Trailer Reactions

TRAILER REACTION: “Creed II”

A few years ago we got a great cinematic spinoff from one of the most beloved franchises in modern movie history. “Creed” built off of the “Rocky” movies by putting the focus on the son of Apollo Creed and recaptured the charm and inspirational power the franchise was once known for. After a few years of waiting we finally get our first look at the long-promised sequel, “Creed II”, with a trailer released by MGM. With a plot that sets Adonis Creed up to avenge the death of his father in the ultimate grudge match, does this early look live up to the promise of the premise? Let’s break it down! You can view the full trailer for “Creed II” at the end of this post. Let me know if you found anything I missed in comments below.

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The trailer starts off with Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan, apparently losing a fight, falling to the ground in slow motion while wearing the red, white and blue shorts he dawned in the first film like his father before him. We don’t get to see who he is fighting but we know the loss is a big one as it puts him in the hospital where his girlfriend Bianca, again played by Tessa Thompson, is comforting him telling him “we got this”. Obviously the fight was a tough loss for Creed and we have yet to know why. Is this where the second film starts to set up Creed’s character journey or is this his loss against the big bully of the film who we’ll get to later? If you want more on this moment you can skip right to the end but I warn you, and I’ll warn you there too, there MAY be a potential spoiler at that point in this breakdown you may not want to read if you’ll looking to keep this film a complete mystery until it’s theatrical run.

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We see Creed training as Rocky, played by Sylvester Stallone, provides a voiceover pep talk to his protégé comparing life and boxing. He explains how life throws cheap shots and doesn’t play by any rules. He seems to be trying to talk Creed out of a fight telling him that there are people who need him and that Rocky and others his age make the mistake of living in the past. It’s hinted that Adonis now has a family as he is seen taking a baby from Bianca. He has the scars of the fight from earlier in this shot which means it’s the aftermath of whatever bout was shown in the first moments of the trailer. It’s possible this first fight of the movie, or what I’m assuming will be the first fight, could set up the risk he is taking remaining in the ring. This is further supported as Rocky tells Creed that he has “everything to lose” while his yet to be revealed opponent does not. Creed responds saying he doesn’t have a choice before Rocky reminds him that Apollo said the same thing before he died in Rocky’s arms at the hands of Ivan Drago. You can see where this is going but we’ll touch on that soon. Rocky calls the opponent dangerous and Creed shows distress that Rocky doesn’t believe Creed can win.

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Another quick shot shows Creed training hard and at one point staring at a glass silhouette of his father admitting his fear of trying to live up to the expectations set upon him. Bianca challenges him saying “you don’t think you got your validation” which is a reality that fits with Creed’s character from the first movie. While clearly more humble and focused Creed continues to show a slight ego and a drive to prove something to the world. While Bianca doesn’t necessarily seem to be irritated with this statement it’s hard to believe that his drive to keep fighting and put his life on the line in the ring won’t create an issue. Bianca seems more dedicated to and supportive of Creed in this first look but there’s something about this moment in the trailer that stands out. Bianca appears to be holding back, like she supports Creed in his mission but also finds it ridiculous and reckless. It will be interesting to see if this relationship suffers from the events of the film or if it grows even stronger.

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The next few seconds of the trailer are overlapped by Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA” and feature scenes of Creed’s training as well as his personal life including a pretty cool looking scene where he is training underwater. This kind of training would be meant to add resistance to the fighter to help with conditioning. It’s a neat shot and a kind of training we have not seen in the “Rocky” movies which shows Creed’s willingness to be experimental in his attempt to be stronger and faster than his opponent as well as adding a modern touch to the franchises famed training montages. Creed is taking things seriously and it’s a nice unique offering to a franchise that became famous for practicing boxing on dead pigs.

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Creed is clearly more in touch with his personal relationship with his father in this sequel as we see him visit Apollo Creed’s grave despite the younger Creed being so adamant to blaze his own trail in the first film. He tells his mother that he wants to “rewrite history”, another hint at who his main opponent will be, only for his mother to frustratingly accuse Creed’s upcoming fight of being about more than just his father. Like Bianca in the earlier scene, Creed’s mother seems to feel his upcoming bout it more about personal validation that anything else but rather than remain subtle like Bianca, the other tells it like it is. She believes Creed’s fight is more selfish than anything else.

