Who would have thought it possible – the eighth entry in the Rocky franchise is one of the best in the series.
Creed II follows on from the 2015 film Creed, which shifted the focus away from the Italian Stallion and planted it firmly on Adonis ‘Donnie’ Creed, son of Rocky’s best friend and biggest competitor Apollo Creed.
Donnie is the heavyweight champion of the world, achieving the same status as his coach (Rocky) and father.
But someone has their heart set on challenging the young Creed for the title – and it’s a very familiar name.
Viktor Drago, son of Rocky IV villain Ivan Drago, puts his hand up to challenge for the title belt.
This is, of course, more than a mere title fight – Creed senior died in the ring during his fight with Drago senior and the bout between their sons is laden with emotion.
Creed II builds on the strong drama that was introduced in its predecessor.
The film is about so much more than the fight sequences – not to take anything away from the boxing matches – they are visceral, intense and all-round amazing.
The personal story of Donnie dealing with his vengeful desire to face Drago makes for some very strong storytelling, but it is his relationship with girlfriend Bianca and coach Rocky that really tugs at the heartstrings.
Sports movies aren’t particularly known for their strong acting performances, but Michael B Jordan excels himself as the young Creed.
Apart from physically looking the part, he is 100 per cent believable in the role and brings so much depth, vulnerability and complexity to the character.
It’s no surprise that Jordan is quickly rising through the ranks as one of Hollywood’s best young products.
Similarly, Tessa Thompson, who plays Bianca, is enjoying a sweet spot in her career and her performance in Creed II is no exception.
Sylvester Stallone continues his great work with his most famous character and also adds to the film as co-writer.
Fans of Rocky IV will be in their element with Creed II, as it constantly references and pays homage to the film that introduced Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). But even if you haven’t seen the 1985 film, it will be impossible not to cheer and clap along to the new one – it is just that good.