FEEDBACK: CREED 2 (2018)

POST Wrestling’s ROCKY reviews conclude this Tuesday with the release of our “Creed 2” review.

Wai Ting and I will be joined by Ed Boxler to review the sequel to Creed starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone.

Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, newly crowned heavyweight champion Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago.

Leave us your feedback for the show, which will be released on Tuesday, April 27 for all Patrons.

Imran from Huddersfield.

I’d say that whilst Creed 2 is a good film. it is also a considerably inferior to the first film, and certainly less memorable. Whether its through the story, the comparisons with Rocky 4, or the weight of expectation, Creed 2 just doesn’t quite have the magic that Creed has. Maybe the absence of Coogler is felt, though that’s not to say this is a badly directed film, and all the actors once again bring their A-games to their respective roles.

I do think this film could have spent more time with the Drago’s, as I found that aspect of the film just as interesting as Creed’s own story. The first time I saw the film I remember thinking that Viktor winning the end fight might have been the more compelling story, but on a re-watch I do actually think the ending works as it is and is one of the strongest part of the film.

Great job on the Rocky series guys, my nomination for your next series is the films of Scorsese, as John has said in the past that he’s a fan (though that’s 25 films so maybe pick and choose!)

When I first heard about rumblings of potential story-lines for a Creed sequel, both seemed like bizarre choices for a direction.

They were this one, which Stallone compared to The Godfather 2:

From Variety -

Coogler and Stallone have already developed ideas for the new “Creed.” One version of the story would take place in the past, which would mean — in a surprise that would energize the franchise’s fans — bringing back Carl Weathers to play Apollo Creed, who died in 1985’s “Rocky IV.” “Ryan has some ideas of going forward and backward and actually seeing Rocky and Apollo together,” Stallone revealed. “Think of ‘The Godfather 2.’ That’s what he was thinking of, which was kind of ambitious.” Stallone said he’d recently bumped into Weathers, who looked like he was still in good shape. “I can’t believe I got in the ring with him,” he says. “Even if it was play fighting.”*

'Creed' Sequel Could Reunite Rocky, Apollo - Variety

And this other idea that would harken back to Rocky IV, from the same Variety article…

Another option would be a linear story with Apollo’s son Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) taking on another challenger. “You’ll have him face a different opponent, which I would say is a more ferocious, big Russian,” Stallone says. “You can start to meld my experiences and then you start to bring different cultures into it. And you can see what’s happening with the Russians today in America. The complication will come with the girl’s ambition, because she’s not Adrian. She has places to go, things to see, the clock is running on her hearing.”

Out of those two ideas, I’m not sure which one seem less inspired. Both seemed to be at complete odds with what made Creed so great. These were looking back to the series and moving backwards, as oppose to the inspired Coogler film.

Thankfully, I was wrong in my judgement.

Creed 2, at its core is a beautiful meditation on fatherhood, and their relationships with children.

I absolutely adored Creed, and think it’s perhaps tied for best film of the whole franchise. Much like the previous film, it is a another thoughtful, and wonderful movie. I honestly wasn’t sure where things would go, and emotionally, I was very satisfied.

Creed 2 combines elements of two beloved entries, Rocky III (Donnie losing his Championship, and having to regain his “Eye of the Tiger”, if you will), and Rocky IV (obvious story line connections, and what I would like to think are some tribute montages).

While the film definitely has tons of “fan service”, it never seems gimmicky, and manages to deliver a genuine film experience of its own.

Michael B. Jordan has so much depth and plays the character so well. I look forward to hopefully several more chapters in Creed’s story. I’m not sure where the story will go, but I am excited to watch.
One personal hope would see Donnie go out on his own terms, and retire in a film or two. Doing what his own father and his mentor could not do. Happily retire, and enjoy his family.

So, where do you want to see the franchise go, as Jordan himself readies to step into the director’s chair on the next chapter?

Personal current ranking of the series:

  1. Rocky / Creed (tie)
  2. Rocky Balboa
  3. Creed 2
  4. Rocky 3
  5. Rocky 4
  6. Rocky 2
  7. Rocky 5

I love both Creed films but I dont think I’m being harsh when I say the second pales in comparison to the first. Coogler was sorely missed here. A lot of small touches like a short bio for every fighter during a freeze frame or an entire fight filmed in one shot are the kinds of things that separated the first Creed film from the Rocky franchise for me. Made it feel like it’s own thing without divorcing itself completely from Rocky. Creed II feels more like a Rocky movie to me.

One thing I think this movie did better than the first is Donnie’s opponent. Donnie will never have a relationship with his father but still wants to make him proud. Viktor also lost a parent, but in a completely different way. The difference is he can make her proud AND repair his relationship with her. Something Donnie will never have a chance at doing. So near the end of the fight when it’s clear Viktor is losing and he looks up to where his mother was sitting and see she’s gone… you can see the hurt on his face and in that moment it’s hard not to root for him to win. This movie took cartoon characters from Rocky IV and humanized them. Ivan embracing his son and still being there for him in defeat is one of the most touching moments of the series.

I already talked to Wai about it but I’m gonna say it again! Do the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit series next!

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After watching this movie, I had no desire to see another one featuring Creed but really wanted to see more of the Drago story, both father and son. Hopefully, it happens, though I’ve heard nothing about such a movie.