Though loving Creed II, Rhodé Marshall finds it difficult to root for Adonis Creed and support his masculinity which he always seems to place above the women in his life.
Director: Steven Caple Jr
Starring: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone
In a world of remixing and rehashing television shows and films, Sylvester Stallone has found a fresh way to reboot the beloved Rocky franchise. And, after watching Creed II, I’ve come to the conclusion that I might be into boxing. Creed II felt like it had the most fights in the series, and what’s incredible about these scenes is that you can almost feel every punch and swing.
“Listen to your heart,” Rocky (Stallone) keeps telling a determined Adonis Creed (Michael B Jordan), who’s on a mission to defend his championship against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), whose father Ivan (Dolph Lundgren) beat Adonis’ dad Apollo in the match that killed him in the 1985 film Rocky IV.
This has left Adonis with some serious unresolved issues related to how Apollo’s death permanently devastated him and his mother Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad), and so he attempts to use this fight with Viktor to settle a score.
But when Rocky says “listen to your heart” – whether in or out of the ring – that only seems to apply to taking a swing, because every other decision Adonis makes is based on the fragility of his ego, and that’s essentially the only fault I found with this film.
More than in its forerunner, boxing has made it easy for Adonis to embody certain elements of toxic masculinity – and he does so without judgement. Throughout Creed II, we go through the motions of Viktor and Adonis dealing with their daddy issues.
Viktor is fighting to reclaim the title for the sake of his father Ivan, whose own title was stripped by Rocky in the 1990 film Rocky V. So, with Creed II, we follow these two fighters who define their own aggressive masculine pride to protect their paternal legacies.
There’s no doubt that Creed II is written with male audiences in mind and obviously carries the legacy of the Rocky franchise, which is mostly about men hashing out their feelings by knocking each other senseless.
Despite all that, the acting is impeccable and, as mentioned before, the fights feature outstanding choreography and vibrancy.
Despite the intense masculine theme, there’s vulnerability at the end that might just make you root for the villain, much like we did with Jordan’s Black Panther character Erik Killmonger.
Scripted by Stallone and Juel Taylor, Creed II deserves a cheer.