Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence & offensive language
Michael B. Jordan as Adonis “Donnie” Creed
Tessa Thompson as Bianca Taylor-Creed
Jonathan Majors as Damian “Diamond Dame” Anderson
Wood Harris as Tony “Little Duke” Evers
Florian Munteanu as Viktor Drago
Phylicia Rashad as Mary Anne Creed
Director: Michael B. Jordan
Still dominating the boxing world, Adonis Creed is thriving in his career and family life. When Damian, a childhood friend and former boxing prodigy resurfaces after serving time in prison, he’s 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.
I was looking forward to Creed III. I had only watched Rocky but found the first Creed to be a great film, and Creed II to be a solid follow up. Creed III particularly had some interesting things going for it. Not only will be the first movie in the franchise to not have Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, but it would have Creed actor Michael B. Jordan directing (like how Stallone directed some of the Rocky movies). The latest film in the franchise did not disappoint.
While the previous two Creed movies were based off things that happened in the Rocky movies, Creed III is the first movie completely about Adonis Creed. The story is unsurprisingly straightforward and formulaic, you can pretty much tell what will happen before going into the movie, nonetheless it is done very well. There is a strong focus and emphasis on character, and it succeeds at telling a personal story. Much like the series in general, Creed III is very heartfelt. There’s a lot of vulnerability and emotional nuance, particularly when it comes to the connection between Creed and Damian (Jonathan Majors). As you can expect, it all builds up to the boxing match in the last act, which is immensely satisfying to watch. At 2 hours, Creed III is a little short, and it could’ve done with an extra 15-20 minutes to flesh out some of its story and characters. There are some undercooked relationships which didn’t have much payoff in the second half. For example, in the first half there are some scenes showing Adonis’s daughter wanting to learn to fight like her father, and it seemed like it was going to be an ongoing story thread, but doesn’t even become much of a subplot. Also, it’s not a big deal, but you really feel the absence of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa (which is possibly due to some behind the scenes issues). The story works perfectly well without him and Rocky’s arc seemed to come to a close in the previous Creed movies. Nonetheless, I feel like there’s a couple of moments where he could’ve played a small part.
The acting is great as to be expected. Michael B. Jordan once again shines as Adonis Creed, and he delivers on the physicality and emotion of his character. Tessa Thompson reprises her role as Bianca and is good as always, although I wish there was a little more of her. Another good performance is from Mila Davis-Kent as their daughter Amara. There is a strong and genuine family dynamic between these three, and I wish we got more of it. However, Jonathan Majors was the standout as the main antagonist, with his character having a personal connection to Adonis from when they were kids. Majors gives an intimidating yet layered and nuanced performance here, he brought so much to the role, and has a very convincing dynamic with Jordan.
I was most intrigued by the fact that Michael B. Jordan would be directing, considering that it would also be his directorial debut. With Creed III, he has already proved himself to be a great director. From what I can tell, it’s stylistically different to any Rocky/Creed movie that came before, making it a unique entry in the franchise. One of the most interesting things to hear in the lead up to its release was that Jordan said that much of his style was inspired by anime, and watching the movie you can see that. It is hyper stylised but refreshing and doesn’t feel too out of place. It is visually gorgeous and very well put together. You mostly see the anime influence in the boxing scenes, which are intense and exhilarating to watch. The style added so much flare and energy, the fight chorography is excellent, the camerawork is exciting and quick, and some distinct choices including slow motion and quick pans really add a lot. The final fight is particularly electric and was something special to watch on the big screen.
Creed III is another great entry in the franchise, and an incredible character driven boxing drama, well directed with strong stylistic and creative choices, stellar fight scenes, and great performances. While it works as a trilogy, if they decide to do a fourth Creed movie, I’d be on board to see that too. I would also love to see Michael B. Jordan direct more movies because he’s done a fantastic job here.