Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors, Tessa Thompson, Wood Harris, Phylicia Rashad, and Mila Davis-Kent
Director: Michael B. Jordan
Although there are elements of Creed III that prevent it from rising to its ultimate potential (chiefly, no Sylvester Stallone and a dire lack of composer Ludwig Göransson’s signature themes), it nonetheless proves a promising debut for director Michael B. Jordan. The actor-turned-filmmaker takes some bold swings stylistically, especially for such a large IP, and while not all of them work, the passion is clearly there. The film’s strengths are where they should be – in the performances of its two dynamic leads and well-choreographed fight sequences – but its single greatest asset might actually be the heartwarming family element.
Creed III has so much more than 100 words can cover: trauma, emotion, tension, action, and perfect needle drops. It’s an equally powerful, poignant, and entertaining film. Star Michael B. Jordan makes a helluva directorial debut, with the film looking beautiful while feeling personal, and Jonathan Majors continues to prove that he’s going to be one of the all-time greats. Their brotherly relationship feels authentically lived in, deeply touching on the black male experience, and it’s exquisitely juxtaposed with the father-daughter relationship between Adonis and Amara (Jordan and Mila Davis-Kent, respectively). Creed III delivers more than just boxing, brilliantly establishing Creed as a top-tier trilogy.
Creed III proves to be not just one of the best movies in the overall Rocky franchise, but one of the best sports movies in general. While there are flaws to be found in his work, Michael B. Jordan's freshman directorial outing is a solid hit, delivering a compelling film with boxing scenes that will satisfy even the most hardened fans of the sweet science. The dynamic set pieces aren't enough to distract from the script's clunkier emotional scenes, but there's still much to love in this spectacular third outing. A great way to kick off the oncoming onslaught of summer blockbusters, Creed III is guaranteed to have the audience fully invested.
While Creed III is quite good, boasting another star-making turn from Jonathan Majors and an impressive directorial debut from Michael B. Jordan (especially the dynamic in-ring sequences), the truth is you can only escape the genre formula so much. By not being able to truly break away from typical tropes, the film is simply too predictable. That said, my only real complaint is that the film feels rushed. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it could have used another 30-40 minutes to flesh some things out. I also admit I missed Sylvester Stallone, whose absence is given no explanation, but that’s on me.
The Creed franchise continues its theme of creating your own legacy with Creed III, which ironically enough, cements the series with a legacy of its own. Other than passing mentions of Rocky and Apollo, this film stands completely on its own, and Michael B. Jordan’s stunning debut direction gives the franchise a fresh identity. It’s not the most unique story you’ll ever see, but the stakes feel personal and you truly feel like you’re seeing a man evolve. When it comes to good storytelling, there’s not much more I can ask for.