Creed shoulders the legacy of six prior Rocky films but it blazes its own path, establishing a concise mission statement in its opening scene. Set in an LA juvenile correctional facility, in which young Black boys are lined up like adult prisoners, the Ryan Coogler-helmed sixth sequel introduces us to a young Adonis Johnson (Alex Henderson) as he beats down a fellow detainee. Adonis comes from a background of fame and celebrity — his father, Apollo Creed, died before he was born — but he’s been raised in a world of violence and invisibility, a world from which Apollo’s wife Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad) hopes to rescue him. When the widow first meets the orphaned child, his fist remains clenched, always on guard. But when she offers him a home, and the kind of love that had evaded him all his life, he relaxes his hand.

This is the world of Creed. It inherits both the violence of the ring — a more glamourous violence, albeit one whose effects are still deadly — and the violence of SoCal streets, to which Oakland native Coogler had at least some proximity (it’s worth noting that his father was a counselor at a juvenile hall). It’s a world where Adonis’ two lives must remain separate, the incompatible paradigms of a privileged son who has a fancy desk job and resides in a mansion, and a boy in search of some form of identity as he takes on cheap fights in Tijuana over the weekend. He wants to fight, certainly, but on some level he needs to, in order to reconcile being the nexus of two violent paths. The call to masculine showmanship is what got Apollo killed in Rocky IV, a toxic machismo Adonis would’ve inherited regardless (or rather, would’ve been raised with). Apollo’s absence, however, results in violence born of survival. Which one is Adonis truly a product of, he wonders?

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Sylvester Stallone Retiring Rocky Balboa

Creed II hit theaters last week, and even though it came in #2 on the box office charts behind a record-breaking haul for Ralph Breaks the Internet, the movie carved its own legacy by landing the biggest Thanksgiving opening weekend ever for a live-action movie. Now, if a new Instagram video from Sylvester Stallone holds strong, it sounds like Adonis Creed will really be setting out on his own from here on out.

Sylvester Stallone took to Instagram today with a video recorded during production on Creed II where he announces that the Rocky spin-off sequel will likely be his “last rodeo” as Rocky Balboa. So what does that mean for the future of the Creed franchise? Read More »

Creed II - Drago Family Breaks Stuff

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 special edition, Creed II stars Dolph Lundgren and Florian “Big Nasty” Munteanu get together and break a bunch of things. Plus, Rocky IV inspires a short episode of ESPN’s documentary series 30 for 30, and Creed II star Michael B. Jordan and director Steven Caple Jr. review boxing scenes from the past. Read More »

creed ii spoiler review

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Creed II.)

Step back into the ring with Creed II, a sequel to Ryan Coogler’s 2015 Rocky spin-off Creed. The main cast is back, but Coogler is not. The result? An exciting, entertaining sequel that never manages to match the strength of the first film. Much like Adonis Creed himself, the Creed franchise will need to forge its own legacy if it wants to continue.

Major spoilers follow.

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The National - Bob's Burgers Music Video

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 »

sequel bits creed ii

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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creed 2 drago

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 3 idea

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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Creed II featurette

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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creed ii trailer

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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