Twenty-one years ago, Adonis Creed and Damian Anderson were best friends who grew up together. Fast forward to present day, and after not seeing each other for more than two decades, the two cross paths.
But while Creed has spent the last few years having a successful career in boxing, and boxing promotion, things have not been so good for Anderson. Creed’s former friend has just got out of jail, and he’s watched his life slip away, while his best bud has gone from strength-to-strength.
Keen to prove his own skills in the ring, Anderson informs Creed that he has plans to become the next Heavy Weight Champion. Creed isn’t quite convinced, but happy to give his friend a break, he suggests Anderson trains at his gym.
At first, Anderson looks as if he is going to toe the line, and work hard to make it as a boxer. But it soon becomes apparent that his years spent in jail have impacted his outlook on life, and he just wants a fast-track to stardom.
Anderson is also an aggressive fighter with a great deal of pent-up frustration, and this informs every punch. So much so, that his attitude quickly gets the better of him, and he buys into his own self-beliefs, landing brutal punches in the ring.
With Creed concerned about Anderson’s emotional state, he attempts to help his friend remain on track. But with Anderson keen to progress his own career irrespective of Creed, it is only a matter of time before the two clash and have to take their issues into the ring.
Directed by and starring Michael B. Jordan, Creed III is a sports drama, and the latest entry in the ever-expanding Creed/Rocky saga. The movie features performances from Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Mila Davis-Kent, and Jonathan Majors, and is new to UK and US cinemas from today.
Creed III is a more personal, small-scale tale for the series, it is well-directed, features strong performances, and has a decent script. It’s not perfect, and does suffer from some predictable moments, but on the whole this is a pretty solid film, and certainly a step up from Creed II (2018).
The reason this one works as well as it does is because the central themes pack quite a hefty punch. While the movie follows the same old format of many of the previous Creed/Rocky films, with the hero coming out of retirement for yet another fight, this time around the motivation feels much stronger.
Creed III is essentially the story of two old friends, with some deep-rooted issues to work through, and the film follows both of these characters as they go on a journey to resolve their problems. Neither character can let go of the past without the other, and this ties them closely together.
Yes, it is clear who is the hero and who is the villain, but both characters are given the opportunity to show who they are, and why they act the way they do. Unlike some of the previous villains, Anderson is given more room to breathe and develop, and this makes him far more than just another one-note contender.
The role of Anderson is played by Jonathan Majors, who is having something of a hot moment right now, thanks to his scene-stealing turn as Kang in the recent Marvel movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Here he is once again, ripping up the scenery, as one of Creed III’s greatest assets, and he continues to prove he is most certainly an actor to follow.
As Anderson, Majors is a machine. He plays this role as a determined, powerful fighter, who is a strong match for Creed, and he lights up the screen.
The same can be said for Michael B. Jordan, who returns to the role of Creed and proves once again that he is perfect for this part. Jordan plays this role effortlessly and ensures this film conveys the right attitude and mentality needed to sell the story.
Outside of the two lead actors, the film offers up some nice little moments regarding Creed’s family, with a couple of sequences centred around Creed’s daughter really hitting the spot. Some of these scenes could have benefitted from a little more development, or simply a bit more screentime, but they help to flesh out the film, and they are neat touches.
The movie also benefits from some strong cinematography, as well as a few well-played shots during the final fight. Not only does Michael B. Jordan shine on screen as the title character, as director of the movie he shines behind the camera too, and delivers where it counts.
Where Creed III falls a bit short, is in some of its formulaic plot points, which do rob the film of any suspense or tension. If you’ve seen your fair share of Creed/Rocky films, then you will know where this movie is going, and how it will all play out, and this is a slight misstep.
The other minor issue with the movie is the big ‘Rocky-shaped hole’ in the picture, which comes from the absence of Sylvester Stallone. This is the first movie in the saga not to include Stallone’s Rocky, and it does feel somewhat off that he’s not part of the film.
Stallone’s absence doesn’t scupper the movie, and due to the nature of the story it works fine without him, but it still feels a bit strange. However, my personal view is that Stallone should have exited the franchise after 2015’s Creed, skipping Creed II entirely, so story-wise Creed III is only doing what its predecessor should have done a few years ago.
Thanks to the Jordan/Majors combo, and some smart direction, I liked Creed III a lot. I don’t believe it is the best movie in the series, and some may find it a bit formulaic for their tastes, but as I mentioned toward the top of this review, this is a solid film.
Creed III gets its character moments right, and this gives the film the right edge and emotional weight. It then delivers the entertainment where it is needed, and leaves the door open for more.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review on It’s A Stampede!. For more reviews, check out the recommended reads below.
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