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Film / Creed II

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"It may not seem like it now, but... this is more than just a fight."
"It's no coincidence that Ivan Drago's son shows up right after Apollo Creed's son claims the belt. This is Creed versus Drago. This is the fight the whole world wants to see. And this is the fight he should take. Unless he's afraid of history repeating itself."
Buddy Marcelle

The one where Drago passes the torch.

Creed II is the sequel to 2015's Creed, the second Spin-Off of the Rocky franchise, and essentially the follow-up to Rocky IV, written by Sylvester Stallone and Cheo Hodari Coker and directed by Steven Caple Jr.

Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan). Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), an opponent with ties to his family's past since he's the son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa (Stallone) 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.

The film was released on November 21, 2018. A third installment in the Creed series, helmed by Jordan in his directorial debut, was released on March 3, 2023. It is the first film in the Rocky universe to not feature Rocky Balboa himself; Stallone has left open the possibility of continuing Rocky's story in a film separate from the Creed series.

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2.

Creed II contains examples of:

  • Artistic License – Sports:
    • After the previous film had Shown Their Work by correctly depicting Adonis as a light heavyweight contender,note  this film has him becoming the WBC world heavyweight champion in the opening minutes. Later in the film, his weight is given as 215 pounds, even though Michael B. Jordan has clearly not gained 30-40 pounds of muscle since the last movie. Him moving directly into heavyweight rather than cruiserweight first is also unlikely. Note that, while some LHWs have moved up to become heavyweight champions relatively quickly, the last guy to do this was Roy Jones Jr. in 2003, who beat the aging John Ruiz for the WBA title, and he immediately relinquished it because he would have had to face a variety of 6'4-6'8, 230-270 pound challengers who were just beginning to bring on the super heavyweight era. A blown up LHW like Adonis being a reigning champ in such an era is well past the point of plausibility.
    • As with all Rocky films, the fighters take power shots to the head at about 10 times the frequency of any real boxing match. It's also quite unlikely that a boxer who has been knocked down five times in a single match will have anything left to keep fighting, let alone not garner a stoppage.
  • Ascended Extra: Little Duke only had a minor role in the first film, appearing only when he refuses to help Adonis become a full-time boxer and at the disastrous weigh-in for the Wheeler-Conlon fight. Here, he agrees to become Adonis's trainer for the Drago fight after Rocky refuses and stays with him even after Rocky returns for the rematch.
  • Badass Decay: In-universe. "Stuntman" Wheeler KO'ed Adonis easily during their sparring session in the first movie. Adonis returns the favor in this movie's opening bout, and the announcers agree that Wheeler's skills have declined considerably in three years.
  • Call-Back:
    • Viktor stands One Head Taller than Adonis just like his father did to Rocky.
    • Before Adonis's fight against Wheeler, Bianca asks him if he's taken a shit, referencing his hilarious freakout from the first movie.
    • In the first film, Adonis offered his Mustang as an incentive for one of the fighters at Delphi's to challenge him. Wheeler took the offer and proceeded to knock him down. Prior to their fight here, they agreed that if Adonis won he would get it back. Once Adonis knocks Wheeler out, he demands the keys.
    • When Rocky is trying to emphasize how bad of an idea it is to go against Ivan, Adonis repeats his father's words verbatim:
    I'm dangerous!
    • Despite being the son of Ivan Drago, Viktor actually turns out to have the same Achilles' Heel as Clubber Lang, namely that he relies too much on brute force and early knockouts, and doesn't have the stamina to go the distance.
    • The creators wanted to bring back the iconic "I must break you" in some way. It finally lands with Drago telling Rocky: "My son will break your boy." Drago also shoves Viktor's mouthguard into his jaws to push him during the Adonis fight, saying, "You must break him."
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Though Viktor truly does want to make his father proud, at one point he does angrily lash out at Ivan about him trying to impress the same people who abused him and tossed him aside, including his ex-wife Ludmilla.
  • The Cameo: Brigitte Nielsen reprises the role of Ludmilla for two scenes, and Milo Ventimiglia reprises the role of Rocky’s son, Robert, for the final scene in the movie.
  • Continuity Nod: The Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are revisited again, only this time, it's Ivan and Viktor Drago who are standing at the top of the steps after they arrive in America to challenge Adonis.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Adonis's first fight with Victor; he gets in a few good blows and draws blood, but overall gets destroyed.
