Spoiler-Free Review: Can ‘Creed II’ Live up to Its Excellent First Outing in 2015? Let’s Find Out!

For Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) life has become increasingly difficult with having tried to balance his personal life and training for future fights. This time he’s up against his greatest challenge yet. This next opponent he must face in the ring has personal ties with his family. In Adonis’ corner, the retired boxing legend Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is there to guide him in ways no one else could. Throughout this film, Adonis must walk his own path and discover what he’s fighting for.

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Perfect Pacing

This is quite a lengthy film, but it didn’t seem long at all. Every scene seemed to have importance to the overall film. It was something I noticed pretty early on in the film as well. When the hour mark hit I realized that this wasn’t just a cash grab. There’s a story to be told here and it’s worth seeing it come to fruition. Not to mention everyone in the cast had their moment to shine and no one overstayed their welcome.

It’s not often that the antagonist gets a ton of screen time without the star of the film. This movie establishes at the beginning that Adonis and his upcoming opponent have lived very different lives. They both have had rough lives, but Adonis’ life doesn’t even compare. Ever since he was young all his opponent has known is fighting and this leads to an interesting conflict. The pacing does not disappoint here because without this is just another boxing match the build-up is key and the director, Steven Caple Jr. understands that. 

Who Says Love Ruins Films?

Adonis and his partner Bianca (Tessa Thompson) must be mentioned in every review of this film. Their relationship is one of the best parts of this picture and there’s plenty of reasons this holds true. They feel like a real couple first off and both of their acting skills are displayed in a beautiful form in this 2-hour outing. They both have their own things going on and I think that was the correct choice. Bianca doesn’t seem like the kind of person to let Adonis work and she would just take care of the house. She’s a strong female character who doesn’t need the whole world to know that she’s a strong female character.

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The World’s Best Coach

If I didn’t mention Rocky and how good he was in this film I’d be doing Sylvester Stallone a disservice. Some of the best scenes in this entire film star Rocky and Adonis. Their relation is truly tough to match. Everyone knows how much Adonis means to Rocky and in this movie, I feel like Stallone’s acting has gotten better. He could’ve easily phoned this in but he has a plethora of emotional scenes that he perfects because of his acting skill.

Seeing these movies come full circle has to be mentioned as well. With Rocky as Adonis’ coach it still seems weird, but in a good way. I grew up watching the Rocky films so it’s odd to see him as an old man training someone to do something he was the champ of decades ago. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way if Stallone wasn’t able to reprise his role in this film it definitely wouldn’t have been a must see for me.

Intense, Bloody, Brutal Fighting!

This film does not hold back in the ring for a second. The boxing in this film is done, unlike any other fighting scene I’ve seen in recent history. With long takes that show you every blow to say I was pleased by it would be an understatement. I felt the punches land when they were thrown and at times it even caused me to flinch after a big hit. The sound design is incredible throughout the picture and camera work is excellent.

Conclusion

While the plot is predictable it is also enjoyable and just because it’s predictable doesn’t mean that the film is bad. The actors make this film more interesting just with all of their wonderful performances. Creed’s relationship with Rocky and Bianca certainly takes the cake for being the most entertaining characters to see on screen. They make this film ascend to levels I don’t think to would if Stallone and Thompson weren’t in this cast. Never in the film was I irritated because a certain character was around longer than they should’ve been. The pacing was just right which was a worry of mine before I decided to see the picture. It feels realistic the boxing life seems exciting, but it takes a lot of preparation. The fighters prepare months in advance before they’re ready to step in the ring with their opponent.

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Finally, the movie is a marvel technically as well with its expert sound design and great camera work. In a boxing film, sound design is important it’s crucial to be able to feel the punches being thrown and you do here. The camera work isn’t something to scoff at either. Generally, I remember a few camera shots during a film and that’s because they stood out to me. Time and time throughout this movie I was surprised by the great camera work. This film is an unreal sequel that I had the pleasure to see in theaters. I wholeheartedly recommend this to Rocky fans and newcomers as well with the need to see a quality film.

Verdict 9 out of 10 stars

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