whether the former is alive or not.
Donnie Creed has proven that he’s worthy of his father’s name and legacy but he still has a long way to go in determining his own path, away from his father’s shadow. He has to face more difficult and complicated trials that may or may not bring him down, as well as determine the kind of man and fighter he will be. His is an uncertain path because of his father’s legacy but we are rooting for him to be his own man.
Viktor (played by real-life boxer Florian Munteanu), the son of Drago, is being mercilessly trained by his father. His training session is, in fact, the opening sequence of the film, which set the tone for the father-and-son, past-and-present tensions. He is being used, so to speak, as a tool by his father to get back in the good graces of the Russians after Drago’s defeat in the hands of Apollo Creed.
Drago, of course, wants a rematch based on the name recall value of Creed vs. Drago bout of yesteryears. Will we see it and who wins? You have to see the movie yourself and know the answers.
There’s just one thing that disturbs us, although it’s our personal opinion. The film assumes that everybody – and we mean every American, too – will root for Donnie Creed as the representation of the good while hating Viktor as the representation of the bad (i.e., read: Russians).
The people behind Creed II perhaps thinks that we’re still in the Cold War, and we aren’t, not to mention that in the Trump administration, the Russians are getting more sympathy than before.