Creed 2: Hard Hitting Sequel.

4 stars
The Rocky series is known to have had its ups and downs over the years.
I cannot really attest to this since I had only watched the first film before watching Creed in preparation for watching and reviewing the sequel.
However, even though I cannot claim to be a huge fan of this franchise, I can state that when these films get it right they are often amazing.

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I have only seen two films in the Rocky franchise but both are classic examples of great film making. 

The first Rocky is a very inspiring film and the recent sequel Creed also gives off this vibe, even if I did find it a bit too similar to the original.
Coming into Creed 2, I was not sure what to expect from this film.
I wondered if it would manage to capture the magic of the other two Rocky films I had seen, or if it would be one of those terrible sequels I have heard so much about.
Thankfully, the film was not the latter because, under the guidance of director Steven Caple Jr., Creed 2 is a very hard hitting film both figuratively and literally.
Personally, I think the story of this film is better than the first Creed with the titular Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) planning to fight Viktor Drago (Florian Muteanu), the son of the man who killed his father in the ring.
Watching Adonis’ journey and the emotional and physical struggles he had to go through in this film made me relate to him a lot more than I did previously.
One thing that really surprised me about Creed 2 was how relatable the antagonists Viktor and Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) were.
I actually found myself relating a lot to their struggles just as much as Adonis’ and their arcs were just as satisfying as his.

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I was very surprised by how good a job the film did at making me sympathize with both Ivan and Viktor. Ordinarily they would have just been stereotypical bad guys so this is a welcome change. 

On the whole, I would say almost every character has grown exceptionally from the first Creed.
The one exception to this is the man himself Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) but he is still very relatable and Stallone gives another great performance as his most memorable character.
While, Creed 2 does have a great story it does not quite live up to the first Creed‘s technical mastery.
There were no shots that really wowed me like in the first film but this did not take away from the enjoyment.
Many other people in the theater I was in seemed to enjoy this film too because they were literally cheering during the final match between Adonis and Viktor.
Overall, Creed 2 is another crowd pleaser in the Rocky franchise with a great story, characters and acting.
This is also surprising for me because (and this is a secret) I do not even like boxing!