LET’S GO! Nearly two and half years after Sly confirmed the movie was happening, Creed II drops its first trailer and there’s a lot to unpack here. Right off the bat, we see our boy Adonis KO’d by an opponent in white trunks and supported by Tessa Thompson’s Bianca. We then get this from Rocky talking to Adonis:
Rocky: In the ring, you got rules. Outside, you got nothin’. Life hits you with all these cheap shots. People like me, we live in the past. You got people that need you now.
Trailer cuts to Rocky and Adonis outside on the street while Rocky continues
You got everything to lose, this guys has got nothin’ to lose.
Adonis: I ain’t got a choice.
Rocky: That’s the same thing your father said and he died right here, in my hands. Listen to me this guy, he’s dangerous.
Adonis (choked up): What? You don’t think I could beat’em?
A shot of Rocky pausing
The first part before we see the conversation on the screen shows Adonis training (“In the ring, you got rules. Outside you got nothin’.”) Nothing too much is given away here aside from maybe part of the training montage.
We then see Rocky at what can be assumed are Adrian and Paulie’s graves (“Life hits you with all these cheap shots. People like me, we live in the past.”) We’ve seen Rocky’s grief over their deaths in Rocky Balboa and Creed. It would make sense that he still misses them given how much those events have affected his character in the past. The “people like me, we live in the past” quote supports this but also the relationship to the main antagonist: Rocky hasn’t forgiven himself for Apollo’s death and doesn’t want Adonis to be haunted by this for most of his life as well, hence “people like me.” We see Adonis and Bianca have a newborn when Rocky says “You got people that need you now” further affirming Rocky not wanting Adonis stuck on his father’s death like he is.
The face-to-face portion of the conversation is where it gets interesting. Rocky is trying to talk Adonis out of fighting “this guy” who “has nothin’ to lose” just how he tried to convince Apollo not to fight Ivan Drago. What’s interesting about Adonis’ same response, “I ain’t got a choice,” are the stakes of the fight. Apollo felt the need to fight Drago to defend the USA in the midst of the Cold War. Adonis feels the need to “rewrite history,” as he tries to tell his stepmother, Apollo’s widow, later in the trailer. But as Mary Anne Creed points out what we all know, this is to avenge Apollo.
What’s interesting about the rest of the trailer is how Adonis discusses the reasons for the fight as D.N.A. by Kendrick Lamar cuts between lines. He says, “I didn’t think I could live up to these expectations,” presumably to Bianca but the trailer shows a mural of Apollo. Bianca is then shown on screen, responding “You don’t think you got your validation?” We get the aforementioned conversation with Mary Anne Creed. The training throughout the trailer goes from Adonis seeming calm to literally scream into a punching bag.
We see a near-brawl at a weigh-in before finally hearing “It may not seem like this now, but this is more than just a fight.” I’ve never heard Florian Munteanu speak, he’s the Romanian actor and boxer cast to play Viktor Drago, but it’s worth noting that an accent can’t be heard. It doesn’t sound like Michael B. Jordan, though. Once the line is finished, the camera cuts to Viktor walking out of the tunnel with his father Ivan’s face clearly visible on the left and finally seeing “DRAGO” on the back of his robe.
It’s interesting that the plot of “Appollo Creed’s son vs. Ivan Drago’s son” has been known for a while–Stylone confirmed it last July. The trailer refers to Viktor Drago as “this guy” while heavily implying that he’s connected to Ivan until we finally see “DRAGO” at the end confirming it. I wonder how much we’ll see of this character given this “suspense” from the trailer. There was a lot left on the table with Ivan in Rocky IV. Most notably was the steroid use only being alluded to at the start of the movie, shown in the Hearts on Fire montage, and being “resolved” by Rocky beating Drago and thus being better than steroid use and communism at the same time.
The immediate takeaway from the trailer is that Adonis may make himself go crazy to avenge the legacy of his father while affirming his own–the Creed who could beat a Drago. Joining Rocky, his father’s best friend, and rival, as a Dragoslayer.
Creed II comes out November 21st.Follow @geordo9