Synopsis: After dominating the boxing world, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) has been thriving in both his career and family life. When a childhood friend and former boxing prodigy, Damian (Jonathan Majors), resurfaces after serving a long sentence in prison, he is eager to prove that he deserves his shot in the ring. The face-off between former friends is more than just a fight. To settle the score, Adonis must put
his future on the line to battle Damian – a fighter who has nothing to lose.
Taking accountability doesn’t come easy for most of us. It takes an advanced level of maturity, heightened confidence, and years of introspection to truly realize that we control our own outcomes more than we think. Blaming others is easier. While other parties may be at fault in certain situations, you can’t control what others do, but you can usually control yourself and your actions. You didn’t have to be there, you could’ve said no, you could’ve left earlier, woken up sooner, worked harder, studied more, and so on and so on. Make your own destiny, don’t wait around for someone to make it for you.
“He’s telling you who he is, believe him.”
Ding ding! The champ is back. However, now Adonis Creed is a family man and has a business to run so the trunks and gloves are sitting pretty in retirement… but for how long? Directed by Michael B. Jordan in his directorial debut, Creed III is nothing short of electrifying. This emotional past-meets-present collision course is guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat. Featuring some of the best and most creative fight sequences of the franchise, a plot that’s as thick as a heavy bag, and performances that will knock you out, this third installment more than lives up to the hype. This is a story of brother versus brother, where a violent past that was barely escaped regains its stranglehold physically and psychologically. Secrets are exposed, lies are told, and ugly truths are unearthed that detail the heavy burden that has been festering in the subconscious of more than one person. It all culminates on the biggest stage at the intersection of pride, broken dreams, stolen youth, guilt, and immense anger.
As far as the boxing atmosphere goes, it’s all accounted for. There are familiar commentary faces from DAZN, ring announcer, Jimmy Lennon Jr., boxers Canelo Alvarez and José Benavidez Jr., cutman, Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran, and it wouldn’t be complete without a training montage. There are even some faces that you might not expect to see like Kehlani and Butch Locsin. The story hits as hard as antagonist, Damian Anderson punches and when those blows land, you feel them reverberate through your body. It features childhood trauma and how as Black men we tend to suppress our emotions rather than seek help. It usually results in an enormous chip on our shoulders and a heart filled with turmoil and anxiety. On top of that heartache is a deeply fractured brother-like relationship that can only be solved by how brothers tend to resolve issues, fist-to-face combat. It’s tense, it’s chilling, and most of all, it’s polarizing. You’ll find yourself at odds empathizing with Creed as well as Dame.
On the other hand, we get to witness the softer side of Adonis as a husband and a father. Also, the love that his daughter Amara has for the sport of boxing. I’m calling it now, I foresee a spinoff series that focuses on her called The Creed Legacy. Anyway, as the film pertains to its predecessors, besides the history of the titular character, it can stand on its own. You don’t necessarily have to watch the previous two to enjoy this one, you can actually watch them afterward like prequels and the effect will be the same.
The music is dope, the score is rich, the cinematography is amazing, and the anime-inspired fight choreography is breathtaking. There’s an immersive sequence in the third act that drops you directly into the state of mind of the fighters which is truly awe-inspiring. My only beef is that I wish the film was about 15 to 20 minutes longer in order for us to get more depth and backstory, however, it’s somewhat a selfish request. What isn’t shown is understood through context, I just wanted more Dame and perhaps more fights between the first and final one. You’ll laugh, you’ll tense up, and after an unexpected death scene, you may even shed a tear. While aspects of the film may feel predictable or par for the course, it’s the execution that makes Creed III stand out. I was literally on the edge of my seat for half of the film, so I can’t praise it enough. Michael B. Jordan’s debut came out swinging and rarely missed. It is most definitely worth the price of admission. Its rewatchability is high.
Pacing & Pop
Besides feeling like it speeds through some aspects of the story that could’ve had more depth, the pacing of the film is perfect. It does a great job of continuously building a mountain of tension. What popped for me was Jonathan Majors’ performance. Oddly enough, he delivers the Killmonger effect. Even when you know that he is supposed to be the bad guy in the story, you can’t help but empathize and root for him a little. A true anti-hero.
Characters & Chemistry
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors, Wood Harris, Mila Davis-Kent, Florian Munteanu, and Phylicia Rashad
Jonathan Majors can do no wrong. While the entire cast did an amazing job, Majors steals the show as he often does. It’s his Hollywood now. His intensity, bravado, and pain explode off the screen as Damian Anderson whose like the fusion of Mike Tyson and Clubber Lang. The tension between Damian and Adonis is electric and truly palpable. There’s also lingering anguish that engulfs Creed as well and Michael B. Jordan is phenomenal in his reprisal. Tessa Thompson effortlessly plays well off of everyone she is in a scene with as she is somewhat the story’s conscience. Mila Davis-Kent is adorable as the daughter, Amara Creed, as she brings joy that disarms a toughened Adonis Creed. And lastly, Wood Harris is always a treat I’m not sure when he became everyone’s uncle, but I love it. The character arcs are terrific and incredibly pleasing.
Creed III releases in theaters on March 3, 2023. Remain safe and bob and weave.
Rated: PG-13 Runtime: 1h 56m Director: Michael B. Jordan Writers: Ryan Coogler and Keenan Coogler & Zach Baylin Producers: Irwin Winkler, p.g.a., Charles Winkler, William Chartoff, David Winkler, Ryan Coogler, p.g.a., Michael B. Jordan, p.g.a., Elizabeth Raposo, p.g.a, Jonathan Glickman, Sylvester Stallone Executive Producers: Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Nicolas Stern, Adam Rosenberg Music by: Joseph Shirley Score Produced by: Ludwig Göransson Director of Photography: Kramer Morgenthau
Creed III is nothing short of electrifying
Senior Critic. Observing the human race since 1988.