The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, find out if you noticed the various Creed II references and Easter eggs linked to the Rocky franchise. Plus, watch The National‘s animated Bob’s Burgers music video centered around Thanksgiving, and listen in as Emma Stone learns some British slang from her The Favourite co-star Rachel Weisz. Read More »
Posted on Friday, November 23rd, 2018 by Fred Topel
If you’ve seen Creed II, there’s one surprise you’ll definitely want to hear more about. But if you have not seen the latest installment in the Rocky/Creed saga yet, you’ll definitely want to be as surprised by that as any first time viewer. This story is just for people who have already seen Creed II, so here’s your spoiler warning.
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Posted on Thursday, November 22nd, 2018 by Fred Topel
By Rocky IV, Sylvester Stallone had to go bigger and bigger to find worthy opponents for Rocky Balboa. After defeating Apollo Creed in a rematch in Rocky II, he discovered Mr. T to play the street tough Clubber Lang in Rocky III. For Rocky IV, Stallone cast Dolph Lundgren as the Russian contender Ivan Drago to tower over both himself and Apollo Creed.
33 years later, the Dragos return in Creed II. Now Ivan has a son, Viktor, a boxer who wants to challenge Adonis Creed for the title. The Dragos come to Philadelphia and Ivan even confronts Rocky decades after their Russia bout.
Lundgren spoke with /Film by phone last week to discuss the return of Ivan Drago in Creed II. The film shows a father/son story paralleled with Adonis and Rocky, but it turns out there was even more to the Drago story that didn’t even make the final cut.
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Rocky III saw Sylvester Stallone‘s persistent pugilist stepping into the ring to battle Mr. T, but according to Stallone, there was an even crazier idea for the film at first. In an old interview, Stallone revealed his original Rocky III idea had a half-blind Rocky Balboa duking it out in Roman Coliseum, with the Pope himself in the audience.
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Posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 by Fred Topel
Sylvester Stallone may have really thought he was saying goodbye to Rocky when he wrote, directed and starred in Rocky Balboa. Then Ryan Coogler came along with the idea for Creed. It seemed to energize Stallone again and as soon as Creed came out, he started teasing ideas for a sequel that would bring back Ivan Drago from Rocky IV.
At one point, Stallone was going to direct Creed II, but he ultimately turned directing duties over to Steven Caple Jr. Caple had one feature film to his credit. The Land was a Sundance hit that explored Cleveland with a new voice and vision. Stallone agreed Caple was the right choice to take Creed and Rocky further.
In the sequel, Adonis Creed is the new heavyweight champion of the world. Meanwhile, Ivan Drago’s son Viktor has been training in the Ukraine for just the right opportunity to challenge the son of the man his father killed in the ring. Naturally, Rocky has some issues with this.
Caple spoke with /Film by phone while on the road with Creed II, including a stop in Philadelphia for a press junket. We spoke about making a sequel both to Rocky IV and to Creed and how you please fans of both. Creed II opens Wednesday, November 21.
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It is perhaps fitting that a film all about characters struggling to escape the crushing weight of expectations would itself have to grapple with similar expectations. Such is the case with Creed II, a follow-up to the superlative 2015 film Creed, which remixed the original Rocky with panache and style that had been missing from the franchise for a long time. Creed II also remixes a number of elements from most of the overall Rocky franchise, while telling a story whose beats are easily familiar to anyone with a passing awareness of the boxing-movie genre, boosted largely by its cast.
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Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2018 by Fred Topel
Most sequels still exist as standalone entries in the continuing adventures of their heroes. Sure, some Marvel movies and Star Wars build on the history of the franchise, and may reference events of recent sequels, but it’s very rare for a spin-off series to make a direct sequel to a decades-old entry from its base series. That’s just strange.
That’s what Creed II is, though. Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is the son of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), and the first Creed was the story of Adonis carving his own path with the help of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). But Creed II is a direct sequel to the events of Rocky IV, with Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) returning with his son Viktor (Florian Munteanu) to challenge Adonis.
Some fans of Creed may not have even been born when Rocky IV came out, and even die-hard Rocky fans might not remember every detail of the 1985 entry. And maybe you just don’t have time to give it a watch! So here is everything you need to remember from Rocky IV before you see Creed II.
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Are you ready to step back into the ring?
Next week, one of the many new releases trying to get audiences into theaters over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend will be Creed II. The sequel to the surprisingly great Rocky spin-off is bringing in another piece of the franchise’s legacy by bringing back Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundrgren), this time managing his boxer son Viktor Drago (played by real fighter Florian “Big Nasty” Munteanu) as he prepares for a match with Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan). There’s no better time to say “This time, it’s personal,” since Ivan Drago is the one responsible for the death of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) in Rocky IV, and Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) isn’t exactly thrilled to see him back near a boxing ring again.
So how does Creed II measure up to its predecessor? Well, it sounds like the sequel suffers from dipping too much back into the Rocky franchise by providing fan service. But director Steven Caple Jr. has still delivered a solid follow-up that audiences will enjoy. Find out more in our Creed 2 reviews round-up below. Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago stepped into a boxing ring back in 1985, but only Drago stepped out. The steroid-fueled Russian dealt a fatal blow to the charismatic American, leading Apollo’s rival-turned-friend Rocky Balboa to avenge him in the ring. Now, more than 30 years later, Apollo’s son is looking for his own revenge.
In this month’s Creed II, actor Michael B. Jordan reprises his role as Adonis Creed, and he’s fighting against not only Drago’s son, but against the weight of expectation and legacy. MGM has released a slew of new Creed II featurettes that showcase several of the film’s characters and what they have to deal with in the upcoming sequel. Read More »
At 6’4″ and 245 pounds, Florian Munteanu’s Viktor Drago somehow makes the none-too-shabby Michael B. Jordan looks small. At least, that’s what the new Creed II featurette makes him out to be, introducing the Romanian boxer and actor, and all of his intimidating attributes, in all his glory. MGM released the clip ahead of the upcoming release of Creed II later this month, which sees Adonis Creed readying himself for a fight for not just his legacy, but for his life.
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