Review: Creed II

WSPN's Christos Belibasakis offers a review of

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WSPN's Christos Belibasakis offers a review of "Creed II," the much-anticipated sequel to "Creed" and the eighth installment in the "Rocky" film series.

Christos Belibasakis

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

One of the most anticipated films of 2018, Creed II has a lot to live up to as part of the Rocky series’ forty-year legacy. Creed II, the sequel to Creed (2015) and the eighth installment to the Rocky film series, brings back stars Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren, characters acclaimed by both audiences and critics alike. While it may seem that the remixing of the same boxing story over and over again would make this film unbearably predictable, Creed II is able to master what matters the most when telling a story: creating meaningful and compelling characters.

Creed II takes place three years after Adonis Creed’s loss to “Pretty” Ricky Conlan. During this time, a string of victories eventually nets the fighter the title of WBC World Heavyweight Champion. At the same time, Ivan Drago, the former Soviet boxer who killed Adonis’s father Apollo Creed in the ring thirty-three years earlier, sees Adonis as an opportunity to regain the glory that he lost after losing to Rocky Balboa the same year. Drago wants to pit his son, Viktor, against Adonis, and Creed accepts despite Balboa’s refusal to support him. With many developments in his personal life, Adonis rushes into the match and gets badly injured. However, Viktor gets disqualified for hitting Adonis while he is down, which allows Creed to keep his championship belt. The rest of the movie builds up to the final match between Adonis and Viktor in Moscow, Russia.

While we have already seen similar plots throughout the Rocky series, Creed II exceeds expectations by developing characters and relationships that leave the audience emotionally invested in the film. We are presented with Adonis, the bratty world champion with a chip on his shoulder, and Rocky, the wise figure who is there to give advice when the time is right. The film also features the perfect villains in Viktor and Ivan Drago. These characters appeal to the audience due to their complexity and the fact that their emotional stakes are as high as the protagonists’. While the fights themselves are masterfully filmed and action-packed, it’s the emotion invested into Adonis Creed that has the whole audience cheering for him when it becomes time for the final fight.

Creed II breathes a new life into the Rocky series not only through its character development but also through the relationships that it creates. The film takes the focus off of Rocky while still giving the character a sufficient role, and it focuses heavily on the father-son relationships that are present. With Adonis, we see a boxer who is trying to live up to his father’s legendary status while trying to avenge his death at the same time. Rocky hasn’t spoken to his estranged son in years, and he struggles to make a reconnection with him. Finally, we have Ivan Drago, someone who has had to raise his son to be successful in the shadow of his own failure.

Another element that greatly supplements the plot of Creed II is the relationship between Adonis and Bianca Taylor, a talented singer who is suffering from hearing loss. After becoming World Champion, Adonis proposes to Bianca, and the two move to Los Angeles to start a new life. However, after Viktor shatters his ego in their first match, Adonis becomes increasingly distant to Bianca, and the audience is only left to guess what will happen between the two as the action culminates to the final fight.

While Creed II may be easily predictable, its intricate character development allows it to create a story much bigger than boxing. The film hits all the notes of what a Creed sequel and Rocky installment should, earning Creed II a spot as one of the best films of the year by far.

Rating: 9/10

Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent WSPN as a publication.