One of the biggest surprises of 2015, perhaps even of this decade, was the Rocky follow-up Creed. Directed by eventual Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, the film returned the aged franchise to its electrifying down-to-earth roots and told a story about fathers, destiny, and legends, as well as coaching three terrific performances out of Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, and a shockingly good Sylvester Stallone (it’d been years since we remembered he could act). Naturally, a sequel was greenlit, and while Coogler has since moved on from the franchise and some…interesting…choices have been made for the newest film, the first trailer reminds us that this is still an exciting series with some aces up its sleeve.
After arriving on the world stage in his famous fight with Ricky Conlan, life goes on for Adonis Creed (Jordan). He has started a family with Bianca (Thompson), has become a name in boxing, and still maintains a relationship with his trainer, Rocky Balboa (Stallone). However, when he receives an offer to battle Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), son of the man who killed his father, the infamous Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), Adonis may face a fight he is not ready for, one that will forever seal his fate with Rocky’s, and learn the true meaning of family.
I have to admit, I’m very skeptical about this film. Stallone is a very hit-and-miss writer (he knows Rocky well, but as many of the sequels and his later films show, he gets swept up in it all quite often), and it seems like he’s returning to the well for Rocky II and Rocky IV a little too much on this one. And the whole “the sons are gonna fight now” thing just seems so over-the-top. However, even I can’t admit that this is a gorgeous trailer. The unproven cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau is clearly trying to make a name for himself, and Steven Caple, Jr. seems hungry to prove himself as a director (he’s never made a major film before). And honestly, I’m just excited to return to these characters again. Creed was my #4 film for 2015, and Rocky is one of the most enjoyably great films of all time. I’m more than willing to give this film a shot. Creed II will be released on November 21st, and you can watch the trailer below.