  • Defeat as Backstory: Having been defeated by Rocky in the past is the reason Ivan is pushing his son into becoming a champion.
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: During their first fight, Adonis falls to his knees after a devestating shot to the ribs, and an enraged Viktor deals a final blow to finish him off, knocking Adonis completely unconscious. Viktor is subsequently disqualified for hitting his opponent while he was down, allowing Adonis to retain the title, though it's clear to everyone that Adonis only "won" on a technicality and Viktor had otherwise easily beaten him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: While Buddy Marcelle was aggressively pushing the fight for publicity, and frequently makes snide comments about the tragedy of Apollo's death, even he is noticeably unnerved by the brutal beating that Adonis receives from Viktor.
  • Fair-Weather Friend: A rare parental case of this trope. Ivan's ex-wife reappears in his and Viktor's life after Vik's near-victory against Adonis, and is in attendance during the rematch. As soon as it becomes clear that Viktor is losing, however, she packs up her proverbial shit and walks right out.
  • 555: Robert’s phone number, which Rocky stares at when thinking of calling his son, begins with 555 and a 604 area code, matching up with how in the first "Creed" movie, Rocky mentions that his son is living in Vancouver with his girlfriend. This makes Rocky's "just in the neighborhood" excuse at the end of the film even more endearingly outrageous.
  • Hammy Herald: Bianca fills this role for Adonis' Big Entrance to his rematch fight with Viktor in Russia, singing a fight ballad that she composed specifically for that moment.
  • History Repeats:
    • Once again a Creed faces a Drago. Rocky really doesn't want it to end the same way.
    • Adonis becomes a heavyweight, the same classification that his father, Rocky and Ivan fought as; Viktor is also a heavyweight.
    • This gets Played With over both fights. As with Ivan's fight against Apollo, Viktor manages to physically manhandle Adonis, although thankfully it doesn't lead to any mortal injuries. The second fight is more of a Call-Back to Rocky's own turn against Ivan as it takes place on Russian soil— as before, Drago loses.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Ivan’s reputation never recovered from his loss to Rocky, which resulted in his wife Ludmilla divorcing him, leaving Ivan to raise his son Viktor in poverty in Kiev. Ivan hopes that he can restore both his reputation and his marriage through Viktor.
  • Husky Russkie: Viktor Drago's actor Florian Munteanu is a very muscular 6'4". This is especially noticeable in the trailer as he towers over Michael B. Jordan.
  • Internal Deconstruction: Many elements of previous Rocky films are portrayed in a more realistic manner here:
    • In contrast to the triumphant ending often reduced to "Rocky wins the Cold War," this film makes it clear that the conflict with Drago was devastating to everyone involved - not only did Apollo needlessly die, Rocky's reputation took a hit for seemingly allowing it to happen and he is still traumatized by that night. The brain damage introduced in Rocky V and ignored since is also referenced. And Drago is revealed to have lost everything after that defeat, transforming him from a very shallow Foreign Wrestling Heel to a nuanced Tragic Villain.
    • Several of the previous Rocky films depicted characters pulling several illegal moves and cheap shots that would get them disqualified in real life with no punishment. Here, Viktor punching Adonis while the latter was on his knees and knocking him out results in a disqualification by the referee and is held up by the WBC.
    • As a stark contrast to the nigh-invulnerability that Rocky displayed during his fights, Adonis suffers numerous severe injuries during his fights with Viktor, and is shown falling to his knees and yelling out in pure agony when they happen. After their first bout in particular - where he sustains two broken ribs and a ruptured kidney - Adonis spends an extended amount of time in the hospital before being taken home in a wheelchair, he is shown urinating blood, and is in no shape to fight or even to perform basic tasks for several months.
  • Jerkass:
    • Buddy Marcelle is quick to take a jab at Apollo to Adonis when the latter is initially disinterested in fighting. He later shows some redeeming qualities, though.
    • Then of course Ludmilla, who shows just how big of a deadbeat mother she is.
  • Kick the Dog: Upon meeting Adonis for the first time in person (whose father he killed), Ivan’s first words to him are:
    Ivan: You're much smaller than your father.
  • Manly Tears: Happens to Adonis thrice: first when he's brooding in the hospital over being dominated by Viktor Drago, second when he learns that his daughter was born deaf, and third when at the gym trying to calm the baby down and he punches the heavy bag and then cries out of frustration. The first instance is notable because it's a rare example in a mainstream film of a male hero crying for his own pain and humiliation.
