The HoloFiles

REVIEW: Creed III

By George & Josh Bate

The Rocky franchise is one of the most iconic series of films in cinema history. The first film in 1976 launched Sylvester Stallone’s career into the stratosphere, as well as proving his talents as a screenwriter (interestingly enough, Stallone said that he penned the screenplay in just three days). It’s no surprise, then, that the Rocky franchise has continued in the 21st Century amidst the wave of cinematic nostalgia that the industry is currently experiencing.

The Creed films have been this franchise’s version of that, although they’re technically spin-offs (given that Rocky is no longer the lead hero). Creed III, which was directed by Michael B. Jordan, completes this new trilogy of films and continues the franchise’s long history of themes such as legacy, family, and redemption.

Creed III sees Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed, son of Apollo from the original set of films, take on an unpredictable and dangerous fighter in the form of Damian, a childhood friend that was recently released from prison and played by Jonathan Majors. From there, the two battle it out both physically and, interestingly, with a mental back and forth that serves as a gripping and engaging story.

The most difficult part of continuing this series of Creed films is justifying their existence. Sports movies tend to have a set structure and one that is extremely predictable by nature, so telling a new, fresh, and original story can be quite a difficult task. Perhaps surprisingly, Creed III does just that, telling a refreshing human tale about a rivalry between two men who used to be friends. In that way, it feels so much more than a sports film; it’s a story about reflecting on the past, letting go of what’s beyond one’s control, and moving into the future.

Speaking of moving into the future, Creed III also takes an effective directorial approach to the most crucial fight sequences. Michael B. Jordan recently spoke about the influences on his off-camera work in this new film, citing some famous anime titles as heavily impacting the choreography and framing of these scenes. Those influences are certainly clear, and more broadly, Jordan’s directorial debut can easily go down as one of the most successful recent firsts for a filmmaker. In the director’s chair, Jordan is a true natural, just as he is on camera.

On camera, though, Jonathan Majors continues to prove his worth as the film’s lead antagonist. His character is very well written, portrayed as a man who is, in many ways, a victim and doesn’t see himself as a villain at all. That provides an emotional complexity for Dame, and one that is the ultimate crux of the film’s success. It’s Majors’ chemistry with Jordan that helps bring these two characters and the film forward as well, highlighting the incredible work that both performers put in here.

VERDICT: 8/10

Creed III finally moves this franchise out of the shadow of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, telling a deeply personal story about moving beyond the past in order to head into the future. Jonathan Majors is a standout on camera and Michael B. Jordan does excellently in the director’s chair, giving a multi-talented turn as both filmmaker and actor.

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