Runtime: 130 mins
Release Date: November 21, 2018
Directed by: Steven Caple Jr.
Starring: Michael B. Jordan
There are few film series for which the quality of each movie is relatively consistent. Oftentimes, the first one or two entries in a series are widely loved, but they inevitably run out of steam as the material left to create new stories in those worlds dries up.
This is where the Rocky series of films stand apart. As of now, there are eight movies in the franchise. However, only one of those movies (“Rocky V”) is widely hated by fans.
The genius of the Rocky series is the similar structures of all the movies allow ample time for character development. New life was breathed into the franchise in 2015 with “Creed.” The main focus shifted from the character of Rocky Balboa to several new characters who came naturally into the story.
That first “Creed” film worked because of the outstanding direction from Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther”) as well as fantastic performances by everyone, especially Sylvester Stallone.
Keeping in form with the rest of the series, “Creed II” is just as good, if not a bit better than the last movie. Not only did “Creed II” pack in a surprising amount of character development for its two leads (Jordan and Stallone), but the villains in this film are perhaps the best in the entire series.
Ivan Drago, the villain from “Rocky IV,” returns in “Creed II.” After the events of “Rocky IV,” Drago lost everything, and he has spent every moment since then working to get the respect of his country back. One does not necessarily need to have seen “Rocky IV” to appreciate Drago as a villain. In that movie, he was just a big muscle man who said about four words in the entire film. In this movie, he is less the obvious bad guy we want to see fail, but a legitimately three-dimensional character. This is thanks not only to great writing, but also the surprisingly good performance from Dolph Lundgren, who has improved exponentially in his acting ability.
However, the Rocky series is most famous for its inspirational training montages and exciting boxing matches. This aspect of the film is amazing as well. Director Steven Caple Jr. had to follow up on Coogler’s amazing work from the first film, and he does so in his own style and with a great amount of skill.
Drew Eckhart is a sophomore history and pre-law major from Edmond, OK. He has loved movies for as long as he can remember but thinks his passion really began when he watched “The Dark Knight” for the first time in theaters. His favorite type of movie blends comedy and drama seamlessly, and he loves great action films. In Drew’s free time, he enjoys reading and playing video games, as well as watching TV and movies. His favorite TV show is “BoJack Horseman” and his favorite movie is “Whiplash.”