Michael B. Jordon takes the reins as director as well as lead actor in this third instalment of the Creed saga.
What does this entry in the “Rocky” franchise promise audiences? Boxing matches? Training montages? Dealing with everyday life that comes with the profession? Creed III has all of these things. It also deals with guilt, redemption, trauma and finding forgiveness. One major factor that sets this film apart is the absence of Sylvester Stallone’s famous Rocky Balboa due to creative differences with producer Irwin Winkler. In this instalment, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordon)returns once more as the titular protagonist. In addition, this film marks Jordon’s directorial debut in the director’s chair as well.
One thing that stands out is the film’s self-independence. In Creed and Creed II, the plot partially relied on past events from the Rocky saga to move itself forward. Here, however, the story is centred entirely around Adonis and his family with no direct mention of any of the Rocky films. This is a good decision on Jordon’s part as it gives more room to explore Adonis’ character in the story.
While this film has its own original ideas, something that will never change is the clashing of the gloves. Jordon, a renowned anime fan, confirmed in an interview that his love of the genre inspired how he approached creating boxing scenes. This doesn’t just extend to how the fighting is choreographed but to how it is used to convey the emotions the characters are experiencing.
Creed III also puts a significant emphasis on family and how integral they are. Adonis now enjoys a great life with his wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and daughter Amara (Mila Davis-Kent). Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashād), Adonis’ adoptive mother, also returns in a supportive role. He bases his decisions on how they will affect his family, showing a newfound sense of maturity. His dedication is so strong that he is willing to retire for them. When his past threatens their happiness, he resolves to return to the ring for them.
The movie opens with an adolescent Adonis (Thaddeus J. Mixon) sneaking out of his house. Together with his friend Damian Anderson (Spencer Moore II), they go to an underground boxing match where Damian fights and wins the match. On their way back, Adonis gets into an altercation with someone outside a liquor store.
Fifteen years later, after defeating his rival Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellow), the Adonis we all know decides it’s time to hang up the gloves. From then on, his life is pretty peaceful. He is surprised when a now adult Damian (Jonathon Majors) enters his life again for the first time in nearly two decades. Damian, who has been in prison during this time, has not let go of his dream. He wants his shot in the ring and asks Adonis to use his influence to secure a match for him.
Damian starts to show a darker side of the person he presents himself as. He manages to secure a shot at the championship but lies and cheats to get there. He wins the fight, but via mercilessly targeting his opponent’s weak spots. This puts a damper on Adonis and, by extension, his family. Adonis reveals to Bianca that Damian was arrested for drawing a gun because of the fight the former started. This led to Damian being forced to watch Adonis live out the dream that was originally his from behind bars. This, along with years of unanswered letters Adonis never received thanks to Mary Anne, caused Damian to feel betrayed. Damian goes on to publicly discredit his former friend as a fraud and a liar. In response, Adonis decides to leave retirement and face his demons and Damian in the ring.
Overall, Creed III takes a step away from the rest of the franchise in order to build upon itself. This is to the movie’s benefit thanks to Michael B. Jordon’s direction. It is familiar enough to associate with the Rocky name, but doesn’t rely on it to stand up. Jordon’s approach with the boxing scenes delivers what is loved about this series while also adding new powerful layers to it. All the characters have defined integral roles that play a part in the storyline. And despite being predictable in some places, the plot benefits from Jordon’s approach.
Watch the trailer below:
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