I’m going to start reviewing stuff. The stuff might be new. The stuff may be old. It may be a movie stuff, or might be a product stuff, or a TV stuff, or even a music stuff. I don’t know, I just work here…for free…on my couch. Also, there’s going to be spoilers, lots of them, so if you haven’t seen the movie, just skip to the bold part at the bottom where I tell you if I think you should watch it or not.
I’m reviewing Creed 2 today folks, and I didn’t love it. Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson were great, but they’re always great. Stallone was dope, but he’s always dope when he plays Rocky; he’s been doing it for forty years, it’s his thing. I’m also glad the Dolph Lundgren is still getting work, he seems nice. Besides, the dude is like a fictional character come to life. He’s an Olympic-caliber athlete, a scientist, a model, a martial artist, and an actor. He’s someone you’d read about in a book and claim that they’re too perfect to be real. Anyhow, the kid who played Drago was really good, especially when you consider that he was probably hired for his looks. Florian Menataue is his name, and acting better than he has any right to is his game. Also Phylicia Rashad reminds us that she can act her butt off and Wood Harris remembers the damned titans all over the place. Steve Caple Jr. directs the crap of this thing too; shooting some of the best boxing scenes since Play It To The Bone, which itself had the best cinematic pugilism since the original Rocky flicks.
Did I mention that Michael B. Jordan should be the biggest star in the world? That he’s what would happen if a West End thespian got splashed with the same ooze that created Daredevil and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and instead of being blind or a turtle became a real-life G.I. Joe? Did I say that already? That dude is an Academy Award acting range in the body of an actual superhero? Did I remind you yet that he made me root for him over The Black Panther in BP’s own movie? Howzabout Tessa Thompson? Did I remind you guys that she owned Thor: Ragnarök? Or that she has the screen presence of someone twice her age and experience? I guess I underplayed all that earlier, but not now! Nope, I’m telling you all about how great this cast is. How talented this crew is. I’m telling you because I have no idea how all of this awesome added up to a movie that I really didn’t like much at all. I don’t get it folks, it should’ve been a contender…yes, I went there.
Hacky critic jokes aside, let me explain simply why this movie didn’t work for me: the story was poorly written and movies are just picture stories. Like if you read a children’s book and the pictures are great, but there aren’t any words; it will be entertaining if you’re young enough, but once you can read you’re not going to like it. No matter how great a picture of a zebra on a beach vacation looks, no one is going to remember the story if the caption on the part where he only puts sunblock on his stripes because he doesn’t want them fading away just says “Zebra fear sun.” I mean…maybe they’ll remember it, but not for the right reasons. Like those dudes in Times Square who dress like children’s characters but have off-brand suits and names like “Michael Mouse””, “Ronald Quack”, and “Dara The Searcher”; you take the picture if you’re that into being in Times Square, but you cherish it for different reasons than you’re probably intended to. That also kind of applies to this movie I guess. You get your picture with Elmo, but it’s not really Elmo.
So yeah, that’s my extremely longwinded way of saying that I didn’t like the script. I’m trying to keep these things short and I like to ramble, so I will only discuss my biggest problems with this story. There’s a saying in professional wrestling that goes “The money is in the chase.”; that is to say that the most profitable stories are those of a face (hero wrestler) going after a championship, usually held by a heel (villain wrestler). This movie skips the whole damned chase. Creed wins the World Championship in the first ten minutes of the movie from the guy that logically should’ve been the main antagonist of this whole flick. Remember the guy that beat his ass in the gym in the first flick? The champion that didn’t defend his title against Creed? Yeah that dude gets kerplunked before the opening-credits finish rolling. This leaves us to watch Creed fall from grace, get mad at Rocky, have a kid basically just to mirror Rocky 2, and then beat Ivan Drago’s son in a fight so good that it almost made me forget that I didn’t like this movie. Funny thing is that this would be a fine story to tell over the course of four movies, but they shoe-horned it all into one flick. It was like a Cliff’s Notes version of Rocky 2 through Rocky 4. Why? They had to know that they’d make enough cash to warrant more of the series, so to me it felt more like the production saying to me “We can do ALL the Rockys at once!” before slamming a Mountain Dew and jumping out of a plane with a Spuds McKenzie dog strapped to its chest. I didn’t want a Rocky’s greatest hits movie, I wanted another Adonis Creed story that maybe had some parallels to Rocky. When you pass the torch, the next person just keeps running, they don’t turn around and go back over the same path you just did.
Yeah folks, this movie plays kind of like a Rocky redux more than its own thing, but I would’ve been fine with that, albeit a bit disappointed, had they followed a structure that works for a franchise. We all know that they plan to milk at least 4-5 movies out of these characters, so why go straight for the fall from grace, skipping the true ascension, in one movie? If you’re waiting for an answer, I don’t have one. Also, I found the subplot about Ivan Drago being run out of Russia and baby Drago being resentful of that fact to be the most interesting thing about the movie. The two of them actually got to have the best emotional beats in my opinion. Speaking of emotional beats that missed it for me, I felt that the reveal of Adonis’ new baby being deaf wasn’t explored enough to be impactful, but was explored enough to take away screen time from the things I wanted to see. I can only hope that it was setting up some struggle for later films, and wasn’t just a throwaway device to make you feel bad for the Creeds. I felt similarly about Rocky going to meet his son. The moment was nice and hits home for any longtime fans of the character, but it felt tacked on.
Let’s cut all of this out folks and get to the part where I tell you if you should watch the movie or not: WATCH IT. You might be surprised that I’m saying that, but despite all my issues with it, I think the acting and directing make it worth a gander. Furthermore, I’m hoping that all of the capable people behind this franchise have a bigger plan for the movies and that this flick will be better when viewed through the lens of having seen the later installments. It’s also possible that I’m just a dumb stickler for this kind of thing and a less fickle viewer might find the movie very entertaining. So give it a shot folks…although I just spoiled it for you…unless you skipped the rest of the review and just read the bold part. Anyhow, watch it, don’t watch it. See if I care. Peace out nerds.