Sympathy for the Devil: Creed II’s Most Compelling Character is the Villain

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Sympathy for the Devil: Creed II’s Most Compelling Character is the Villain

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

T

he Rocky franchise is now eight films and 40 years old, which means new entrants in the series follow a well-trod path, and deliver comforting, familiar wish-fulfilment. There’s a few staple ingredients in these movies – the underdog protagonist, an epic training montage, Sylvester Stallone mumbling bits of folksy wisdom, and, of course, that background score – and Creed II does not disappoint fans looking for what they know and love. It’s a competent, watchable, if predictable film, which does its job of decisively passing the protagonist’s torch from Stallone’s Rocky Balboa to Michael B Jordan’s Adonis Creed.

Still for all the déjà vu and callbacks to earlier films that are scattered throughout Creed II, the film does manage to sneak in a surprise. It brings back Ivan Drago, the most imposing, intimidating villain in the franchise’s history, only to show a softer, more human side to his character. Even though Rocky and Adonis are ostensibly the good guys, their opponents, the so-called villains, make for much more compelling characters. Ivan and his son Viktor are on their own road to redemption, and had this movie been titled Drago instead of Creed, would have been natural protagonists themselves.

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