With so many movies dominating the box office throughout the summer season, it’s easy to forget what lies ahead at the end of the year. On slow news days like this, studios seem compelled to poke moviegoers ever so slightly, in the hopes they mark their calendars accordingly. Or at least that seems Warner Bros. plans today with a couple of Creed 2 news items.
Back in 2015 the never-ending Rocky franchise got kick started again with Creed. It followed the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), as he not only fought for a sense of identity in the world, but inside the boxing ring as well. What seemed like joke initially turned into a box office success. Not to mention ended up on numerous critics “best of” lists that year. So, of course, a sequel was inevitable.
Unfortunately, part of the special sauce that helped reinvigorate the series with Creed, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, isn’t involved here. Instead the directing reigns get handed over to Steven Caple Jr. and script duties return to series creator Sylvester Stallone.
That last tidbit is cause for slight concern. The plot, on the page at least, sounds perilously close in-line to the 3rd-5th films, also penned by Stallone. This official synopsis highlights the worry, while attempting to make things seem as classy as possible:
Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what’s worth fighting for, and discover that nothing’s more important than family. Creed II is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can’t escape your history.
Now that does make it sound just as soul searching as the last film, but there’s a level of ham-fistedness to the whole affair. The shared legacy hinted as relates to the films central fight between Adonis and Ivan Drago’s son Viktor (Florian Munteanu). Probably sensing a level of ambivalence to all this, Warner Bros. also released 2 new stills to get fans excited.
It at least looks like the previous film, if that’s any consolation. Strangely absent from the second photo is Rocky himself. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays into the story, whether it be health related or not. At the same time, from a legacy stand point, it’s nice to see Wood Harris’s “Little Duke” beside Adonis. His character’s father was Apollo’s trainer for that fatal bout against Drago (Dolph Lundgren).
As is becoming the tradition with these films, Creed 2 drops into theaters on November 21st. Right in time for the holiday season. Should this end up a hokey mess (which hopefully isn’t the case), it may be time to throw in the towel on the Rocky saga.