"I wanna rewrite history." So says Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) in Steven Caple Jr.'s Creed II, in which the boxer faces a challenge from the son of the man who killed his father, Apollo Creed, in Rocky IV. Good thing he has Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) behind him—or does he? What critics are saying:
- This new Rocky franchise "is the only heroic Hollywood multisequel narrative worth caring about," writes AO Scott at the New York Times, hailing "a terrific movie … that honors the cherished traditions of the genre while feeling like something new and exciting." He notes "the climactic fight arrives on a tide of feelings and ends with a flood of tears."
- Creed II "goes the distance, but it lacks the knockout punch of its 2015 and 1985 predecessors," writes Adam Graham at Detroit News. He argues the film sticks too closely to the expected formula. Real life boxer Florian Munteanu is "all brute force and no depth" as Viktor Drago, he adds, though an "excellent" Tessa Thompson powers scenes of Creed's home life.
- Yes, the film is formulaic. But "investing in a formula, making it breathe—that's the challenge, and Creed II meets it," writes Mick LaSalle. Even if you can predict the plot, "you can't imagine the emotion of it," he continues at the San Francisco Chronicle, describing a theater audience in "silent awe." In short, "Creed II makes us care."
- Stephanie Zacharek found it "reasonably entertaining," but not on the same level as Creed. "There are too many trifling ideas, and too much plot, stuffed into Creed II to make it the sleek powerhouse that its predecessor was," she writes at Time. Still, Jordan is "effortlessly likable" and "often shirtless," while a "charming and funny" Stallone "gets you through."
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