Of course, boxing is only part of the story, and Adonis has plenty of drama going on in his personal life, including his relationship with Bianca (Tessa Thompson). Similarly, Rocky continues to mourn the loss of his beloved wife, while remaining estranged from his son, with Adonis filling that role on a surrogate basis.
The fight sequences, as usual, are played at an operatic level, with an abundance of punches blocked by somebody’s face. Jordan — who further elevated his soaring stock between rounds with his role in “Black Panther” — is again in the kind of physical shape that could easily come with a cape and tights, although Munteanu nearly matches him, ripple for sinewy ripple.
At the risk of mixing sports metaphors, the game ball here really goes to Lundgren, who wears those 33 years in the wilderness on his face, while tripping down memory lane by prodding his son to “break” opponents. Everyone, though, dives in with conviction, investing the emotional scenes with more heft than they probably deserve.
“Creed II” won’t win many points for breaking new ground, but nor does it intend to. And in terms of clearly executing the basic fight plan, the film delivers another technical knockout.
“Creed II” premieres Nov. 21 in the U.S. It’s rated PG-13.