The new sequel Creed II is not as good as the first Creed, but it will likely please hard-core fans of the Rocky series.
Michael B. Jordan returns in Steven Caple Jr.’s film as Adonis Creed, the son of Apollo Creed, friend and rival of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Adonis is now the heavyweight champion of the world. But Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of Rocky IV’s Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), challenges Adonis to a fight. For those unfamiliar with the Rocky series, Ivan is the man who killed Apollo in the boxing ring.
The best part about Creed was the relationship between Adonis and Rocky. But the new film separates the two for a large stretch of the film when they have a falling out over whether or not Adonis should take the fight. The weakest part of Creed was the way its story beats matched the original Rocky too closely. Similarly, Creed II borrows heavily from the story beats in Rocky III and Rocky IV. Creed II gives Ivan Drago, a cardboard villain in Rocky IV, a little more depth, but it squanders an opportunity to give him even more.
Within the Rocky series, Creed II is better than Rocky IV (a mostly bad film despite its still considerable popularity), but not as good as Rocky III (a solid film that holds up pretty well).