“Creed II” offers up an interesting question: is this movie a sequel for “Creed” or “Rocky IV?” It is a trick question offered by the film. “Creed II” is actually a sequel meant for both “Creed” and “Rocky IV;” continuing the story of the Creed and Drago bloodlines. The movie does a good job of recapping what happened in “Rocky IV” for those who have never seen it, and viewers can see “Creed II” and learn the history as the plot thickens.
The opening of the movie doesn’t focus on Adonis Creed. Rather, it looks at the life of Viktor Drago. Florian Munteanu, who plays Viktor, is a massive man in the film and is quite literally 75 pounds heavier than Creed. Nobody is a match in the ring with Drago since he’s been trained by his father, Ivan Drago, who killed Creed’s father in the ring long ago.
The film moves quickly after the title screen and puts its main character into focus. Creed rematches Danny Wheeler from the first movie to take back his Mustang. The next scene sets up the entire plot of the film: Creed vs. Drago. If anyone remembers Rocky climbing to the top of the stairs in the original franchise, Viktor and Ivan Drago walk up those same stairs. The symbolism presented in this scene connects the “Rocky” and “Creed” franchises beautifully.
There is nothing more beautiful than Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren sharing a scene of dialogue for the first time since Rocky defeated Drago in Russia. Stallone and Lundgren have been in many movies together, but this film brought a different tone between the two. The movie, tries to be as realistic as possible, and Stallone and Lundgren help in making the film feel real.
Speaking of reality, the fight scenes of “Creed II” were impressive to the point where a viewer can hear the sound of broken ribs. Each punch is heard, each fall is heart-pounding and the music behind it all captures the moment.
Ludwig Göransson composed the score of “Creed II,” continuing his work from the first “Creed,” which is wrapped around all the dramatic moments. But it is his music during Creed’s body being reborn that is spectacular. Every “Creed” and “Rocky” movie has a workout montage and “Creed II” does not disappoint. The score also adds a little flare of the classic “Rocky” music in the final fight for viewers to enjoy.
The outstanding performer in “Creed II” was Tessa Thompson. Thompson, who plays Bianca, Creed’s fiancée, evolves in this movie because of her music and becoming a mother. She adds depth to her character by performing before Creed enters the ring and caring for her hearing-impaired daughter. She plays her role very well, and true chemistry can be seen between her and her co-star, Michael B. Jordan.
Overall, “Creed II” is a predictable sequel for both “Creed” and “Rocky IV,” but it still packs a punch. I was impressed by the film’s ability to be as realistic as possible. Additionally, “This Is Us” viewers will catch a surprise at the end of “Creed II.”