Creed 2 movie review: Michael B Jordan powers this sports drama with incredibly choreographed boxing matches

Even if you have not seen the previous Creed, you could still jump right into this film and enjoy it just the same.

Mihir Fadnavis November 30, 2018 11:25:24 IST

3/5

A sequel that works as well as the original? Surely we are living in the twilight zone. Whether this is real or not, you are definitely invited to enjoy the ride – because Creed 2 packs as many emotional and thriller punches as you need and more. It is the quintessential feel good movie – full of Bollywood style drama and masala, anchored by a plot ludicrous enough to to keep you entertained with the sheer star power of Michael B Jordan and incredibly choreographed boxing matches.

Creed 2 movie review Michael B Jordan powers this sports drama with incredibly choreographed boxing matches

This image released by Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures shows Florian Munteanu , left, and Michael B. Jordan in a scene from "Creed II." (Barry Wetcher/Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

Some time has passed since the original film. Creed (played by Jordan of course) is a heavyweight champion newly married to Bianca (Tessa Thompson). Creed needs to move to Los Angeles but in order to do so, he has to leave his mentor Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) behind. Meanwhile, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) pops up from the badlands of Ukraine, this time with his even more ferocious looking son Viktor (Florian Munteanu) and baits for a rematch. The fans of the original Rocky films would of course remember that Ivan was the one responsible for Creed Sr’s death, so Creed Jr has a personal battle to win this time.

Now here is where Creed 2 becomes a better movie than expected – director Steven Caple Jr, stepping into Ryan Coogler’s shoes, handles the Drago aspects with a lot of control over the material, as opposed to the somewhat cartoonish vibe of Drago in the original film. There is a proper character arc for Viktor. Even though some things like his abandonment issues are hackneyed, they seem like real-world issues instead of Hollywood’s proclivity for showcasing a Russian villain with a Red Scare T-shirt. This is also a film that exists on its own without the need to continue into further chapters. Even if you have not seen the previous Creed, you could still jump right into this film and enjoy it just the same.

Then there is the element of, and this is the only phrase to describe it, the ass kicking. There is plenty of that here – if you enjoyed the single take from the previous movie, there is one moment that serves as a homage and a small attempt to take things even further. We do, after all, watch the Rocky-Creed movies for all the face punching, and the ultimate Creed vs Drago match, coming right after a series of energetic training sequences and a few smaller clashes between the two, is satisfyingly brutal. We have seen a lot of boxing movies by now, and it is a testament to Caple Jr’s direction that he brings a fresh visual style to the bone crunching, and emotional ups and downs, even though you know who is going to win in the end.

It is nice to see Tessa Thompson playing another strong female character in what a decade ago would have been a filler woman role in a manly man-centric story. There is genuine attention paid to the dynamics between Bianca and Creed, and the anxiety she feels for her husband, translates into a very potent audience response. Jordan is predictably great and Florian makes a good impression by grounding a campy great big Eastern European baddie character in reality with gravitas. There is no reason you should not be seeing this movie in theaters right away. The only thing you need to be wary of is the cut to the interval may prove frustrating because the midpoint contains a seriously thrilling buildup.

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