You are not ready for the epicness of that final fight scene.
Score: 4.5 / 5
I was hoping to enjoy Creed III as much as I enjoyed the first two Creed films, but I had no idea what fun new ideas that star (and now director) Michael B. Jordan had in store for this threequel. It’s fitting that this freshness comes with the first Creed to leave the Rocky side of things in the past. Now, don’t get me wrong, this movie isn’t stepping away from the formula that makes these boxing movies work. The protagonist steps away or is down in the boxing world, the antagonist’s actions force the protagonist to train to their best level and an epic fight closes out the film. Yeah, this movie does that just as the many Rocky and Creed movies before, but it does some interesting things along the way.
The big deal in this movie is Jordan’s Adonis Creed is approached by his long-lost friend Damian Anderson played by Jonathan Majors. Fresh out of prison Damian wants to pick up where his life last left off, to become the greatest boxer in the world. The trouble is he is older and has no credible experience. His time to be at the top is either now or never. Behind this sense of urgency is also the underpinnings of anger and guilt towards one another when they last met. This makes for a new way to look at these stories as we see Damian build himself up to find a way to become that great boxer as soon as possible. That means anything goes, and when he crosses a line, it forces Creed to come out of retirement to put a stop to this and to put away his guilt of what he did or didn’t do for Damian when they were childhood friends.
Stakes. It makes for great drama, and it makes the opposing boxer this time around not feel just like another obstacle to beat for beating’s sake. The performances by Jordan and Majors are excellent and by the time you get to the final fight at the climax of the movie, there is the feeling that either of them deserves their spot at the top. About that final fight, it’s amazing. There’s a sequence I haven’t seen before that gave this fight greater weight. In fact, in all the fights, certain moments are given extra flair. I read somewhere these were anime-inspired and I can see it. This injection into the fights adds this extra level. It feels more visceral, and I welcome more of this cross-pollination in all future Creed movies.
This is all to say, Creed III is an excellent directorial debut for Michael B. Jordan, and I can’t wait to see what comes next in the Creed-verse.