'Creed III' Movie Review: More Urban Drama Than Rocky Movie But That’s A Good Thing

Creed III movie review

Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut in CREED III is a solid premiere for the actor-turned-filmmaker. The beats are on point and the ROCKY spin-off is structurally a tight movie.

The Adonis Creed saga changes the setting and tone by moving it to Adonis’ childhood home in Los Angeles. His past catches up with him in the form of a childhood friend Damion Anderson, played by Jonathan Majors. Guilt drives Adonis to help Damion’s boxing aspirations but Damion takes advantage of his old friend.

Jordan made it his own rather than relying on ROCKY tropes but there are obvious influences.  Sylvester Stallone's Rocky is barely missed as it's an entirely different genre. CREED III is a more compelling urban drama than a ROCKY or sports movie.

Jonathan Majors is an absolute beast in CREED III, and it’s all in his facial expressions. Majors’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. QUANTUMANIA’s Kang is quite different than the antagonist in the CREED sequel. The actor’s talent is infinite, and he’s killing it in everything he does.

Boxer Jose Benavidez Jr Schooled 'Creed III' Costar Selenis Leyva About Boxing in Exchange for Acting Tips

Unlike the other ROCKY or CREED movies, this antagonist starts out as an underdog but then becomes the villain. The writing and Majors’ performance is on point. Although the trailer reveals Damion as the antagonist, the viewer may find themselves rooting for the underdog who had an unfortunate life.

Another stand-out character is Selenis Leyva’s Laura, the momager to Creed’s boxing successor Felix, played by real-life boxer Jose Benavidez Jr. Laura leaves emotion aside and pushes her son to the extreme. Those kinds of roles are usually reserved for men so it’s refreshing to see a fierce woman calling the shots outside the ring.

Jordan was conscientious about accurate representations. Besides the Laura character, a woman spars with the boxers in training. The Felix character is a Mexican American boxer. Even though Mexican Americans and Mexican boxers are a huge part of the sport, we rarely see the portrayal in Hollywood boxing movies, particularly in a ROCKY movie. Jordan revealed that was a huge motivation for the inclusion.

CREED III is a well-oiled machine, cranking out the scenes that propel the story forward without wasting time on trivial sequences. As someone who failed to relieve themselves before the movie started, you look for downtime in the story to run to the restroom, but in this case, there were none.

This film plays more like a thriller than a boxing movie with the main contention being that of two friends facing off.  The threequel could easily be a stand-alone. Someone could walk in with no prior knowledge of the ROCKY or CREED movies, and follow along since the events are independent of the prior films.   

Hopefully, Jordan’s filmmaking debut isn’t a fluke and we’ll see more outstanding work from the actor-turned-director.

CREED III is now in movie theaters.

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