Creed II

Creed 2

Oh, so what if it isn’t the knockout the original Creed was? This one still lands its punches, even if a little more softly.

The wonderful Michael B. Jordan is back as Adonis Creed, seen in the first scenes becoming the Heavyweight Champion of the World. Rocky, the iconically perfect Sylvester Stallone, and girlfriend Bianca (a lovely Tessa Thompson) are still at his side. But Don is young. Is he really ready to settle down, retire to a safe life? Would we have a movie then? So, Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago shows up. Remember, he killed Don’s father in the ring. And now son Vitor Drago has been groomed to take on Adonis.

Co-written by Stallone, a lot of what happens here is formulaic and takes more from the Rocky book of hits than the Creed screenplay. But what made this chapter work for me was not the plot, or even the signature up close and personal fight scenes. What captured me were the movie’s two stars, a one two punch of star power and beautiful duet by two very different men.

As good as Creed, the first, was (and, oh boy, was it), one of its undeniable glories was not just the envisioned relationship between the young Adonis and eventual mentor Rocky. It hit our hearts thanks to the palpable bond between the two actors, Jordan and Stallone. At that time, we hadn’t had a chance to see too much from Jordan, in terms of serious leading man stuff and he knocked it out of the park. He is great here, too. Combining this work with what he gave us in Black Panther, there’s no doubt Michael B. Jordan isn’t just a major movie star, but a compelling actor. And then there’s Stallone, who has slipped back into Balboa’s porkpie hat with a veteran’s wisdom that’s a joy for us and, I hope, him.