By: Kirk Jackson
The trailer for the Creed II released and it appears audiences are ready for round two of the revitalized Rocky series.
This upcoming installment is the sequel to Creed and the eighth installment in the Rocky film series. Creed II is directed by Steven Caple Jr., and written by Sylvester Stallone and Cheo Hodari Coker.
Creed II stars Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, and Wood Harris, all of whom will reprise their roles from previous entries, while Florian Munteanu joins the cast portraying Viktor Drago.
While Creed writer-director and frequent Michael B. Jordan collaborator Ryan Coogler, is not directing the sequel, he serves as an executive producer for this film.
While the Creed embodied elements of the first Rocky movie, the sequel appears to embody elements of Rocky II, Rocky III and Rocky IV.
Through the short montage of clips, it appears to display the ascension of Adonis Creed (played by Michael B. Jordan) as a fighter – more than likely a world champion at this point.
We saw stages of growth, maturity in the first film for Adonis, as he went from young, unproven, undisciplined boxer, aggressively fighting his way to the top of his respective sport and battling to establish separation from his father’s shadow.
In addition to that battle, Adonis was able to piece together meaningful relationships and develop some form of normalcy after initial subjection towards emotional and physical chaos due to his birth father’s indiscretions and untimely death.
Fast-forward towards the sequel, the major theme appears to be one of redemption.
Adonis or ‘Donnie’ proved himself worthy of a fighter and carved his path to the top, but the mission was not quite complete due to the successful title defense from “Pretty” Ricky Conlan (played by Tony Bellew).
At this point, Conlan is probably in jail (as the original storyline projected) and Adonis will battle Danny “Stuntman” Wheeler (played by Andre Ward) for top position in the light heavyweight division.
Adonis is seeking further validation and redemption of sorts, by defeating Wheeler – who bested him in a gym sparring session taking place in the first film, while winning the world titles – in which should silence the critics.
Another key point as far as plot is redemption of sorts for Adonis, as he aims to defeat the son of Ivan Drago (played by Dolph Lundgren), the illegally enhanced powerful athlete responsible for murdering his father in the ring way back in Rocky IV.
Ivan’s son Viktor (played by Florian Munteanu) is fighting for redemption of sorts and perhaps attempting to carve his own path and legacy as did Adonis in the last film.
Other plots to follow are the relationships between Adonis and his adoptive mother and widow of Apollo, Mary Anne Creed (played by Phylicia Rashad) and his love interest Bianca Porter (played by Tessa Thompson). Bianca continues to deal with progressive hearing loss and shares a newborn child with Adonis.
Of course we can’t forget the continued development between Adonis and the titular character from previous films Mr. Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone) himself.
Rocky is the head trainer and a fatherly figure of sorts to Adonis. Rocky is also battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The secondary plotlines extending beyond boxing is in part as why Creed was successful; the problems plaguing the characters of the film are relatable to the audience. Watching the antagonist rise from ultimate underdog status to overcome various obstacles can be inspiring at the very least.
It’s the reason why people gravitate towards the ideal of Rocky or any underdog for that matter.
The sequel for Creed is necessary because there are loose ends that need resolution. However, it would be unfortunate to see Creed travel down the same path as of the earlier installments of the Rocky franchise.
Sequels upon sequels of repetitive plot and unnecessary cinema, repeated themes to ad nauseam.
Creed is a fresh start – albeit borrowing and playing off similar elements in which made the original Rocky successful.
The problems plaguing some of the secondary characters from this continuation of the story and how they interact with Adonis should be compelling theater.
Themes of love, grief, family lineage, pride, history, revenge, growth and develop may all factor into this film.
It’ll be interesting to see how everything unfolds as the son of Apollo Creed and the son of Ivan Drago collide as both characters seek their own version of redemption.
The reunion between Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa should make for scintillating cinema, as should the interaction between Adonis and Ivan.
Audiences will find out as Creed II is scheduled for release nationwide November 21, 2018.