December 2, 2022

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers.

It’s a sequel that really does not live up to the hype. Creed 2 does little justice to the Rocky legacy.

It was 32 years ago when Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) defeated what appeared to be an invincible opponent in the image of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). By doing so, Rocky not only defended his title and restored American pride, but also extracted some measure of revenge from the man who had killed his best friend, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).

In this sequel, Drago returns, but this time he is not alone. He is with his son, Victor Drago (Florian Munteanu) a prizefighter who wants to wrestle away the title from the son of Apollo, the young Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan).

Drago, left, with his son Victor during a scene from the movie Creed 2.

The fight scenes are OK, but the storyline of the fight is eerily similar to Rocky 3. In that movie, Rocky first loses to Clubber Lang (Mr. T) in a one-sided battle and then comes back to beat him. This movie follows a similar path.

One thing that is different about Rocky’s character in Creed 2 is how the always-forgiving, humane Rocky had no kind words or warm sentiments for Ivan Drago. When both of them meet at Rocky’s restaurant, there is apparently no love lost between the two. This is evident from the fact that they do not even greet each other.

When time stood still: Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa face to face after 32 years.

For the traditional Rocky fan, this scene might take them back three decades. It seems like time has stopped: the viewer can be excused for ignoring the glittering grey hair of Drago, and the wrinkle ridden face of Rocky. The scene will give you goosebumps.

The movie also shows Adonis’s girlfriend (Tessa Thompson) being pregnant and how he struggles to mentally juggle becoming a father, defending his title, and avenging the death of his father. It is a very human side of the story. But the director gets it terribly wrong when Ivan Drago’s circumstances are not offered the same sympathies.

Drago is portrayed as an angry, broken man, hell-bent on revenge and redemption through his son Victor. Drago blames all his woes on Rocky.

He is portrayed from a culture that appears to value human worth through the lens of materialist accomplishments. So when Drago lost a fight, he lost everything with it. His wife walked out on him, and his nation disowned him.

This point is abundantly clear when, during one of the scenes, Drago takes Victor to meet his mother. Victor angrily asks his father wants him (Victor) to see people who humiliated his father, cast him out and left him. Drago’s answer is “because I lost.”

Ultimately it is the Drago angle that gives this movie its appeal; it’s nostalgia. For the people who had always wondered whatever happened to Ivan Drago? Towards the end of the film when Adonis is on the verge of seriously hurting or perhaps even killing Victor, Drago throws in the towel and stops the fight.

In contrast to Rocky 4, where Rocky, against his better judgment, does not throw in the towel to save Apollo, Drago has no such reservations. A father did instantly what a friend could not decide to do.

But unlike what happened to him 32 years ago, Drago does not leave his son. Instead, he goes to his son and says to a bloodied, broken and beaten Victor that, “It is alright.”

By the end of the movie, Victor is shown once more going off on his morning run, while Rocky is seen trying to patch up the estranged relationship with his son.

I would suggest this movie only because of this nostalgic aspect. Otherwise, it is too long and lacks originality.

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