While Creed III may not be the best in the franchise, it brings enough creativity and passion to the table to keep the series fresh. The Rocky/Creed franchise is at its best when the villain is just as, if not more, interesting than our protagonist, and that is not more evident than in Creed III. Damien Anderson (expertly played by Jonathan Majors) is a very sympathetic antagonist that has a direct connection with Adonis Creed’s past. This connection is at the forefront of the conflict as Creed tries to reconcile with his past mistakes while also being true to his present self. This back and forth is excellently done and evolves Creed further as a boxer and a man. I really enjoyed this story overall, and while it may not be the most unique script to hit the silver screen, it does enough to differentiate itself from the rest of the Rocky universe, and I can respect that. The acting in this film is excellent, as it has been in previous Creed films. I thought that there might be a hole left by the absence of Sylvester Stallone, but I really did not notice it at all. Michael B. Jordan is able to get the best out of the entire cast, and everyone is better than ever. Tessa Thompson is fantastic; her chemistry with Jordan is incredible. The addition of their daughter creates a very wholesome family dynamic. Jonathan Majors is superb; he is intimidating, tragic, and full of emotion that the audience can genuinely resonate with. His anger is justified, and his portrayal of this angry kid who had his life taken from him is incredibly genuine. He was one of the best parts of the film. With Michael B. Jordan behind the camera, this film has the most unique cinematography in the entire series. Jordan takes some liberties with the material that came before to deliver a modern spin on the boxing genre. Where previous films tried to have a broadcast experience grounded in grit and realism, Creed III turns that on its head, delivering the most stunning action scenes I have ever seen. The anime inspiration is apparent, with slow motion used sparingly but effectively. The finale fight has some very creative choices that create an intimate connection between our two leads that is a great backdrop to not only the fight but the story as a whole. Overall, I had an excellent time watching Creed III. Michael B. Jordan had a wonderful directorial debut, creating a film that left me with a huge smile on my face. Score: 92% | Verdict: Excellent
Life for Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), is going well. He has a loving wife (Tessa Thompson), and daughter (Mile Davis-Kent), and has retired from boxing after defeating an old rival and ensuring his legacy. Creed spends his time with his family and developing young fighters at his gym and is prepping the current champion for his next big match against Viktor Drago. An unexpected figure from Creed’s past arrives in the form of Damian Anderson (Jonathan Majors), a friend of Creed’s troubled youth has just completed eighteen years in prison. Damian was the current Golden Gloves champion when he was arrested and believes he is due his title shot and Creed is the one who can make it happen. Creed tries to teach his friend that a person without a single professional fight does not get a magical title shot and with his large the gap from the ring he would need to grind it out to get a shot. When an incident occurs just before a scheduled fight and without any established fighters available to make the date of the fight, Creed gives his friend a shot and sees that his brutal style of boxing is not what he would endorse. Upon winning the title Damian lets it go to his head and gloats at how Creed had the life he should have had and blames Creed for his past issues and for not visiting him or staying in contact. Naturally, this puts the two former friends on a path of no return with a climatic boxing match being the solution. “Creed III” does not have the benefit of Sylvester Stallone but you can still get whips of his character’s influence on Creed and Jordan does a very solid job Directing the film. He produces strong character moments which help define the struggles and motivations that each of them faces and the boxing sequences are very engaging and will have you cheering along. Majors does a great job in what could have been a routine bad guy performance. He gives Damian a drive and purpose but also shows the path that Creed could easily have followed had fate not gone as it did and how watching someone get everything you dreamed of while you are in prison can turn even the best of a man cold and bitter. The film satisfies from start to finish and the character moments and boxing blend to make not only a very enjoyable film but one that shows that there is plenty of life in the franchise. 4 stars out of 5
This reminded me quite a lot of "Rocky IV" (1985) only instead of a Russian auto-box doing the challenging, it's "Damian" (Jonathan Majors). Former champion "Adonis" (Michael B. Jordan) is living the life of a retired sportsman, wealthy and happy with his family whilst managing the gym with "Duke" (Wood Harris). Leaving, one afternoon, he discovers a guy sitting on his car and after a quick chat realises that it's his long-lost childhood pal who has been incarcerated for the last eighteen years. He ("Damian") is now determined to succeed in the ring and so his friend tries to sort it all out - only to discover that this lean, mean, fighting machine has an altogether different agenda and that is going to force the former champ to prove whether or not he still has what it takes. The story is an hybrid of too many others and plays out as predictably as the sun coming up. Add to the mix a degree of familial discord and melodrama and we are left with something largely forgettable that I found to be a pretty poor relation of the previous, much more charismatic and grittier efforts in this franchise. The actual boxing scenes are impressively photographed but there's just no jeopardy - and I'd largely given up. Pretty to look at, yes - but not a great watch.
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