Failed to create a compelling villain. The script was too sympathetic toward Drago and son, and they even gave them a Hallmark moment at the very end. Didn't even go down the steroid use rabbit hole to create a "cheater" angle. The only villainous thing in the whole movie was him hitting Creed after he went down, and by then he'd beaten him fair and square.
The notion of him having gone up and fighting at heavyweight was also beyond ridiculous. Creed was a nice reboot, but this was a dismal follow up.
The real villain was Drago's/Stallone's ex-- they could have done a lot with that and didn't. I liked Dolph Lundgren, but the rest of the Drago clan was meh.
They should have had Tyson Fury as the villain and maybe cast the Diaz brothers in as his trainers-- let them write their own dialogue. Best picture nominee guaranteed.
They didn't even have the good sense to turn the boxing promoter into the villain. No villainy, no animosity...just an NPC putting together a fight that everyone wanted to see.
I think Creed 2 is a good example of Hollywood losing its way. I know everyone extols the virtues of these young filmmakers coming in with perspectives "outside of the system", but Jesus Christ they are missing some basic blocking and tackling skills. As corny a movie as Rocky III was, it was at least good basic storytelling. Manufactured a villain to hate, and created real dramatic tension between Rocky, Mick, Apollo, and Adrian.
It also doesn't help when you give the protagonist the character and IQ of the kid at the local McDonald's who can't get my order right. Rocky doesn't want anything to do with the fight, and Creed immediately goes into O HOW U GONE DO ME LIKE DAT mode. You can't create dramatic tension that an audience will care about by having your main character become an insufferable asshole at the drop of a hat.
It's just shit.