Mild spoilers ahead.
The long-awaited follow up to Creed has arrived, and although in my opinion, it’s not as good as it’s predecessor, it’s extremely close, and this is about as perfect a sequel as you could ask for.
Since the events of the first film, Adonis Creed/Johnson has risen to new heights in the boxing world, he’s now the World Champion and everything seems to be rosy in his life. That is, until Ivan Drago returns on the scene. (For any Rocky novices, Drago is the one who killed Adonis’ father in the ring in Rocky IV.) He’s got his beast of a son in tow, and they have one purpose: To challenge and defeat Adonis Creed.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how much attention this film gives to Drago and his son. When you consider that Drago’s role wasn’t that big in Rocky IV, it was interesting to see him brought down to earth and humanised to the point that you can actually understand his motivations and, to a degree, you feel sorry for him. Dolph Lundgren was fantastic as the elder Drago and added so many layers to this once one-dimensional character. Although his son is the one who will be fighting Adonis, this is more Ivan’s story and it’s interesting to see him living his dream and pursuing his redemption through his son. Florian Munteano doesn’t have a lot to say as Viktor Drago, but he does an excellent job of highlighting his inner conflicts and you really do get the vibe that he doesn’t really want to fight, his life has just been puppeteered by his father to get them to this moment. It not only makes sense from a story perspective, but I think it also adds something new to Rocky IV as the consequences of that instalment now spread to almost all of the characters in this film.
Creed 2 does what all good sequels should do, and it continues the stories of our protagonists in a new and interesting direction. The main pull in this film is seeing how Adonis’ obsession with the Drago duo changes and fractures the relationships with his loved ones, he almost goes down a path of self destruction in the second act and it’s extremely captivating, you’re left rooting for him to get back on track and it leads to an incredibly poignant finale which left me both satisfied and emotional, it’s not often a film makes me well up, but I was close to shedding a tear at the end.
Creed 2 might be quite predictable, and that’s not surprising considering it’s the eighth film in the franchise, so it’s bound to follow similar beats to the predecessors. But it’s done in such a clever way that you don’t really mind, you care for all of the characters (thanks to fantastic performances from the entire cast) and they are what make this film so brilliant.
Like it’s predecessor, it’s beautifully shot, and it feels raw and real, each fight had some brutal moments where I was genuinely wincing. Much like Creed it is the perfect concoction of ridiculous and serious, neither side is overbearing and in fact they compliment each other which only elevates the overall entertainment.
The film feels like a natural follow-on to Creed, rather than a forced sequel, and the two put together create a powerful story that wraps up quite nicely. In fact, if they didn’t make another film in the series I would be more then satisfied with how it all ends. That being said, I fully expect there to be a third Creed in the future, and if it’s anywhere near as good as the first two, then I can’t wait.
I may not have enjoyed it as much as the first film, but to be honest, they are so close to each other in my eyes in terms of quality, that it doesn’t really matter. This is a fantastic film, if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you do. If you haven’t seen either of the Creed films, then make it your mission this Christmas to see them both. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
I give Creed 2 an 8.5/10.