Michael B. Jordan left, and Sylvester Stallone in a scene from "Creed II. Picture: Warner Bros/AP
I’m not a fan of boxing dramas. I’m  more into football films like Remember  the Titans really get me going. So given  I hadn’t seen the first Creed, I was  coming in as a bit of a blank slate to  Creed II.

As a stand-alone film, one of its  strengths is that it’s competent. And it  does not function on the assumption  that you must have seen the first film.

Creed II continues the story of  Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) who  has finally risen up to the pinnacle  of boxing under of the tutelage of  his “uncle” Rocky Balboa (Sylvester  Stallone). 

Ready to take things to  the next level with his girlfriend  Bianca (Tessa Thompson), Creed  doesn’t seem to be comfortable in  his newfound glory, and an old foe  comes back into his life and poses the  biggest challenge yet.

Creed II felt authentic.  Whether it’s the reaction Creed  gets as he stops at his favourite  diner with Bianca in tow, or the  panoramic shots of Philadelphia,
there is something completely  honest about the storytelling in  the film.

The soundtrack, created by  record producer and songwriter  Mike Will Made-It, features some  trap-inspired songs and seems to  literally take its cues directly from  the film, which for me is a plus.

It also doesn’t hurt that it’s quite  a star-studded line-up.

The film features some  stunning shots, from the  underwater shadow-boxing that  Creed does in preparation for one  of his fights, to the POV slow-mo  shots of the actual fight scenes.

They make the film far more  immersive for the viewer.

There are also fun throwbacks  to Rocky films that take place  in Creed II – scenes that will be  of particular interest to people  who have, in the past, enjoyed
these films. 

These include the remake of the scene where Creed  proposes to Bianca; a similar scene takes place in one of the  franchise films where Rocky
proposes to Adrian in a very  similar way. There are many  others peppered throughout the  film and it’s a fun exercise to  match it to the original scene.

The chemistry between the cast  members – whether it’s between  Stallone and Jordan or Thompson  and Jordan – makes the film all  the more believable.

The battles that Creed goes  through – such as his struggle  with his identity, his new role  as a father and husband, and  allowing himself to mourn the father he’s never quite known  – gives the film that bit of meat  that separates it from what an all blood  and all-fight with sprinkles  of hyper-masculinity sport film
can sometimes boil down to. 

IOL