Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Movie with Abe: Creed 2

Creed 2
Directed by Steven Caple Jr.
Released November 21, 2018

It’s fitting that a movie series about boxing should have numerous iterations. In each round, the outcome may be different, but it’s usually possible, at least in movies, to count on the boxer to make a comeback by the series’ end. There may also be no end in sight, since boxers don’t tend to go out after just one big fight and instead make multiple attempts to either reclaim their glory or defend their title, often dredging up old rivalries. That’s a perfect way to define what ranks as the eighth film in a series that’s now more than four decades old.

Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) ascends to the top of his class, earning the title of heavyweight champion without much difficulty. As he prepares to move ahead in his personal life and relationship with Bianca (Tessa Thompson), he faces an unexpected challenge from Russian fighter Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), the man who killed his father during a match years earlier. Against the advice of his mentor Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), and knowing full well the consequences, Creed prepares for the fight of his life to defend his family name.

This film doesn’t waste much time on exposition, delivering a few helpful hints for those who might not have seen the previous film as well as any who picked up this franchise this decade rather than when it first began in 1976. Creed lives a comfortable life, but, like any fighter, can’t find satisfaction in the impressive accomplishments he has already achieved, yearning for more. Contemplating the idea of starting a family is an expected challenge, but this isn’t a film that exists to cover entirely new ground, merely to revisit it for another decently satisfying trip.

Both Jordan and Thompson have had a very prolific year, each delivering more compelling performances in similar parts as a relentless fighter trying to avenge his father and a free-spirited artist, in “Black Panther” and “Sorry to Bother You,” respectively. They’re suited just fine to their roles here, but it lacks the same spark as their first interaction in the previous film. Stallone is unlikely to repeat his Oscar nomination for this turn, which, like much of this film, is appropriately going through the motions. The portrayal of Russia as an unfeeling enemy feels slightly dated, but ultimately it’s all just part of the formula that works well here, playing to audience expectations and delivering solidly. This could serve as a great ending chapter to the saga, but it’s more than likely that, as always, this franchise will return again.


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