I'm gonna preface this review with the fact that if you don't know much about the original 'Rocky' films, there's probably a few spoilers ahead for you concerning 'Rocky IV', as this movie ties in with it. With the fair warning out of the way, however, here comes the next chapter in the 'Rocky' franchise for the next generation, 'Creed II', which, again, ends up largely being a call-back to 'Rocky IV' in which boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lungren) managed to take out Adonis Creed's (Michael B. Jordan) father, Apollo (Carl Weathers).
Creed has just won the Heavyweight Championship title. Knowing that Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) is in Creed's corner, Ivan plots for his son, Viktor (Florian Munteanu) to go up against him, and take said title, no matter what the cost. This is largely a revenge tactic formulated through the years since Ivan's defeat to Rocky in his home country of Russia, which has pretty much shamed him this whole time. If he can get Viktor to beat Adonis, the two can come home proud, and have their country backing them once again.
So, altogether, this isn't entirely much of a new thing. The plot is pretty well standard, but I do think that 'Rocky' fans will still get their usual thrill out of it for what it is. It's complete with the bad beating, the recovery, the montage, and of course, Rocky himself, who has become a truly lovable character over the yeasr (if he wasn't already). He represents the likes of a mentor, not just to Creed, but to his audience just as well.
However, while the film is full of touching moments concerning Stallone, seemingly chasing an Oscar, there proves to be a bit of a rough patch with Adonis' character in this one. Jordan is a great actor, don't get me wrong. But here, the character ends up being a little more stubborn, lets things get to his head, and even whines a bit here and there. This sets Rocky up to be his mentor a bit more, but it kinda does take away from the character we grew with in the previous film - which I personally liked better with its storytelling.
Again, this is a pretty standard revenge boxing story that you'd probably just catch as a regular everyday boxing match. The previous film was largely about developing Adonis' character so he could follow in his father's footsteps, not just with boxing, but attitude and presence. I suppose this is to be the execution of that, and the call-back to 'Rocky IV' keeps it nice and tight within this whole universe. In a way, we could almost call this 'Rocky IIX'.
Anyway, I suppose if you're a big fan of the previous films, especially #4, you'll pretty much get what you came to see as a sort of standard boxing movie. But I daresay, if you're in this to watch Adonis develop as a character, there's not a whole lot more he does here. It leads me to believe that this is almost made to be a bridging movie between the first and third, in which, hopefully, we can see something a little different. I think there's more to like than dislike about this movie, especially with its acting and overall charm. However, it manages to lose points for being something almost entirely predictable in the end. It's on the high end of a 3.