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The rest of the trailer is pretty much a collection of training and boxing shots with some casual personal moments mixed in for spice with on-screen text reminding us that this fight is about more than a title. Even Creed admits “it may not seem like it now, but this is more than just a fight” which is both a statement to his loved ones and to the audience watching who may think the sequel is looking to live off of the nostalgia of the match up. Then the moment we have been waiting for arrives. We get a look at Creed’s opponent wearing a boxing jacket emblazoned with a simple name…Drago. As I already mentioned earlier, fans of the franchise will remember Ivan Drago as the antagonist from “Rocky IV”. It was long rumored that a Drago would be Creed’s next opponent and judging by this and a quick earlier shot of Creed facing down a challenger during the montage it will be Drago’s son who will face off against Creed in a generational rematch. It has been revealed that a Viktor Drago will be in the film as Ivan Drago’s son and judging by the few shots we get of this fighter the younger Drago looks intimidating and just as physically imposing as his father. Obviously this is what the trailer was building towards from the start with many references to the battle that took Apollo’s life and Adonis making a big deal out of living up to expectations while staring at reminders of his father. The trailer ends with the title card and a quick look at Creed taking a big punch from Drago to the final beat of “DNA”.

I will now discuss a possible BIG spoiler so if you’re looking to avoid it you can scroll down fast now….

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Alright I warned you. Here is the potential SPOILER I noticed in this trailer from the first and very last shots. The screenshot above gives us a good shot of Drago’s shorts as he makes the punch in the final shot of the trailer. If you watch carefully you can see his shorts are a solid white with just the red stripe on top with Drago’s name. In the first shot of the trailer we see Creed being trounced by a white fighter who also has similar all-white shorts. While there’s not enough here to make assumptions it looks like POSSIBLY the first shot of the trailer could be from either this same battle or from a seporate fight between Creed and Drago. It’s merely an assumption but it’s a small details I just happened to notice. It would be kind of crappy to show the result of the final bout in the trailer but it makes for great opening and closing shots right? There is one detail that COULD debunk my theory. The first shot in the trailer shows Creed wearing mostly red boxing gloves when he falls to the floor. The final shot shown above appears to show Creed wearing black gloves although both pair of gloves have the same logo on them. So it’s possible I’m reading too much into the comparison but we’ll have to wait and see once the film is released if I noticed a cool detail or maybe overthought it.

So what did we get out of the first trailer for “Creed II”? A lot of buildup that’s for sure. Many fans already knew that “Creed II” would revisit the rivalry between Ivan Drago and the late Apollo Creed, but I can say even with that prior knowledge the trailer totally revved me up for the excitement still to come. The tone seems spot on and while the dialogue threatens a rehash of some concepts from previous films “Creed II’s” first look hints at appropriate growth for its characters and, best of all, it leaves the details of the ultimate bout relatively well hidden unless you’re digging every inch for a clue like I did (again if you saw the possible spoiler above I warned you, not my fault). Despite a new director in Steven Caple, Jr. and new writers, including Stallone, “Creed II” looks promising and will hopefully continue to build on one of the better cinematic reboots to come about in a long time. We have to wait until Thanksgiving however to see if the final product lives up to its potential.

2 comments

  1. “While there’s not enough here to make assumptions it looks like POSSIBLY the first shot of the trailer could be from either this same battle or from a seporate fight between Creed and Drago.”

    I was wondering the same thing. I think they are from different fights. Who knows though. It could be same fight, but from a reshoot since it happens so quick & the film itself is still being edited. I say this due to the color of the ropes in the background of both boxing rings. When I look at the pic where he’s on the ground, the blurry ropes in the background (from bottom going up) blue, white, red, blue. In the photo where Drago hits him, those ropes (from bottom going up again) red, white, white, red. I understand there might be ropes we can’t see since he’s on the ground in the first pic. The view is lower. However, the ropes from the Drago punch photo show two consecutive white ropes. That would still be noticeable in the pic with Creed on the ground. The posts that the ropes are attached too also looks slightly different. One seems mostly red with a white top. The other looks mostly white with some red. hahaha I can’t believe I’m picking this apart this much. I feel like I work for the FBI.

    Liked by 1 person

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