- As he returns to his character Adonis Creed, Michael B. Jordan yet again delivers a fantastic performance. Jordan’s take of a sensitive, tortured soul of a boxer shines and keeps this film chugging with every quivering emotional beat. Sylvester Stallone as well returns to his iconic character Rocky Balboa, this time fresh of an Oscar nomination. And Stallone continues to be this franchise’s anchor that keeps this series rooted through it’s winding path through all the decades. Though this time around he’s not given as much to do, Stallone takes advantage of all his screen time delivering in each of his pivotal moments. Dolph Lundgren on the other hand, is given much more to do in Creed II, which I’ll get more into later. But with everything thrown his way, he still gives a solid performance.
- Steven Caple Jr.’s direction is pretty strong here. Caple gives this film a sturdy feel and prevails through familiar beats with emotional fierceness. Caple’s pacing is as well strong as he evidently cares just as much about the literal fights, as he does about the internal ones as well.
- Maybe the most eye-opening element of Creed II, is it’s screenplay by Stallone and Juel Taylor. This is undoubtedly a fresher take on the franchise, that has its formulaic beats, but yet draws each of its characters with such charm and specificity. The life outside the ring for Adonis is a haunted one, all of which the screenplay executes through all the highs and lows. But maybe the most intriguing characters of the film, are the Dragos. Who open this film with a silent mission of surviving together, as father and son. But in Creed II, the Dragos aren’t just the brooding intimidating silent types, they as well are fighting their own battles back home. They are given some of the spotlight too, and frankly they aren’t the villains here. As this film is more focused on each characters inner-demons and domestic battles, rather than solely the big fight.
- As mentioned earlier this film is formulaic, and gets a little too much like a rehash at times. But it’s the formulaic nature of the film that can hurt the emotional journey, as you’ll see most everything coming.