Creed lll, the third movie in the Creed series, is one of the best sports movies of this generation. Adonis Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan, displays traits of humility, thoughtfulness, and competitiveness which gives the film the edge it needs to stand out in the sports film industry.
As a spin off of the “Rocky” franchise, Creed has always been under pressure from boxing fans to deliver a truly great product. The “Rocky” franchise was one of the most successful movie series of all time grossing over 1.1 billion dollars in the late 20th to early 21st century. With this past success in mind, boxing fans expect a product that is on par with the great films of the past. Creed lll certainly rises to these expectations.
The movie begins with an intriguing flashback to Creed’s childhood. It shows him along with his friend Damian Anderson, played by Jonothan Majors, fighting in an underground league. On their way home, a fight ensues that leads Anderson to serving an 18 year prison sentence. Creed ends up unscathed. This sealed the fate for these two characters as one went on to have one of the greatest boxing careers of all time while the other was stuck in a jail cell. While Anderson watched Creed’s greatness unfold from inside of jail, jealousy bubbled up.
Early in the film, the theme of family is really pronounced. Jordan reflects this theme of togetherness in scenes with his deaf daughter, Amara. In the two previous films, this sense of family was seen more with Sylvester Stalone’s character, Rocky Balboa, but with Amara seemingly taking his place, this essential part of the Creed series is certainly not lost.
In the Rocky movies, the main protagonist Rocky Balboa was a figure without a family as he grew up in Philadelphia. Unlike Creed, he had to find and navigate his way through situations as a youth without the presence of family. Yet, as he enters the boxing world, he is able to find figures and mentors to look up to such as his boxing trainer Mickey Goldmill. Throughout the series the bond between these two, and later the bond between Rocky and his family, create the theme of loyalty and love that is so powerful in the Rocky lineup. Despite the differences in the two paths, the themes stick out in both film series giving each a boost from being good motion pictures to iconic ones.
As the movie progresses, the plot zooms back to the present day when Adonis Creed heads a boxing academy named “Delphi Boxing Academy” with Tony Evers Jr, the son of Creed’s father’s trainer. The two of them are working to promote World Champion, Felix Chavez who, in Creed’s eyes, is his protege. In this area of the film, the true nostalgia effect of many of these boxing movies come to light. he connections between the lives of Rocky, Creed’s father, and himself all accumulate in one place. To this point, you can also observe the full progression of Creed, himself going from a prodigy in the first film, to champion in the second, to coach in the third. It is really a unique dynamic that no other film series brings to the table. It is reminiscent of watching someone fully grow up right in front of your eyes, which is ultimately what makes the series, but especially this movie, so great.
The film takes a turn when Creed discovers that Anderson was involved in a plot to injure a fighter chosen for the HeavyWeight title and then take his spot. Creed is extremely upset and, with a quick and concise reaction, decides to come out of retirement and fight Anderson. Nicknamed the “Battle of Los Angeles”, the two boxers squared off in Dodgers Stadium. The fight is punishing and grueling for both parties but, in the end, Creed wins via knockout in the later rounds.
What makes this moment so integral to the film is how past events motivate this final scene. Creed is shown looking at his family and is immediately felt inspired to push through fatigue for the knockout. This moment encapsulates the true tight-knit family nature that all boxing movies tend to bring.
To end the film, Creed and Anderson make amends by admitting that each of them made mistakes that led to the derailment of their relationship. This moment, portrayed excellently by director Michael B. Jordan, once again shows this direct tie between relationships and boxing that is just so important to any boxing film’s success.
Overall, Jordan, in both the director and lead actor role, continues the legacy of the Creed series as well as possible. The use of flashbacks and the reliance on key themes of family and relationships gives this film a truly moving emotional connection. It is almost like the viewer is able to live and feel the life of Creed which is really something remarkable for a film to provide. This film is on track to be among the best of 2023.