"Creed 2" Review - (Non-Spoiler)
“What’s a light if it doesn’t even light?”
It’s not as directionally brilliant as the first film, but this is still a very worthy and natural continuation, and everything about it feels earned. My theater totally loved it - there was cheering all throughout the last act. As has been the case with most Rocky movies, the boxing is just a backdrop to the human drama and relationships, and Tessa Thompson, Michael B Jordan, and Sylvester Stallone just kill it every time. Uh, kill it in a good way. There’s probably a little too much downtime in the middle of the film where Adonis’s character is constantly casting self-pity and doubt, but it’s acted so well that it’s hard to even mind.
The strength of both Creed films, to me, has come from their extremely personal specificity and realness that doesn’t feel cliche or familiar. Tessa Thompson’s character’s struggle with hearing loss comes to mind as one of the very specific-but-human concepts that hasn’t been explored onscreen much in other films and plays very authentic because of that. These people don’t feel like cardboard cutouts or stereotypes, they feel like people. And in this film, that even applies to Adonis’s opponent Viktor Drago, who would’ve been so easy to write as a caricature but ends up being far more real than he has any right to be.
Ludwig Gorranson kills it with that score, once again. Lots of nice touches that tie this back to the first film without feeling forced. Loved the callback with Adonis and Bianca laying on the floor. Rocky’s b-plotline was really emotional toward the end and feels like it was set up by the first Creed movie in retrospect. There are just lots of nice ways that these two films flow together, most of all relationally. So even when the camera-work and cinematography in the fight scenes aren’t quite as complex as in the original, you still care a lot about what’s going on all the way through. I'm going to give "Creed 2" an 8 out of 10.