The fight within
Creed 2 continues the story of Adonis "Don" Creed's (Jordan) rise to glory as he officially becomes the new heavyweight champion of the world. Despite his momentous achievement, Don's feeling of celebration is derailed when Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), former boxing rival of Rocky (Stallone) and the one who fought his father in the match that cost him his life, suddenly resurfaces from Russia with his son Ivan (Florian Munteanu in a stand out performance) whom he has been training for years, waiting for the opportune moment to challenge him for the title. Now fueled by revenge for his father and dissatisfaction at his own legacy, Don is hellbent on taking on Ivan all the while fighting his own dilemma: whether if he's fighting for his sake or because he can't let go of the past. As is the tradition of some sequels, Creed 2 takes the path of the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" route by giving us more of what we saw in the previous film instead of building on what it laid out. As a result, there's not much character growth this time around as the film emphasizes the fight between the characters as the main focus of the plot. The only character that had the most adequate character development was with Stallone's Rocky who continue's to be the savvy mentor and patriarchal figure to Adonis. Michael B. Jordan puts in a rousing performance as he impresses both inside and outside of the ring, with Munteanu as Ivan holding his own as well. At times, Creed 2 feels like a redux of some of the Rocky films we've seen before; even though it doesn't do anything to take the franchise to a high like the previous film did, overall this sequel is still an entertaining knockout that won't disappoint longtime Rocky fans.