“Creed II” does a great job at helping create a new franchise from the classic and much beloved “Rocky” franchise.
“Creed II” picks up not long after the events of “Creed.” Adonis Creed has become an established boxer and is competing for the title of heavyweight champion of the world, a position previously held by his father, Apollo Creed, and his trainer, Rocky Balboa.
After winning the title, Creed proposes to his girlfriend, and is ready to begin a new chapter in his life, including becoming a father. However, for the past 30 years, former Soviet Union boxing champion Ivan Drago — still angered over his loss to Rocky, which cost him the respect of his country and wife — has been training his son Viktor to become the heavyweight champion of the world.
Wanting to regain his lost respect, Ivan sets up a fight between Creed and Viktor. Creed wants to accept the fight to avenge his father, who was killed by Ivan. But Rocky, having fought Ivan himself, refuses to train Creed on the grounds that he isn’t fighting for the right reasons. After a disqualification ends the fight early, Creed eventually makes amends with Rocky and begins training for a rematch.
“Creed II” serves an amalgamation of “Rocky II”, “Rocky III” and “Rocky IV.” Much of Creed’s personal growth, such as becoming a father and getting engaged, comes from “Rocky II”, while his eventual loss and return to fight again is from “Rocky III”. However, the main antagonist, Ivan and Viktor Drago, along with the threat that they pose, stem from “Rocky IV.”
“Creed II” also reintroduces the audience to the most iconic “Rocky” antagonist, Ivan Drago. The film, however, sheds Drago in a more sympathetic light than “Rocky IV” did. This is most likely due to the change in times, as “Rocky IV” was released in 1985 at the height of the Cold War, which has long since ended. We now see Drago as a man who lost his country and home after losing to Rocky.
Overall, “Creed II” is a decent movie. However, it feels like it hits many of the same notes popularized by the “Rocky” franchise, such as the environmental-based training montage and the fallout and eventual reunion of Rocky and his protégé. And while these are still entertaining, it’s something that has been done multiple times.
While “Creed II” is an engaging movie, it’s very reminiscent of all the other “Rocky” movies. However, it still manages to get the audience feeling good, even though everyone knows what the outcome will be.