'Creed 2': A Knock-Out Non-Spoiler Review
Stellar performances from Jordan and Stallone respectively, delivered the punch we needed...right to the heart. So to speak.
I grew up watching Friday Night Fight Night with my father avidly, this coupled with the fact that I am a dedicated fan of Michael B. Jordan posed a challenge to not be biased. If anything, I was more critical. In addition, there was anticipation and hype that Creed 2 had to live up to. Both resting on the, clearly defined, shoulders of Jordan and Sylvester Stallone. The hype of course, was to live up to not only the first Creed instalment, but to the Rocky franchise and overall legacy. If you are wondering, it definitely did and I pulled no punches in this review!
"There was anticipation and hype..."
When we last left our hero...
Creed 2 picks up three years after the fight against "Pretty" Ricky Conlan where Adonis made his name and earned the respect of being worthy of the name "Creed". Adonis "Donny" Creed now finds himself faced with a heavy-weight world championship title and along with defending his newly acquired title, a challenge to his father's legacy which may prove to be his biggest challenge yet in and out of the ring.
The challenge you ask? Ivan Drago's son, Viktor, portrayed by new comer, Florian Munteanu, who in real life is a professional boxer himself. You can't say the casting director didn't earn his salary! If the name "Drago" is new or you need some help to refresh your memory, Ivan Drago was the man who faced Apollo Creed (Adonis' father) in his last fight which resulted in Apollo's death in Rocky IV. Rocky alum Dolph Lundgren, reprises his role as Drago.
Protagonist of the story with unresolved daddy issues faced with the opportunity to avenge his father through a literal boxing match? Someone get me more popcorn!
Two words, Tessa Thompson.
Casting and performances.
Now if you are still reading, congratulations, you've made it to the best part. Two words, Tessa Thompson. Reprising her role of "Bianca Taylor" from the first instalment, Thompson delivers an anchoring performance as the voice of reason to our hero while also doing her character justice in terms of character progression and layers. I've been a fan of hers from works such as the biopic "Selma" to the more commercial work such as "Thor:Rangnarok".
Why her performance is commended not only for her acting chops, but also for her voice in redefining the female role in modern cinema. In present day, the role of actresses have moved on from mere "damsels in distress" and being ancillary counterparts to being grounded, strong and non-conforming.
Her character of course shows her support and encouragement to Adonis, but also bears the voice of reason and addresses the elephant in room of history repeating itself with the fight against Drago and confronts him about the real reason behind this fight and what it could mean for his family. I promised no spoilers, so enough on that. Last thing, Thompson has an amazing voice and I am grateful we got to hear it again. Catch her in next summers Men in Black spin off, MIB, alongside Ragnarok, co-star, Chris Hemsworth.
A special mention needs to be given to the director for the original movie score. You can expect the classic Rocky, theme music just when you need it the most and some more 21st century tracks like Jaden Smith's "Icon".
Thompson as Bianca Taylor Creed.
The man himself, Balboa.
The magic of Stallone.
I am sure I know what you are thinking. "If this is a Rocky movie, why hasn't he mentioned Sylvester Stallone?" I aim to please. There is no doubt that the success of both Creed instalments and the overall Rocky franchise had something to do with the man himself, Balboa. Time after time, Stallone delivers a genuine and captivating performance reprising the role multiple times, yet still showing character progression and depth to create a character we all can relate to and look up to.
Rocky helps Adonis not only to become the boxer he was destined to be, but also to help face his fears regarding his father's legacy and not repeating the mistakes of the past. Let's not forget also making him train in the desert and do shadow boxing under water in a swimming pool. Who knew "tough love", would be so, well tough? For all this Mr. Stallone, we salute you!
Stallone stated he would be hanging up his gloves, so to speak, after this instalment.
Stallone as Rocky Balboa.
The knock out punch...
There you have it folks, if you were not reading between the lines earlier, Creed 2 is an amazing movie filled with heart and action. If you love boxing, underdog stories or both, do yourself a favour and book your tickets now. If you are feeling nostalgic or want to do some move buff preparation before you see it, take a look at the original Rocky franchise and Creed movie.
As for me you ask? I am on my way to the gym to do some shadow boxing and I leave you with my Creed 2 Ka-Pow! score below.
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© 2018 Kedan Pentia