Berkreviews CREED III (2023)

Michael B. Jordan not only returns to play Adonis Creed, but he also steps behind the camera to direct Creed III. Ryan Coogler’s Creed was directed by Ryan Coogler and is essentially a masterpiece that manages to honor Rocky and Sylvester Stallone while laying the foundation of a new character with Adonis. Steven Caple Jr.’s Creed II didn’t live up to the first one, leaning a little too heavily on Rocky IV and the franchise’s legacy elements, ultimately overshadowing Bianca (Tessa Thompson) too much. Much like Adonis, Jordan had a heavy burden on his shoulders by stepping into the role of director for this film. Within a few minutes, it becomes clear that not only does Jordan clearly understand the characters, but had his own style as a filmmaker that makes this new entry live up to the legacy of the first film. 

Adonis has been on a tear, dominating the boxing world. A title defense early on is revealed to be his last fight against an old rival…potentially. Victorious, Donnie retires on top, and is living a good life with Bianca and their daughter, Amara (Mila Davis-Kent) – but the past has a funny way of coming back to ruin the present. An old friend, Damien (Jonathan Majors), shows up at Donnie’s gym, looking to pick up on his boxing ambitions that were cut short when he was arrested. Donnie now has to fight himself and his past in order to not allow it to destroy his future. 

C3_23641_R Jonathan Majors stars as Damian Anderson in director Michael B. Jordan’s CREED III A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film Photo credit: Ser Baffo © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved CREED is a trademark of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Majors is having a big moment with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania and now Creed III. He gives very different performances in each film, but both feature him as the antagonist. Not only is he a physically hulking presence in this film, but he brings so much emotion to the role. Majors is capable of being very over the top with his performances, and somehow also delivering a subtle look or gesture to really give depth to what’s going on with the character. With the reunion of his character and Donnie, they are sitting at dinner together. Every movement in Major’s performance conveys insight into his intentions, and how he is reading Donnie. That doesn’t change when he’s in the ring boxing. 

Jordan continues to be a charismatic presence on screen, but it is his behind-the-camera work that really impressed me. The boxing sequences are fantastic and utilize slow motion to really sell the impact of many of the blows. His stylistic flourishes could alienate some audiences wanting a more traditional boxing movie. There is one sequence in particular that really goes symbolic that is incredibly shot and thematically impactful, but very unique for the genre. Jordan goes a long way to establish his voice and set himself up as an up-and-coming director to watch. 

The biggest complaint about the film could be that the chromakey is sometimes very noticeable. The characters appear to be in front of a green screen at several moments when in the ring. This technique has been used a few times in the other films, but it stood out at various moments in this one. Fortunately, this is a minor nitpick about Creed III, which is a movie that clearly loves its characters, has a story to tell, and delivers a thrilling and emotional one-two punch to wrap it all up. 

Creed III is in theaters everyone on March 3. 

Rating: Must See

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