Creed III – movie review

After retiring from the ring three years ago, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) lives to fight another day in Creed III.

The film starts back in the day when 15-year-old Creed (Thaddeus James Mixson Jr) was running around with his best friend, 18-year-old Damian Anderson (Spence Moore II), a boxing prodigy. Then a violent incident separated them. Of course, as we found out in earlier instalments of the franchise, Creed would go on to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Creed is now married to singer and producer Bianca (Tessa Thompson). They have a smart young daughter Amara (Mila Davis-Kent). Life seems pretty good for all concerned. Creed is operating a boxing academy and managing a world champion, Felix Chavez (Jose Benavidez) who’s a bit of a hothead. Chavez is looking to his next fight, a title defence against man-mountain Viktor Drago (Florian Munteaunu). But who should show up unexpectedly? None other than Damian Anderson (Jonathan Majors), who’s just been released from prison after spending 18 years inside.

Despite his advancing years, Anderson is still looking for a title shot. He prevails on Creed, who appears to have abandoned Anderson after he was sent to the slammer. Although Creed tries to help Anderson, his equilibrium has clearly been thrown; and before it’s over, it will be thrown even more. Another thread involves Creed’s mother Mary-Anne (Phylicia Rashad) who has a serious health concern.

I liked the set-up in Creed III. I thought the idea was engaging, as was the family dynamic. So, the first half moved along at pace and drew me in, establishing the main players and what was going on. At that stage it wasn’t clear where the plot was headed and I appreciated that. But then, after a twist, I was let down by the by-the-numbers back end. There was nothing surprising left. In fact, the predictability of it was especially disappointing given the momentum built up earlier. Now that had nothing to do with the acting – which was fine – rather the script. The screenplay is by Keenan Coogler (Space Jam: A New Legacy) and Zach Baylin (King Richard). The film’s star Michael B. Jordan directs.

Jordan (as actor) has a good handle on Adonis Creed. Tessa Thompson is insightful as Bianca. The latter deeply loves her husband, but also challenges him. Mila Davis-Kent plays their daughter Amara as cute and feisty.  Jonathan Majors transitions Damian Anderson from appreciative and respectful to cavalier and cocky.

In boxing parlance then, Creed III punches above its weight for a while, but fails to deliver a knockout punch.

Alex First

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