Movie Review: ‘Creed III’ knocks out all expectations


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc.

“Creed III” is centered around Adonis Creed, who has to not only deal with the return of his long-lost childhood friend Damian “Dame” Anderson but also the storm of rage and grief he brings with him.

Naamah Silcott

A specific type of judgement comes with modern-day sports movies. The audience expects something formulaic with an easy-to-see pattern, yet “Creed III” still manages to find a way to make it electrifying.

What makes this movie even more praise-worthy is that it’s Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut and the end of his trilogy in the Rocky/Creed universe. Jordan paces the movie perfectly, driven by character relationships and tension among all parties involved. The film is centered around Adonis Creed (Jordan), who has to not only deal with the return of his long-lost childhood friend Damian “Dame” Anderson (Johnathan Majors) but also the storm of rage and grief he brings with him.

The film opens with a 15-year-old Creed, the sidekick to a promising Anderson. However, after a successful night of boxing and some familial bonding, things quickly turn sour for the two when they stop by a liquor store, separating their paths until they inevitably meet in “Creed III.” Jordan presents a moral dilemma: how does Creed handle Anderson now? Anderson lost his freedom and Adonis gained it but his friend had to pay the price for it, creating a tension that digs into your skin throughout the movie. Jordan takes his time to set the stage, giving just enough information to get invested in a new character that hadn’t been mentioned at all in the first two movies.

The rest of the film is woven together using this plot point, which helps change what would normally be a rather cookie-cutter movie into something that kept me on my toes, making me want to learn about Anderson until I get to the fight. All the movie trailers hyped up the final fight for the past couple months and it did not disappoint, delivering impactful punches, swings and hooks on a cinematic and metaphorical level. Majors and Jordan eat up the screen with their choreography and emotional facial expressions.

Majors and Jordan aren’t the only highlights of this movie though. Thaddeus Mixon, who plays young Adonis, and Spence Moore, who plays young Damian, both knock their performances out of the park. Their banter felt natural and easygoing, which contrasted heavily with how the two face each other later.

Falling a little under two hours, “Creed III” is certainly shorter than previous films in the franchise yet does not feel rushed. Every scene felt important, expressing the anger, guilt and envy that poisoned Jordan’s and Majors’ characters until it reached a breaking point. The writing approaches the venom they spit at each other carefully and the fight choreography gives it a visual aid. 

This film stuns, with fight choreography as visually appealing and a storyline as provoking as “Black Panther.” This movie is perfect if you’re looking for something straight-laced with a kick to it, so grab a friend and get yourselves to a theater to witness this action-drama, rated PG-13.