Creed II

There are parts of this movie that are quite good: Tessa Thompson, Michael B. Jordan, and Sylvester Stallone all give strong performances.

The training sequences give me what I want from training sequences (bold music, rapid advancement, and Kool-Aid Man energy).

But … the final fight scene has a weird pace (it ends later than you think it does) and while it initially seems the film is trying to make Ivan Drago a sympathetic figure, it doesn’t commit to that in a meaningful way.

It is intriguing to see the fallout from Drago’s loss in “Rocky IV, but that storyline doesn’t carry through to the actual plot. It’s just sort of there.

Weird thought: There’s a connection between “Creed II” and “Iron Man 2” (stick with me here). Both feature a Russian father who was thwarted by an American (Rocky beat Drago; Howard Stark had Anton Vanko deported after he sold off designs for the arc reactor the pair co-developed). Both movies also focus on sons (well, sorta sons, in the case of Creed) revisiting their fathers’ grudges decades later.