Creed III Review | Michael B Jordan’s Directorial Debut Is a Well-Crafted Film

What made the Rocky and Creed franchises peculiar is how it is always about the humans in the story rather than the physical fight. While Creed 1 and 2 by Ryan Coogler was about the inner battle of Adonis Creed, this time, it is more towards fighting guilt. And in his directorial outing, Michael B Jordan maintains those elements of emotions from the previous films. With slow yet effective pacing, Creed III promisingly takes the franchise forward.

Adonis Creed has retired from professional heavyweight boxing, and his company is training new champions, such as Felix “El Guerrero” Chavez. Things change when Donnie’s childhood mate Damien Dame Anderson returns to meet him after 18 years of prison term. With Dame’s jail term having some connections with Donnie, the reunion opens up a rivalry. We see how that escalates in this third chapter of the Creed franchise.

While structurally, every film in the franchise had a familiar format, it was the writing that shed light on the personal side of various characters in the story that made these films extremely engaging. You come out of the theater having a sense of hope in the most practical way. What drives Creed III is Adonis’s guilt, which is a relatable emotion. And they are not making it very black and white as our title protagonist is constantly in a dilemma. Even when it goes for that face-off finale, and even though the techniques of Dame have foul plays involved, the story is trying to empathize with a guy who had to deal with childhood trauma along with jail term during his most efficient years.

It is the writing that holds the movie together. Everything that gets mentioned in that breezy and brief flashback portion is used in the second and third acts of the film to build genuine drama. And somewhere, you can see things repeating as you hear Dame referring to Rocky’s wild card entry to the ring when he expresses his desire for the title. Michael B Jordan, as a maker, is not trying to differentiate the third installment drastically from the other two. The visual language is pretty much the same. But he uses some imaginative bits in the final fight to intensify the battle’s emotional layer, which was pretty impressive. The cinematography has those sharp darks and static frames which shaped the Creed franchise.

Michael B Jordan, as Adonis Creed, has a more challenging role this time. He has to shift from being that grounded, mature boxer to a hurt individual with guilt and humiliation. Jordan pulled off that transition with great conviction. Jonathan Majors as Dame was a really convincing choice, and his portrayal of Damien always gave the audience an idea about what could have made him this person. Tessa Thompson as Bianca was lovely. Mila Davis-Kent as Amara Creed was also great, and the climax featuring her gives us a hint about the possible future of the franchise in the long run.

Creed III is a well-made sports drama that sustains the empathetic perspective of the other films in the franchise. With the drama unfolding around both the protagonist and antagonist, this one looks at fragile humans more holistically. And it is not a movie that relies only on the adrenalin rush of punches and bloodshed.

Final Thoughts

Creed III is a well-made sports drama that sustains the empathetic perspective of the other films in the franchise.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.