By Cynthia Bujnicki
“Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, heavyweight contender Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago.” —IMDB
Excellent movie. What makes Creed such a great film is the fact that it has moved on from the past but respects, honors it, alludes to and builds off from it. It uses the past to grow from to define and build its own story. The storytelling it is on point and it shows the audiences that villain, it gives the villain more depth so that it’s not just a copy of Rocky IV. There Ivan Drago was just the Russian villain, the boxer without morals. It was symbolic for sure, with the Russians being the communist bad guy against American freedom and democracy, but that’s another reason why Creed II is more impactful than that film, why it is superior to it.
Ivan and his son were driven out of Russia for his father’s loss, Ivan’s wife leaving both her husband and her son out of embarrassment. They are looked down upon, cast away as failures. This film is as much a redemption film for them as it is a growth film for Creed. To show this to the audiences breaks away from the formula of the previous film. Whereas the previous film was all about Creed accepting and trying to live up to his father’s legacy, this film in a way recreates that for Ivan. By breaking up the film and going back and forth from Viktor’s life to Creed’s lifestyles, juxtaposes their living situations, their upbringing and the way they both live in the shadow of their fathers is so different. Drago’s life is quiet, it’s bleak and cold, harsh and raw. His life is all rage and abandonment, a quest to undo the damage brought on by his father loss. For Creed, his life is colorful, it’s full of love and support, life and noise. Creed has grown up knowing love, knowing support.
The audience already knows Creed, but now they are learning who Drago is, seeing behind the raw brutality that defined him. And through this the audience feels sympathy for Drago. He’s so determined to break Creed that he feels to see just how broken he is. Or rather, maybe he sees how broken he is because of Rocky and Creed’s legacy and wants to break those that broke his father. It is impactful and a worthy sequel to Creed and Rocky franchise.
For Creed, this film is all about escaping from his fathers’ shadow and his death in the ring that has hung over him all his life. He is on this mission to grow as a person and escape that shadow of a doubt that has always been over him. He discovers why he is a boxer and why he is fighting, who he is fighting for. His character grows throughout the film in a mesmerizing way and it makes both him and the film stronger. (★★★★☆ | A)
Directed by Steven Caple Jr.
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures