Thursday, March 2, 2023

Creed III - Review


Reinventing the boxing movie is an impossible task, Michael B. Jordan and crew know this by now. Creed III doesn’t even attempt to change up the storied tropes of the franchise, instead opting to focus on two interesting characters on a collision course that can only end in an intense slugfest. Where the quality of the Rocky series started to stretch its ideas thin by the third entry, Creed III feels like a franchise still flexing it muscles. 

Still dominating the boxing world, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is thriving in his career and family life. When Damian (Jonathan Majors), a childhood friend and former boxing prodigy resurfaces after serving time in prison, he's eager to prove that he deserves his shot in the ring. The face-off between former friends is more than just a fight. To settle the score, Adonis must put his future on the line to battle Damian -- a fighter who has nothing to lose.

When Michael B. Jordan decided to step into the director’s chair for this outing, the interest of many almost certainly had to go up from curiosities sake alone. It’s quite satisfying to report now that Michael B. Jordan can confidently add director to his resume. There’s nothing earth shattering here, but Jordan keeps the pace moving pretty swiftly and gets good performances out of the rest of the cast. The screenplay certainly isn’t complicated, opting to spell a lot out for the audience, but it works for the movie that Creed III is going for.

One pretty stellar element of each Creed film is the visual flair added to each subsequent boxing match. Creed III keeps that up, with Jordan opting for the utilization of some slow motion sequences where each blow can be seen for the damage it inflicts. However, the more interesting choice lies in the climax, with the use of surrealist visuals to more accurately examine just how emotional this is for those involved. 

On the performance side of things, there is really no reason to talk about anyone other than Jonathan Majors. The actor has been quietly picking unique and interesting roles for a few years now, and 2023 seems like the one where his stardom explodes. As Damian, Majors gets to play a role that he just eats up, chewing each line of dialogue and loving every second of this rivalry these two behemoths have. He is so well equipped to play both sides of the coin, earning the audiences trust and a little bit of sympathy, and quickly shifting that all when things go his way. It’s another great performance to add to the growing list for Jonathan Majors.

Creed III works about as well as it can. As the third entry in a spin-off series from the original six-film Rocky series, the well could’ve very quickly run dry without the right people behind it. But that’s not the case here, and it’s hard to see that changing. If Michael B. Jordan continues to direct in this world, his promise behind the camera is more than enough to get even the most skeptical of the audience on board with however many more of these films they want to make.

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