This second Creed movie is well made, well acted and enjoyable to watch. It also is a classic sequel in that it takes a popular original and then piles on More.
The original in this case is 2015’s Creed, a film I admired. “Creed” revived the Rocky franchise and gave it a fresh start.
The “Creed II” setup is this: Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) has trained with Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and put together a good boxing career. He wins the world heavyweight championship and proposes to his girlfriend Bianca (Tessa Thompson).
Meanwhile, in Ukraine, an old Rocky foe, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lungren), seethes. The Russian fighter killed Adonis’ father in a boxing match but then lost everything in Rocky IV and wants his son, Viktor (Florian Munteanu), to reclaim the family honor by defeating Adonis Creed.
Adonis wants to fight to avenge his father’s death. His adoptive mother, Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad) opposes the idea. Rocky refuses to participate. Both believe he wants to fight for the wrong reason. Adonis fights anyway. It does not go well.
Then Team Adonis reforms with a new sense of purpose and prepares for a final act, which, like the final act in “Rocky IV” is set in Moscow.
In addition to more old Rocky history, this movie has many more family themes. Adonis and his father, Adonis and his mother, Adonis and Bianca, Adonis and Bianca and their baby, Adonis and Rocky, Rocky missing his late wife, Rocky missing the son he no longer sees, Ivan and Viktor, both Dragos missing the wife and mother who abandoned them.
Again, the film works fine. Its theme — a gutty boxer with something to prove and people who matter to him — may draw new, younger fans to the loyal Rocky audiences who have been arguing for years about which is the best movie from that first six-film cycle.
But this movie, while good, is not great. The story is effective but offers nothing new, as the original “Creed” did.
The question is whether there is a perpetual audience for more movies with the same plot, with or without Michael B. Jordan and/or Sylvester Stallone