We review Creed III, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors.
PLOT: When Damian Anderson, an old friend of Adonis Creed, arrives from prison looking for a break, he decides to give Damian another chance. However, he finds that Damian may not have the best of intentions in his plans to get back into the world of boxing.
REVIEW: The year 2023 is shaping up to be a year of sequels. To be fair, that is every year as of late. Thankfully, some of these sequels are good. And Creed III is one of the best at continuing to tell a story that started back with Stallone’s masterwork, Rocky, in 1976. And similarly to Rocky II from 1979, Creed star Michael B. Jordan is also taking on directorial duties this time. And he succeeds. The new story is concise and inspiring and features excellent fighting sequences. The third film in the Creed-specific franchise also smartly includes Jonathan Majors as an old acquaintance of Adonis Creed. So put up your dukes, and let’s get down to it.
Adonis Creed is living a good life with his producer/recording artist wife (Tessa Thompson) and their daughter (a sweet performance from young Mila Davis-Kent). Things change drastically for Adonis when Damian Anderson, an old friend and a one-time boxing protege, shows up after an extended prison stay. Hoping to give his childhood buddy a break, Adonis convinces his partners at the gym to let the man spar. Yet it becomes clear that Damian may not have the best intentions with his return. Will Adonis return to the world of boxing? Well, it’s a Creed flick so you can figure that out. Even still, the Jordan-directed feature effortlessly brings back the excitement and drama in spades.
One of the best things about this franchise is that you can quickly jump in with each movie. There is little need to rewatch the first to prepare. Like its predecessors, Creed III is a sports drama that thrillingly brings the audience into action. The opening sequence fills you in on all you need to know regarding what’s about to transpire. And once the story gets going, the fast-moving sequel brings on the emotion and the tension. It’s a fantastic follow-up that instantly made this viewer long for a triple feature. And in one particularly well played sequence, Jordan shows the mindset of two fighters facing off in the ring rather inventively.
As Sylvester Stallone did with Rocky Balboa, Michael B Jordan made Adonis Creed a modern-day icon. His performance here is excellent as a man willing to take a chance on an old friend even if it presents problems for his career and family. Both he and the talented Tessa Thompson are so natural together it’s easy to care about the family that supports him. As for both Tessa Thompson and Mila Davis-Kent, the two are excellent here. One sequence involving a fight between the Creed and his wife is especially effective. Sure, it’s something we’ve seen countless times before, but the performances make it work.
And then there is Jonathan Majors. The Lovecraft Country and The Last Black Man in San Francisco actor continues to impress. Having just given him praise for his work as Kang the Conquerer in the latest Ant-Man, it’s easy to see he is an exceptional talent. As Damian, the actor perfectly captures a desperate man struggling to regain his past glories. The work from both Jordan and Majors feels honest, which makes it all the more satisfying in time for the final act.
With a script by Keenan Coogler and Zach Baylin, the film feels like a part of the world created by Stallone but stands on its own. Jordan brings the story to life with the help of cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau. The imagery is gritty for the most part, but it’s also impressively shot. You can feel the punches in the ring. It’s impossible not to compare Jordan’s journey with this character and franchise with Mr. Stallone; frankly, it’s well deserved. Having the actor step in to direct a sequel is an inspired choice.
Creed III lives up to the ring that Rocky built. The third in the Creed films series is inspiring and powerful. Jordan has done a marvelous job not only continuing to bring us this great character but also directing a solid continuation. If there is one minor complaint, the film is so fast-paced that it feels almost too short. Yes, this is a crowdpleaser of a movie. With excellent performances from the main cast, especially Jordan and Majors, it’s easy to invest in the story. Don’t pull any punches. If you are a fan of the previous films, you’ll want to see Creed III as soon as possible