Friday, March 3

Creed 3 Review

Creed 3

Dir: Michael B. Jordon

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors, Tessa Thompson, Wood Harris, and Mila Davis-Kent

1h 56m


The tagline for "Creed 3", the latest entry for the franchise started 47 years ago with "Rocky," is "You can't run from the past." Making his feature debut and third round playing the title character Adonis Creed, Michael B. Jordan doesn't run from the iconic past. Instead, "Creed 3" acknowledges the influence of the "Rocky" saga while stepping out from the shadow of Rocky Balboa with a film that stands firmly on its established trilogy foundation. Michael B. Jordan delivers a film with energy, allowing for excellent character development with a retired Adonis Creed and a new heavyweight contender played with nuanced menace by Jonathan Majors. Adding some flashy techniques to separate the boxing fight style from past films and "Creed 3" delivers consistently for 12 rounds.

Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) has dominated the boxing world, leaving a legacy that sports enthusiasts honor while establishing a family life that no way near resembles his troubling upbringing as a youth. Creed owns a gym and mentors the current world champion while creating an outlet for up-and-coming fighters to train. Bianca (Tessa Thompson), Adonis' wife, is a successful music producer, and Amara (Mila Davis-Kent), their daughter, is tender and tough, just like her parents. When a childhood friend named Damien (Jonathan Majors), a boxing prodigy and mentor to young Adonis, is released from a lengthy prison sentence, Adonis feels compelled to help his old friend. Damien is ready to return to the ring. With nothing to lose, Damien is determined to reclaim what was taken from him at any cost, even when it means forcing Adonis out of retirement for another match.


"Creed 3" noticeably takes a decisive step to fight on its own, away from the "Rocky" franchise and without the iconic force of Sylvester Stallone to assist in any way. Aside from one mention of Rocky and a brief needle drop of the original score, "Creed 3" is its own story. And for the most part, it successfully builds an entertaining, if never too unfamiliar, arc of spectacle and emotion that lets Michael B. Jordan confidently own the character and directing responsibilities.

Jordan flexes his directing skills with the performers, specifically in scenes involving the primary supporting leads, Tessa Thompson and Jonathan Majors. Thompson may not have much to do on the page, but the actress brings a charm as a mom and confidence in scenes as a wife trying to understand the complicated trauma of her partner's past. Jonathan Majors steals the show throughout the film, playing a soft-spoken yet intimidating former friend to Adonis (who he calls "Donnie"). Majors is physically menacing both in and out of the ring; the actor consistently maintains an anxious and cautious posture, as if, at any moment, someone might attack him. As the film transitions, with Damien trading niceties for intimidations with his childhood friend, Majors' swagger turns tentative to threatening, making his villain the best of the "Creed" series.


In the ring, Jordan takes the opportunity to introduce a new style to the boxing composition. The flare with the fight scenes is inventive and action-packed, with slow-motion hits that make every punch feel like an explosion and cuts that keep the pacing frantic and unexpected for the viewer. There is even an artistic touch with the final bout in a ring shrouded in a haze of smoke and shadows intercut with flashbacks to emphasize the internal battle with the past for both fighters. It works in creating screen drama but takes away from the energetic emotion of the fight.


Michael B. Jordan proves a promising director to watch in the future. Jonathan Majors' performance is a big reason for the successful drama established for the film, and the family dynamic adds an emotional quality that makes the fight, in the end, have more significant stakes. "Creed 3" confidently moves with only a few knockdowns, establishing a film willing to fight its own match.


Monte's Rating

3.50 out of 5.00


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