“Creed II” Packs A Punch, But Is Hardly The Knockout That Its Predecessor Was


Barry Wetcher

C2_08459_R Florian Munteanu stars as Viktor Drago and Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed in CREED II, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures film. Credit: Barry Wetcher / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures © 2018 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

By Sebastian Hunt, The Forum's Head Writer Of Film & TV


The original Creed was, in addition to being a great film, something of a miracle. By the time it debuted, the Rocky franchise had already enjoyed a satisfying conclusion in 2006’s Rocky Balboa. Revisiting already-concluded franchises can lead to disaster – fans of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Terminator will second on that. And yet, Creed managed not only to meet expectations but exceed them, delivering easily the best film of the franchise since the 1976 original.

There isn’t one thing that made Creed great – but one of the biggest contributors was its subversion of the typical Rocky formula. Sure, broad strokes of the formula were certainly there, but Creed remembered something about Rocky that none of its sequels (save for Rocky Balboa) did: Rocky is a drama first, boxing film second.

Unfortunately, Creed II adheres to rather than subverts said formula, which makes it a lesser experience than the original. It’s not a bad film, not by any means – it’s just not much better than say, Rocky III.

Fans of the original series will likely be attracted to this film due to the return of several prominent Rocky characters – most notably Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago. Lundgren is clearly having a ball reprising Drago, but the film underuses him greatly. Hints of complexity are occasionally shown, but all in all, Drago is just onscreen for too little time to make an impact.

Same goes for his son, Florian Munteanu’s Viktor Drago – Munteanu isn’t a very good actor, but that’s not the issue (in my book, the only qualifications for a good Rocky villain is a large build and distinctive look). Rather, he’s just too underdeveloped, most of which deriving from a lack of screentime. As a result, Munteanu, despite being physically imposing, fails to compel and ends up being a pretty disposable antagonist.

But please, don’t let all of these negative words turn you off Creed II entirely. As a boxing film, it certainly delivers. Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, and the rest of the cast all do stupendous jobs, the direction is excellent, the script solid, and the boxing scenes are series-best.

Creed II is a good boxing film. But that’s all it is – thus, anyone searching for the narrative richness of Rocky or Creed might be disappointed.

Ratings Key:

★ – Bad (e.g., Godzilla ‘98, Pixels, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Justice League)

★★ – Mediocre (e.g., Incredibles 2, Watchmen, Alice in Wonderland, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle)

★★★ – Good (e.g., Creed II, Batman, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Pretty In Pink, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective)

★★★★ – Great (e.g., Jurassic Park, The Empire Strikes Back, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Social Network)

★★★★★ – Amazing (e.g., Dr. Strangelove, The Terminator, The Dark Knight, Back to the Future, Skyfall)