True story, I’ve never seen all of Rocky. I’m not usually into movies about boxing. However, I was excited when I saw the trailer for Creed III. Not only does Michael B. Jordan star in the movie, but he also directs. In addition, Jonathan Majors plays the antagonist. With such an impressive set of actors, I couldn’t wait to see this film. After watching the movie, I found it an emotional knockout. While the beginning is slow and the fight outcome is predictable, the film shines in the powerful performances by Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors, and Tess Thompson.
Creed III is a sports drama directed by Michael B. Jordan in his directorial debut from a screenplay by Keenan Cogler and Zach Baylin. The film is a direct sequel to Creed II. In the film, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is thriving in both his boxing career and his family life, supporting his wife Bianca (Tess Thompson) and how he adores his daughter. When a childhood friend and former boxing prodigy, Damien “Dame” Anderson (Jonathan Majors), resurfaces after serving a long sentence in prison, he is eager to prove he deserves a shot in the ring. Adonis supports his friend, but past secrets emerge. Soon the two end up in a face-off that is more than just a fight. Adonis must put his future on the line to battle Damien, who has nothing to lose.
One of the aspects that captivated me was how well the film is directed and written. Michael B. Jordan is excellent in how he paces the film and how he sets up the emotional stakes for the characters. The story begins with both men as young teenagers, giving you hints of their friendship and foreshadowing the future. Both young Adonis (Alex Henderson) and young Damien (Spence Moore) have strong performances that allow the viewer to see the men they become. But it is the conflict between them as adults that holds the viewer’s attention.
As the story unfolds, the music and the drama rise. The music helps quicken the pace of the film and build up anticipation for the fight, but it is the emotional power within Adonis’ family that held my attention. Adonis struggles with the past and his relationship with his mother. His mother has also kept secrets from him. The dynamic between them is powerful. Adonis also struggles with showing his emotions to his wife Bianca, but it is her vulnerability and openness that bring emotional weight to the movie. It is the interactions with his daughter that show you how much Adonis could lose in this fight and how much he is invested in resolving his past.
The performances are phenomenal. Michael B. Jordan effortlessly divides his attention between his performance and directing. You never see any impact on his portrayal of Adonis. The character is shown as emotionally vulnerable and yet strong. Michael B. Jordan does a fantastic job of showing his resilience and fight. As for Jonathan Majors, this is his year to shine. He is breathtakingly good in this movie as Damien, playing the character with complexity and emotion and allowing the viewers to empathize. He is never a cardboard cut-out villain. Tess Thompson as Bianca is fantastic. While her role is smaller, the dynamic between her and Michael B. Jordan is rich and warm even when the characters argue. The pair are believable as spouses and parents. Phylicia Rashad as Mary Anne Creed is amazing. I also loved the chemistry between Mila Davis-Kent as Amara, Adonis’ daughter, and Michael B. Jordan. It was an amazing connection between them.
While I loved the emotion and power of the performances, I did find the first third of the film slow. I can understand why; it builds the story and the pacing. However, it almost loses me until the pace picks up. I also found the outcome of the fight predictable. But what the movie did well was to keep the fight itself entertaining, using a scene that isolates the pair of fighters that heightens the tension between the men. That choice is a more dynamic choice and made the fight much more exciting to watch. Overall, the film delivers emotional richness with powerful performances.
If you like the Rocky films and the previous two “Creed” movies, you will find this film an emotional knockout. It packs a punch with the buildup to the fight and the fight itself. The performers do an incredible job with their characters, and the film is entertaining to watch, even in the slower scenes. The family emotion and drama will help the audience connect to the characters. All of the characters are complex and riveting. I highly recommend watching this, even if you aren’t a boxing fan.
Rating: 4 belts out of 5
Official Website: Creed III | Official Website | Only In Theaters Friday
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.
Creed III is the third installment in the successful franchise and is Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut.
CREED III opens exclusively in theaters nationwide on March 3, 2023.
ONE-LINER: You can’t run from your past.