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Review: Creed III

Sequels and prequels are always tricky business in the world of film and television. Especially when you’re handing the keys to an actor turned director. The business becomes trickier when said actor is stepping into his directorial debut. Yet, handing Michael B Jordan the directorial keys to the Creed franchise has proven to be a masterstroke. Creed III is gripping from start to finish. It leaves you wondering what more Jordan has to offer as a filmmaker going forward. Jordan’s character Adonis is reunited with a childhood friend in Damian "Dame" Anderson played by the mesmerising Johnathan Majors. What an actor! A genuine star. It’s been quite the start to 2023 for Majors, having stolen the show in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania . Some of the film's finer moments are where Majors utters one liners. Or doesn't even say a word. His mannerisms, charisma, and presence do all the talking. Adonis is forced to acknowledge his past actions. Whatever we do as people can have consequences and a major impact on those closest to us. Despite Creed III and the Rocky franchise being a film about boxing, that isn’t the film's major strength. The core of the story is the interpersonal relationships between two characters. This is what drives their determination. The need to fight. Not for money, fame or championship belts but a lost love between two estranged brothers. Micheal B Jordan’s adoration for anime and its impact on this film is evident. The third act fight scene was epic. It was fun. It was dramatic. It was tense. Moreover, anime's influence on the scene was a delight. Jordan took a risk with his stylistic approach. He approached the fight scenes with the purpose of displaying Adonis and Damian at their most vulnerable. Themes of brotherhood, bonds and promises are pertinent in these moments. This helps to raise the stakes of what could have been an archetypical, third act stand off. The anime threads trickle into the emotional dynamic between Damian and Adonis. This the thumping heartbeat of the film. An issue I did have with the film were some of its other emotive beats which didn’t hit the mark. Michael B. Jordan isn’t a bad actor. He does receive a lot of unwarranted criticism. But, I believe he is limited. Some of the poignant moments with Adonis and his mother didn't work the way I believe had been envisaged. Furthermore, the film does ask us to ignore some of the more fantastical elements of the story. The story moves from point A to B to C swiftly and whilst it’s understandable, it stuck with me throughout. With all that being said, this is an exciting directorial debut for Michael B Jordan. The story doesn’t try to over elaborate or complicate. Flowing throughout are relatable tropes and themes, coupled with some excellent action scenes which provide the perfect tonal balance to the viewing experience. Creed III is funny, thrilling and heartwarming and it’s a film that should certainly be watched in the cinema. ⅘ stars

Handing Michael B Jordan the directorial keys to the Creed franchise has proven to be a masterstroke.

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