Wednesday, March 1, 2023

In Retrospect: Creed II

I know some people consider this to be Rocky IV: Part Deux, but there's more to it than that.

If I'm being real honest I didn't ever expect them to pull out the Drago card this early, if anything between the release of Creed and before the trailers started coming out for Creed II, I figured the resolution of that 30 odd year conflict would be like the finale to the Creed series. Cause it really feels resolved but I feel not really in the way many people would think. This movie focuses almost exclusively on the drama aspect, these character's baggage, why exactly they want this fight to happen and I greatly appreciate the shift between the solution of these movies. Before the solution to Ivan Drago was to beat him down for the death of Apollo in an almost vendetta story, to defeat this massive oppresive Russian menace to our American boxing sport. But nowadays, it's just more complicated and I can truthfully see 2 points audience members can take from this: 1. This movie does not give clean cut reasons and explanations for why Adonis wants to fight Viktor Drago because I don't think even he has a full grasp on the answer. People love to have easy, clean, black and white reasons for things both in life and cinema and this movie doesn't give a lot of that. 2. There's no climactic TKO, the one punch that floors Viktor for the 10 count, it's through the history and actions of Ivan Drago that make him stop the fight. I can honestly see some audiences feel completely ripped off for not having a decisive winner. However! The movie goes out of it's way to add humanity, a little pathos, and the simple fact that anger and vengeance does not grant you victory through the father and son relationship of Ivan and Viktor. Rocky brings up that point with Adonis, that you can't let rage and revenge fester inside you and if you want to fight you need to have a real reason. Cause a lot happens for Adonis in this movie that progresses his character and defining of why he fights, he marries Bianca, they have a daughter, he moves to L.A., and he becomes the heavyweight champion of the world. That's a lot of life changing events in a relatively short span of time, and it by shittin' hell makes you think and act different in life. Rocky seems to be more on the mend and not as sick but you can tell a lot of pain, a lot of regret, and a lot of fear is on his conscience. Cause he got a bit of closure with Drago but he still lost his friend and it shows, to where he steps away from training Adonis. This movie just works so well with the emotional aspect of this story and these characters, I almost wouldn't call it a sports movie despite there being training and matches, it's not really the focus here. In some aspects I think this movie is greater than the first, the writing is great, the acting gets pushed further, and you get invested real quick because of it. Yet on the other hand, despite it being well shot it's not as well directed as the first, I actually forgot Ryan Coogler was shooting Black Panther at the time, the soundtrack was good but not as strong as the first, but those are truthfully small potatos because it still had it's moments to shine in it's own respect. It ain't bad, I'd be lying straight out of my ass if I said it was bad or even just okay. A very strong continuation and a great movie regardless. 4 stars from me, 8/10! Although I did have this slightly horrifying thought come to mind of, what if Creed III went the way of Rocky III and it just started to go a bit off the rails and get ridiculous? Cause there is a clear and distinct divide between the styles of the first two Rocky movies and Rocky III and IV, I love them all do not get me wrong, but that would be a twist wouldn't it? I highly doubt they would go that way but only time will tell come Friday.

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