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Review: Creed II

Michael B. Jordan stars in MGM and Warner Bros. Pictures' CREED II

There were a ton of questions surrounding Creed II. That’s primarily because Ryan Coogler was able to direct or write due to his work on Black Panther. Taking his place as the director is Steven Caple Jr. I didn’t know much about him beforehand, but I was just hoping that he would be able to come in and help deliver a thrilling boxing movie about the characters that we’ve come to care about over time. In the end, I think he was able to accomplish that task, but its blemishes don’t allow it to reach the levels it could have.

After his fierce battle with “Pretty” Ricky Conlan, we catch up with Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) a couple of years later as he attempts to manage the changes in his personal life as well as his promising career in boxing. As he looks to continue his ascent to the top of the fight game, an opponent with ties to his family’s past is rising up with the hopes of knocking him off and staking claim to what he feels belongs to him and his own family. As things develop, it becomes more obvious that this is more than just a fight concerning the past. It’s also about the present and all that lies ahead.

I found Creed II to have too much music and to be too stylized at times. This may not be a huge deal for most people, but this gets to me regardless of what form of entertainment I’m watching. I understand the need for music, but in some instances, you just have to let what’s being shown play out on its own. Like life, that’s all you need sometimes because emotion can usually be carried out by what’s happening in the story.

A major reason why you watch any boxing or Rocky movie is the fighting. This has been something that’s been a strong point in this franchise even though it’s been a bit cartoon-like at certain times. These scenes are where you get an opportunity to really put you’re all into a boxing movie. Everything builds up to these moments because you know they’re coming and there’s an obvious build up leading us to them. In this installment, what we get here is good, but the scenes don’t actually last as long as they usually do.

All of the fights that we spend any decent amount of time with are thrilling spectacles that help guide the story to where it needs to be. The way they’re filmed, you’re able to get a strong sense of what’s taking place. You also get to feel the pain and emotion of what’s being done at that moment. Although some of it is a bit overdramatized, most of this is quality storytelling. As I said, the issue comes with the scenes ending too quickly. That’s especially true for the final fight.

As I was getting into it more and more, I also began to realize it was about to end quicker than I wanted to. Thanks to some strong acting and storytelling, this battle was getting pretty good. The problem was the realization that the fight was reaching its conclusion at a rapid pace was creeping into my head. At this point, a part of me was saying “no” because I did like what I was being handed. Ultimately, it’s a good scrap that left me satisfied, but I just wanted to indulge in it a bit more than I was allowed to.

Even though Creed II isn’t on the level of Creed, there’s one place where it proves itself to be better. Although the cinematography was fine in that 2015 hit, it’s a step above in this sequel. This time, it helps drum up the emotion of specific scenes whether they’re in or out of the ring. That’s always welcome whenever that can be done, but this movie, in particular, needed that when looking at the film as a whole. Although I enjoyed the movie, this is where the negatives reveal themselves.

While this certainly outdoes Coogler’s Creed in terms of cinematography, it lags behind in the storytelling department. In short, Creed II doesn’t have the polish of the film that preceded it. I found it to be too drawn out at times and too surreal during other periods. There’s a clear attempt to make this emotional and dramatic, but sometimes it ends up feeling too forced. This is what prevents this from being as great as it could have been.

I guess you can also say it was missing some of the chemistry between Adonis and Rocky as well. This isn’t because this is a negative combination when they’re on-screen together though. I only say this because this movie put more focus on Adonis Creed this time around. Although I missed the two performing together as much as they did the first time, this works as well since Jordan really settles into the character he’s grown into.

It’s good to see actors get this chance since they’re usually able to develop and get more comfortable the more they play a specific character. That’s what Jordan had the ability to do here as he creates a more mature version of the ambitious young man we met a few years ago. Along with the rest of the cast (including professional boxer Florian Munteanu who isn’t asked to do much acting outside of the ring), this works within the construct of the film and strengthens what we get in the final cut.

Once the movie ended, I started to wonder how they could possibly continue the series. Honestly, I don’t know if they can. This ended in a way that wraps everything up, so there really isn’t a need to move forward with more. Of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t make more. If Creed II pleases fans and makes money, there will likely be another one. The fan in me wouldn’t mind that if they could make it work, but there really isn’t any reason to keep this going since this leaves on a very fulfilling note.

In conclusion, I want to say that I loved this movie all around, but I’m simply unable to. The reason behind me not being able to do so is that it tries too hard at times and contains some obvious issues. In spite of that, I was still delighted with most what was giving to us by the team who put this project together. It may not be a fantastic picture, but Creed II is a serviceable boxing movie that will almost certainly please the crowd primarily because its positive attributes far outweigh its negatives.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Steven Caple Jr.

Cast:
Michael B. Jordan
Sylvester Stallone
Tessa Thompson
Florian Munteanu
Phylicia Rashad
Dolph Lundgren
Wood Harris
Andre Ward

Film Length: 117 minutes

Release Date: November 21, 2018

Distributor: MGM Pictures

  • Score - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
7.5/10
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