Friday, September 25, 2020

Creed II: A Triumph and True Successor

REEL REVIEWS

“Creed II” was a much more enjoyable film than I was expecting.

“Creed II” follows Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the son of Apollo Creed, as he finally takes the title of the Heavyweight World Champion thanks to the support of his coach and mentor: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). As Adonis begins to enjoy his new life, Rocky tries to return to his, only to find himself reunited with an old rival: Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), the former heavyweight champion of Soviet Russia, and the boxer responsible for the death of Apollo Creed in “Rocky IV.” Drago has returned to America to reclaim his lost fame and glory by having his son Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu) challenge Apollo’s son. Despite Rocky’s wishes, Adonis eventually agrees to the fight in order to defend his name and title. The only question everyone is wondering now is will Adonis be able to defeat the offspring of the man who took his father’s life, or is history doomed to repeat itself?

Despite being the sequel to the first film, “Creed II” is arguably the eighth film in the “Rocky” franchise. What’s ironic is much of the plot for the most recent film stems from events in “Rocky IV,” a film considered by many to be when the series began to overstay its welcome. The fourth movie possesses a number of flaws and goofy moments, and a story that can be summed up as: Rocky battles a Soviet Super-Boxer. However, despite its problems, “Rocky IV” was a fun movie with a fantastic soundtrack and a tragic story with the death of Apollo. If it wasn’t for that film, we might never have gotten the 2015 hit spin-off “Creed,” and its recent sequel.

“Creed II” was a much more enjoyable film than I was expecting. When it was first announced, I half expected the movie to turn into a glorified revenge story, yet it never did. If anything, the film is more about passing on the torch then about revenge. From one side, we have Rocky Balboa passing the torch to Adonis as we follow him trying to figure out what to do with his new life, the fame, and mantle placed on his shoulders, and the powerful opponent he has to face. From the other side, we have Ivan Drago passing the torch to his son as he takes up the mantle as the powerful opponent trying to take on the champion and claim his fame.

Despite being the overall villain of the fourth film, “Creed II” tries to show Drago from a different light. While one could make the argument that his actions can be seen as selfish, and even bitter, he’s not without sound reason. We actually see what has become of Drago’s life after the events of “Rocky IV.” With the Soviet Union debunked, and his loss hanging over his name, Drago has taken on the role of both a father and coach as he turns his own son into a powerful fighter, and in a way, an instrument to reclaim the life of fame he lost to Rocky. So, I applaud the film for adding more to Drago’s character and trying to humanize him. Plus, even after all these years, Dolph Lundgren still is able to pull off an imposing presence as Drago.

“Creed II” is rated PG-13 for sports action-violence, language, and a scene of sensuality. The whole movie can be described like a boxing match. It’s a long fight, with numerous moments when we see our hero fall, yet even when the odds are against him, he gets back up and battles till the triumphant end. That’s what I and many fans love most about the “Rocky” films, they capture the feeling of triumph—and “Creed II” continues this trend. Which is why the final score for “Creed II” is an 8 out of 10.

Marco Island resident and avid moviegoer, Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a bachelor’s degree in science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. In his four years at Lynn, Matthew managed to achieve Magna Cum Laude status, earn three publications in the Lynn University magazine, make a short documentary featured in the university’s Film Festival, and created a radio PSA that was later broadcasted overseas.

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