CREED III Review: “Michael B. Jordan Makes A Strong Directorial Debut, But Jonathan Majors Steals The Show”

It’s been five years since we saw Adonis Creed last, and a lot has changed in the time since. But, he’s back and must now face a dangerous new foe with nothing to lose! Get our thoughts on Creed III now!

Reviews Opinion

Creed III picks up five years after the events of the previous film, with Adonis “Donnie” Creed (Michael B. Jordan) now ready to truly enjoy the fruits of his labor, formally announcing his retirement from boxing at the top of the film, so he can settle into his peaceful family life and start promoting up-and-coming boxers from his gym. However, as the old saying goes, it’s always quietest before the storm and sure enough, just when he thinks he’s out, the past comes knocking, and a storm arrives.

**This review contains mild spoilers from Creed III**

After eighteen years in prison, Creed’s childhood best friend and former boxing prodigy Damian “Dame” Anderson (Jonathan Majors) resurfaces and seeks out the brother he hadn’t seen or heard from since the fateful day he was locked up. There’s a tense uneasiness between the pair, with Creed feeling immense guilt while Dame subtly implies that he’s a tad envious of the life he missed out on.

Neither is particularly expressive with their feelings, so there’s a lot left unsaid, but Creed does make an effort to help get Dame back on his feet by inviting him to train at his gym. But, what Dame really wants is a shot at the title belt, which is currently being held by one of Creed’s proteges, and that’s a tall ask despite Creed’s legend status.

No spoilers, but Donny does eventually manage to get Dame that fight and you can take two guesses on how it goes. The result of that first bout ultimately puts these two Alphas on a collision course of epic proportions and sets the stage for the fight of the decade.

Stepping into the director’s chair for the third installment in a critically acclaimed series is one thing, but accepting the responsibility while also playing the physically and emotionally demanding lead role is a whole different animal.

Luckily, first-time director Michael B. Jordan is more than up to the task and he delivers yet another strong entry to this increasingly impressive franchise. While it’s not as narratively focused as the prior two films, Jordan brings out the best from his cast, gifts us a pair of exceedingly inventive fights, and really packs an emotional punch.

Jordan really proves himself to be an actor’s director and frequently allows his castmates, namely Jonathan Majors, Tessa Thompson, and Phylicia Rashad, to shine brighter than himself. While MBJ is again exceptional in the title role, it’s the other three leads that get to perform some of the film’s most powerful and poignant scenes.

Following his turn as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Majors steals the show yet again here and fans will be hard-pressed to find a reason to root against him in the film’s climactic battle. He’s quiet and courteous but filled with rage and that quickly makes him Creed’s most dangerous adversary and one of the most memorable characters in the entire Rocky franchise.

The screenplay offers enough impactful moments to each member of the cast, but it’s arguably the weakest element in this entire package. As compelling as Dame is as a character, his shared history and eventual conflict with Creed could’ve maybe used some work. I mean, we know it’s a boxing movie so they have to fight before the credits roll, but at the film's accelerated pace, the final fight doesn’t necessarily feel earned.

The first half also does kind of a poor job of making Creed likable. He’s no longer the underdog, which doesn’t help his case, but he also legit becomes a boxing promoter and is playing both sides of the card during Dame’s first fight, which really makes matters worse. Jordan does manage to course correct by the explosive third act, and we’re back on Team Creed, but by that point, Dame has also earned enough sympathy that it becomes incredibly hard to decide on who to pull for in their big showdown.

As for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa, who doesn’t return for this chapter, his absence is certainly felt during one or two scenes in the film, but nothing too major.

Creed III is another worthy entry to this storied boxing franchise and a strong directorial debut for leading man Michael B. Jordan. He’s also in top form as Adonis Creed, but it’s ultimately Jonathan Majors that steals the show, delivering yet another intimidating performance as the instantly iconic Dame. Packed with powerful performances, jaw-dropping fight scenes, and lots of heart, this is one actioner that absolutely cannot be missed!

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