Creed could have easily been such a disaster, and a weak attempt to spinoff the dormant Rocky franchise. I mean, who would want to watch a movie about the son of Apollo Creed? It sounds like a bad joke, not one of the best boxing dramas in recent memory. Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan, then teaming up for just the second time (it would be a couple years later before that Black Panther move you might’ve heard of) recaptured the underdog spirit that made the Rocky movies work.
Now a new challenge awaits with Creed II, a film that boasts a new director in Steven Caple Jr., (The Land), and a deeper connection to the Rocky legacy. The sequel finds Adonis squaring off against the son of Ivan Drago, the man who years ago killed his father in the squared circle. On paper, it sounds a little bit silly. The fight against Drago was such an over-the-top, flag-waving spectacle common to ’80s flicks where Russians were perceived as the enemy, but could that work again in 2018?
Forget everything going on in the world right now and just look at the trailer, and you’ll see the answer is definitely “yes.”. Rather than posed as a showdown of national importance, the fight is seen as a personal war for Adonis to overcome as he grapples with his father’s legacy. Jordan looks jacked for the role, and Stallone is still convincing in his fatherly role as Rocky Balboa.
“He broke things in me that ain’t never been fixed. It ain’t worth it”, he says while advising Adonis not to take the fight. But of course, the stubborn fighter, much like a young Rocky, has too much to prove to turn it down. This has the potential of being better than Creed, and I don’t say that lightly because I love that movie.
Also starring Dolph Lundgren Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Brigitte Nielsen, Milo Ventimiglia, and Florian Munteanu as Viktor Drago, Creed II opens November 21st.