Four years after Rocky’s return to the big screen, the story of his protégé Adonis Creed is revealed CREED II: ROCKY’S LEGACY continues to tell. There are hardly any deviations from the usual successful formula – and yet director Steven Caple Jr. still surpasses his predecessor. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
For Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), life has become a balancing act. In addition to personal commitments and the training program to prepare for his next fight, he faces the biggest challenge of his life: Since his opponent is closely linked to his family history, the upcoming fight in the ring has special circumstances. But Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) stands by Adonis and together the two face the legacy that binds them together. They are confronted with the question of whether the fight is even worth it – ultimately they realize that family is the bond that holds everything together. What is the stuff champions are made of? Adonis and Rocky understand that no matter where life takes them, no one can escape their past.
Movie explanation of the ending
It wasn’t really to be expected that the “Rocky” sequel “Creed – Rocky’s Legacy” would actually be well received by viewers and, above all, critics in 2015. After all, the six-part boxing series had run its course over the years and had sometimes maneuvered itself into a corner of cheap entertainment. A sequel after so many years – despite the involvement of mastermind Sylvester Stallone (“The Expendables”): a risk that could have gone terribly wrong. After all, at that time, pretty much everything that was successful at some point was continued (by the way, nothing has changed to this day). But like director Ryan Coogler (“Next Stop: Fruitvale Station”) The Rocky legend adopted was a rarity: From then on, Rocky Balboa acted as a mentor for Michael B. Jordan (“Black Panther”) played Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed. It has come full circle. Rocky Balboa once stood in the ring with the heavyweight world champion. This constellation of characters remains unchanged for the sequel “Creed II”. At the same time, Viktor Drago and especially Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) are joined by two more characters connected to Rocky and Creed’s boxing past who establish a direct connection to “Rocky IV”. This all sounds pretty arbitrary, but it is based on a precise sense of how problems and differences are passed on from generation to generation.
Adonis’ (Michael B. Jordan) training methods are unconventional…
Due to the filming of the Marvel superhit “Black Panther,” Ryan Coogler handed over the directorial reins to his colleague Steven Caple Jr. (“The Land”). Sylvester Stallone is once again responsible for the script, who brought in debutant writer Juel Taylor to add a bit of fresh air. Although it is hardly possible to say exactly which of the two is responsible for which twists and storylines, if you know that Stallone had new support, you can see this as one of the great advantages of “Creed II”. . The two of them never completely move away from the well-known boxing film dramaturgy with their work; The last twenty minutes are clearly mapped out from the beginning, the training montages come exactly when you expect them and the sporting and private setbacks shape the routine rhythm of the film just as they did in the first “Creed”. At the same time, the variation can be found in the narrative details. The atmosphere itself also differs somewhat from the relatively powerful, optimistic start of the franchise. In “Creed II,” athlete Adonis Creed is no longer driven by the desire to prove himself and those around him. This time it’s about something as banal as revenge. And in order to highlight this in terms of production, director Steven Caple Jr., previously best known for the TV series “Class”, is going his own way.
The fact that boxing can be a very ugly sport is often left out by the romanticizing mechanisms of common sports films (incidentally also in relation to all other sports that films are made about). In “Creed II” it is precisely this fact that drives the type of production; The film begins with Adonis’ victory over his opponent – and thus an event that usually forms the furious finale including a happy ending in such stories – being only one on paper here. The fight is ugly, the opponents are not equal and Adonis does not emerge as the winner on an emotional level. The question of what makes a winner, yes, what actually makes the entire sport such an event, runs through the subsequent 120 minutes, for which Steven Caple Jr. stages exactly two boxing matches. In both cases, Adonis Creed and Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu) duel, who, driven by hatred, do not initially have a clean boxing duel, but instead beat each other until one of the two can no longer get up. This is anything but aesthetic, although cameraman Kramer Morgenthau is (“The Darkest Minds – The Survivors”) does not adapt to the heated battle and always maintains an overview with the help of brutal close-ups. Above all, it symbolizes the personal feud between the opponents, who at this moment do not have sport on their minds, but only the destruction of each other.
Bianca (Tessa Thompson) supports her husband in the ring.
It’s a bit of a shame that the second and final fight in “Creed II” ultimately sticks to common conventions and doesn’t boast the kind of gimmicks like in part one, in which Ryan Coogler even staged a match as a one-shot. Nevertheless, it is consistent. Finally, the middle part is about how Adonis Creed finally breaks away from his personal thoughts of revenge and concentrates fully on boxing as a sport again. Narratively, the private fate of Creed, who wants to start a family with his girlfriend Bianca, is also skillfully woven into the sports plot. Not only the devastating fate surrounding their young infant, which is already one of the saddest scenes of the 2019 cinema year, shakes the main characters and the audience to their foundations, simply because it comes completely out of nowhere and is still absolutely plausible. The way in which the athlete and the private individual Adonis Creed, who is overwhelmed by his sudden fatherly duties, complement each other is a great piece of cinema, told with great sensitivity, which reaches its visual climax in a beautifully photographed scene in the training center, when father and child are here in a quiet moment enjoy togetherness in front of the backdrop of the empty boxing ring. Sylvester Stallone, who was rightly nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the first part, watches over everything like a (grand)father figure and, over time, pushes himself and his acting more and more into the background. It’s as if he knew that his time in the ring was finally over.
Conclusion: For “Creed II,” Steven Caple Jr. doesn’t change much of the tried-and-tested boxing film dramaturgy. But that doesn’t change the fact that the sequel surpasses the already strong first part, because the way the filmmaker brings together the private and professional levels and repeatedly emphasizes the hardness, dirt and brutality of the sport is simply breathtaking .
“Creed II: Rocky’s Legacy” can be seen in USA cinemas from January 24th.