Creed II: Five Reasons You'll Love It
When Ryan Coogler's 2015 movie Creed hit cinema screens in 2015 it was a shot of adrenaline to a franchise that looked to be long beyond resuscitation. As much fun as Rocky Balboa was, Sylvester Stallone was clearly reaching an age where the physical exertion needed was difficult to maintain, and Michael B. Jordan's outstanding performance as the son of slain former world champion Apollo Creed proved to be a key factor in the Rocky story's resurrection, with Creed wowing critics and audiences alike.
With the movie being such a success, a sequel was inevitable and after an impressive performance at the box office when it opened in U.S. cinemas just over a week ago, today Creed II punches its way onto cinema screens in the UK.
This time we find an Adonis Creed who has learned from his defeat to Tony Bellew's gnarly champion 'Pretty' Ricky Conlon and risen through the ranks to claim the heavyweight title for himself. But he's about to face his toughest fight yet as an old name from the past resurfaces and presents a challenge that the young Creed cannot refuse.
Michael B. Jordan reprises his starring role as Adonis Creed, alongside Sylvester Stallone as the former champ-turned trainer Rocky Balboa and returning Creed stars Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad. New additions this time around include Dolph Lundgren and Romanian boxer Florian Munteanu. Steven Caple Jr. takes the reigns from Ryan Coogler to direct the sequel, working from a screenplay written by Stallone and Juel Taylor.
With the film in UK cinemas now we caught a screening and rounded up five reasons why we think you'll love Creed II...
Michael B. Jordan is back on sparkling form
Quite apart from the impressively pumped physique, Jordan's performance here is every bit as watchable as in the first film and even among excellent performances from Stallone and especially Tessa Thompson, Jordan stands head and shoulders above throughout.
The fight action is as gripping as ever
Boxing movies have done so much to raise their game in terms of realism in recent years and Creed II is no exception. The action is as mesmerising as any real fight and you'll be wincing along with every punch.
The soundtrack is excellent and cleverly utilised
As well as being immaculately curated, there are lots of other clever auditory tricks on offer here too, working Tessa Thompson's impressive musical talents into the storyline and throwing in tantalising flashes of that iconic Rocky theme tune at just the right moments.
The film cleverly draws on the Rocky story's history...
1985's Rocky IV was arguably the last really great Rocky movie before Creed arrived, set at the tail end of the Cold War and playing on the tensions between the political ideals of the U.S.A. and Soviet Russia, giving the rivalry between Rocky Balboa and the machine-like Ivan Drago an added resonance.
Bringing Drago back into the story via his monstrous boxer son Viktor feels like a masterstroke, adding a very different kind of resonance to the rivalry between the Creed and Drago dynasties that's purely - and deeply - personal.
...but it also represents a changing of the guard
There's a subtle but slightly melancholy undercurrent that runs throughout Creed II, which gives you the feeling that Sylvester Stallone senses that his days in - or even near - a boxing ring are numbered, but whether or not he reappears in a third Creed movie in the future, the story here serves both to draw a line under the past and usher in a new era where Creed – both as a character and a franchise – can stand on its own.
Creed II is in cinemas now and available to pre-order on DVD, Blu-ray and hmv exclusive 4K Steelbook here in our online store...