    Creed: How's that baby even gonna look at me?
  • Meaningful Name: Drago's son is optimistically named Viktor; Drago is hoping to regain the glory he had before losing to Rocky through his son.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: Between Adonis, Viktor, Rocky, and Ivan on the teaser poster.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In the final fight Drago realizes that his obsession with regaining his glory and the love of his country/ex-wife has cost him his relationship with his son and may end up killing him as he continues to fight long after he's run out of energy. This leads him to throw in the towel and end the match.
  • My Greatest Failure: Antagonist version: Ivan blames himself and his loss to Rocky for all the miseries visited upon himself and his son.
  • Parental Abandonment: Ludmilla left Ivan and Viktor after Ivan's defeat in Rocky IV. She reappears in their lives with her new husband once Viktor gains international prestige after his first fight with Adonis. Viktor even complains that she is a stranger to him. She leaves once again after Viktor looks almost certain to lose in the rematch.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Adonis, outraged by Rocky's lack of support in his first fight against Viktor, leaves him behind for Los Angeles and a new trainer. Of course, they make up in time for Rocky to train him for the rematch.
  • The Power of Hate: Viktor is described as being fueled by this, especially given that Ivan sought to use his talents as a way to returning prestige to the Drago name, something he does call his old man out for.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Adonis and Viktor's first fight ends in a disqualification when the latter lands an illegal blow that knocks out the former. This bites both men; Adonis feels disgruntled that he was utterly dominated despite retaining his title, while Viktor is infuriated by not being the champion himself even though he clearly controlled that fight.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Ludmilla and her new husband leave the arena during the final fight when it's clear that Viktor will lose.
  • Serial Escalation: Viktor is even larger and more powerful than Ivan ever was.
  • Skewed Priorities: Upon defeating Wheeler, Adonis seems to care more that he won his Mustang back than he does about becoming the Heavyweight Champion.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Inverted, like most Rocky films from the third film on. Our hero is the reigning champion fighting a hungry young upstart. Adonis is specifically raised in a mansion and has earned millions of dollars from his own fights, while Viktor sleeps on a couch in a dingy apartment while working manual labor to pay the bills.
  • Stage Dad: Ivan is one to Viktor, seeing his son as a way to restore his lost glory and pushing him relentlessly. He's ultimately redeemed in the final match, when he throws in the towel, putting his son's safety ahead of a shot at victory. Their last scenes together show him behaving more like a father than a trainer.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Like the previous film, "Gonna Fly Now" plays during the end of the final fight.
  • Training from Hell: This appears to be a daily occurrence for Viktor from Ivan. Adonis gets his own version in the desert to train before his rematch.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The first fight between Adonis and Viktor, where heavyweight champion of the world Adonis Creed fights a lesser known Eastern European heavyweight and gets absolutely battered, but gets a meaningless victory after the latter gets himself disqualified for low blows, calls to mind Riddick Bowe vs Andrew Golota, in which heavyweight champion of the world Riddick Bowe was likewise battered by lesser-known Eastern European heavyweight Andrew Golota and walked away with a meaningless victory after the latter got himself disqualified by low blows. Like in the movie, they had a rematch to settle things right (but unlike the movie, the exact same thing happened).
  • Victory by Endurance: Part of the reason why Viktor loses the rematch is that he had never had to fight past the fourth round, allowing the more experienced Adonis to begin wearing him down.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The first scene shows Ivan and Viktor's lifestyle in Ukraine.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Viktor's entire motivation is to make his father proud, having been drilled since birth on the importance of winning. When he refuses to go down in the final match despite no longer having the strength to fight, it is Ivan who proves his love by throwing in the towel for him and assuring his son that it will be okay.
  • Wham Shot: In the trailer: The mysterious hooded opponent that faces Adonis in the ring turns his back toward the camera, revealing the name on the back of his robe: 'Drago'.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: Despite having won the original match in Rocky IV, Rocky doesn't seem very triumphant in restrospect, having been permanently hurt by the fight ("He broke things in me that ain't never been fixed").

"It's your time."