Creed 2: Review by Kush Hayes
I loved the first Creed in 2015. It was a perfect extension of The Rocky franchise that was entering its 40th year. You were introduced to a flawed human being who was alone in the world with no identity. From there we watch his growth and evolution from an angry adolescent to a fully formed adult who was able to get past his own demons. And everyones favorite underdog, Rocky Balboa is back taking on his greatest challenge: Cancer. It was a great movie and Id have given it “Five out of Six blueberries” if Kush And Kai was around then.
Now we have Creed 2 and it is every bit a sequel, not just to Creed, not just to Rocky, but it suffers from just trying to do the same thing “but make it slightly different”. Normally I just bang these reviews out (could you tell?) after I see the movie, but I needed to sit and think and reflect on what I just saw. Its very similar to what I experienced after seeing Star Trek Into Darkness.
Ill expand on that comment in a bit and if you go back into the audio archives of Kush and Kai you’ll hear my thoughts on that edition of Star Trek.
While Creed 2 is very much a crowd pleaser, meaning the crowd I saw it with cheered and clapped at moments of victory in this film, its narrative is scattered and unfocused.
I think we should get the negatives out of the way and work towards the positives.
Heres what I didnt like:
This is trying to follow the formula of the original Rocky Series yet it makes some incredible jumps in time. What does that mean?
When we left Creed, he lost the decision but he won the fight. Hes on his way to becoming a real boxer with an actual chance at becoming a World Champion. And yet instead of seeing his next struggle to that World Title, and all the drama that comes with it, we are just thrust into that event. While I love that its Andre Ward reprising his character from the first movie as Stuntman, the boxer who won Adonis car, they just fight, and Creed overpowers him, the end. Or I guess in this case, the beginning. The opening of this movie should have been the climax. We should see Stuntman taunting and making Creeds challenge for the title as dramatic as you can make it. Instead its just a footnote.
I suppose we should be glad they didnt cast Benedict Cumberbatch as Clubber Lang Jr.
NitPick: We see Tessa Thompsons character Bianca has her music career at its height, Creed is enjoying her performance and then enter shady promoter, who to be far isnt shady or crooked in this movie, hes just the conduit for the plot to move forward. Anyway we see the promoter distract Creed from watching his fiance perform to her biggest crowd.
It makes for a layer of drama, but whereas these characters were real in the last movie, Creed never tells him to kick rocks, or “we can talk about this when my wife isnt performing” - The scene is as unrealistic as Bianca performing Creeds entrance theme for the movies final showdown in Russia.
Bianca at some point is pregnant and what should be another human moment for these two characters to grow together, is just overshadowed by everything and anyone else. In fact when she does go into labor, youre surprised that its really been 9 months already.
When its time for Creeds redemption arch Rocky, the man who never leaves Philly, somehow is the only one who knows about this intense boxing camp out in the New Mexico desert, yet never explains why he knows about it, or why it even exists philosophically. Seeing as we got both of these in the last movie, youd think theyd repeat it as well this time around.
The Dragos. My biggest beef with them is that theyre using these characters to use the nostalgia gimmick on us and for the most part it works, but its also too early to use these two. And if you have to make it about them, and you have to request this level of sympathy for them, then they need to be a bigger focus of the movie. Hell, they may need to be the movie. Maybe this should have been Viktor Dragos movie with him meeting Adonis Creed in a third movie?
Then theres Creeds broken ribs… but we are running out of space and overall I have to chalk it up to dude-fantasy.
Kush, you said you were going to explain the stuff you did like too, what are the positives of this movie?
I like that this movie and series knows how to manipulate its audiences emotions to the point where if theyre not cheering during a fight, dudes in the crowd are trying to hold back tears. You know this by the awkward sniffs and snorts from the darkness. I have to laugh at the audience at times as well as at myself.
The bond between father and child is a huge theme throughout the narrative and it makes for some good drama, and may even get you in the feels.
Despite not understanding why we’re in the desert, its a great series on montages.
The weight our titular character is carrying on his shoulders feels real after his first encounter with the Junior Drago.
I like the few scenes we do have of the Dragos and think if they were going to go this far should have carried it further.
I loved the reunion between Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa at his restaurant. You feel the tension in the room before we even see Rocky enter the scene.
Phylicia Rashad makes you wish they gave her more scenes as she helps navigate her son into getting ready for the fight as well as being a new parent. One negative of her character in this is shes become very cool with him being a fighter, or at least her tolerance for it has increased greatly.
As I type this out Im enjoying what they do different with Bill Contis original Theme From Rocky in the score composed by Ludwig Göransson.
I feel like I could sit here for a few days and just go over this again and again, and then at some point I may even end up spoiling the movie.
To sum it up, This is Rocky 3 plus Rocky 4, jumping directly over Rocky 2. Its all the best parts of those, but its not a coherent mix.
I want to give some of this movie 4 blueberries, and most of it only 2 blueberries. So we have to meet in the middle with:
Three out of Six Blueberries.