I need to preface this review with I have only seen the Rocky movies once, and I have only seen Creed 1 and 2 once, however with Creed 3 being the latest installment and Michael B Jordan not only acting in the film but directing it too might be the first of the Rocky/Creed saga I might actually get around to seeing more than once. The film certainly has its faults, and should have been two separate movies but its shortcomings are too little that can’t erase all the good the movie has going for it. It has no right to be as good as it is, it has no right to keep the audience fully engaged for as long as it does, but it manages to take all of that and deliver those heavy hitters it needs.
The film focuses on Adonis, played by Michael B Jordan, through flashbacks as the movie starts until about 15 minutes into the film where were brought to the present day and Adonis has decided he’s reached that point in his career where he no longer has anything to prove and hangs up his gloves. He’s with his wife Bianca played by Tessa Thompson and they’re enjoying the life they’ve created for themselves with Adonis struggling to try and find how to entertain himself now that he isn’t boxing and Bianca coping with her inability to perform anymore, but they’re just happy being with one another for the most part. Everything is going great, Adonis’ gym has Felix Chavez played by Jose Benavidez as the heavyweight champion, lining up a prize fight for him. Everything is great, until Damian Anderson, played by Jonathan Majors reappears on the scene for Adonis. An old childhood friend, a former golden glove winner, a boxer whose time was cut before it even began because of a long prison stint. Dames, as Damian goes by, wants to regain what he believes he was robbed of, and this is the beginning of the tension between long time former friends Dames and Adonis and sets off the events of Creed 3.
Michael B Jordan is back in his third installment of the franchise, same with Tessa Thompson and they continue to deliver the excellent performances they’ve delivered in the previous two installments and bring the emotion that the audience needs to sink their teeth into atop of the hard-hitting action. However, it is Jonathan Majors who has practically exploded these past few years onto the scene that absolutely steals every frame he is in. He is a force to be reckoned with that cannot be contained throughout the film. There is something incredible about Majors’ presence that just commands the audience’s attention, and the juxtaposition to the presence of Michael B Jordan’s Adonis Creed persona is perfectly set up. Their dynamic feels similar to Edgerton and Hardy’s from Warrior, but there is something than runs thicker than blood between them, and it engulfs the audience in a tense hour fifty six minutes that leaves the audience at the edge of their seats the entire time.
Creed 3 is arguably the best of the franchise, even with a rocky finish in the third act that needs to ensure this is then the end of the franchise itself. If this is truly the end of the Creed story, the ending is fine and my personal issues with what they do is less bothersome, but if they decide to make any more, it is a problem. It is a rock and a hard place with having a hot franchise but ending it the way they did. However, the acting and pacing and direction for a debut is something simply sublime, it keeps the audience thoroughly engaged and never lets you know what is happening next. It is relentless in its story telling and captivates the audience throughout, just could’ve finished differently.