Michael B. Jordan arrives Haymaker and heart in a predictable sequel that goes beyond the script. Creed III is a solid directorial debut. Jordan is good in front of and behind the camera, but the addition of a heavy antagonist makes the Film stand out. An absolutely jagged Jonathan Majors brings depth, gravity and diabolical blows. He is a beast and a half-bitter ex-beast in search of glory. His search for Comeuppance burns with palpable rage. Majors has an underlying intensity that dominates every performance. He brings a credible betrayal and threat to an otherwise routine act.
Adonis”Donnie” Creed (Jordan) has reached the peak of success. He retires as undisputed Champion with an abundance of wealth. Marriage to Bianca (Tessa Thompson) has given him more than he could ever have hoped for. Their daughter Amara (Mila Davis-Kent) and her beloved adoptive mother (Phylicia Rashad) complete a foundation of happiness. His golden life realizes the American dream.
Majors is hard enough
Donnie and Duke (Wood Harris) train new wrestlers as boxing promoters. His golden boy Felix Chavez (Jose Benavidez) holds the heavyweight belt. The boxing world is angry about his upcoming action with Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu). But Donnie can’t find anyone tough enough to action with his talented protégé.
The answer is presented to Donnie’s Rolls-Royce SUV in front of the gym. He is surprised to see Damian “Dame” Anderson (Majors) after almost twenty years. He adored his best friend as a teenager. Dame was a promising young wrestler for the Golden Gloves before her time in cage. He wants a Chance at the title, not an alms, from the shadow that has become a spotlight. Lady wonders why Donnie left him. A guilty Donnie promises to help. A title action can’t happen. Others have earned their way to Chavez. He can train with them while he gets back on track.
The emotional framework animates the characters
Creed III builds an emotional framework that animates the characters. The motives are crystal clear. Flashbacks of Donnie and Dame in their youth explain the long incarceration. The loss of the brotherhood hurt both men. But Dame flared up in anger while Donnie became famous. He is the proverbial wolf disguised as a sheep that Donnie recklessly leaves in his life. A sincere effort at reconciliation reveals the true program of a wounded man suffering from serious ailments.
There are no surprises. The film takes place on the same path as any other episode of the Rocky and Creed Franchises. The family subplots featuring Donnie’s wife, daughter and mother are invented. They are melodramatic when there is already a real tension. The focus should have been on the main arc between friends turned rivals. There is a thin line between love and hate.
Stylistic change compared to previous films
There is a certain degree of creativity in the action scenes. Jordan uses Ultra slow motion, visual effects and close-ups to distinguish matches. There is a change in style compared to previous films. Not everything works, but real boxing does. Jordan, fit as a fiddle, savagely knocks it out against a much larger middle finger. The audience will run from the theater to the gym.
With every film I review with Majors, I glorify his virtues. He is constantly damn good in every way. Dame is a body juggernaut who is both devious and leaved. The performance of the Majors shines above the written dialogue. An actor of the owner would not have been so credible. The next chapter should focus on the redemption of the Lady.