Monday 10 April 2023

REVIEW: Creed III (3)- Starring Michael B. Jordan

Review by Jon Donnis
I know I am a bit late to watch Creed 3, but I've been busy! Anyway I thought I would check it out, better late than never.

In 2002 Los Angeles, a youthful Adonis Creed, nicknamed "Donnie" (played by Thaddeus J. Mixon), sneaks out with his friend, Golden Gloves champion Damian Anderson, also known as "Diamond Dame" (played by Spence Moore II), to watch him compete in an illegal boxing match. After Damian's triumph, he shares with Donnie his dream of becoming a professional boxer and a world champion. During a detour to a liquor store, Donnie impulsively attacks a man named Leon, leading to Damian's arrest while Donnie flees.

In the present day, Donnie (Michael B. Jordan) has retired from boxing to focus on his wife Bianca (played by Tessa Thompson) and their daughter Amara, who has a hearing impairment, causing the family to learn American Sign Language. Donnie runs Delphi Boxing Academy with Tony Evers Jr. (played by Wood Harris) and is promoting his protege, world champion Felix Chavez (José Benavidez Jr.), in a match against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu). As Donnie watches his adoptive mother Mary-Anne's (Phylicia Rashad) deteriorating health, Amara (Mila Davis-Kent) expresses her desire to follow in Donnie's footsteps and become a boxer, which results in her getting into trouble at school for punching another student.

After his release from prison, Damian (Jonathan Majors) reconnects with Donnie and expresses his wish to resume his boxing career. Despite resistance from Chavez and Duke, Donnie reluctantly allows Damian to train at the gym. Damian later visits Donnie's home, where he meets his family and recounts their shared past at a group home, a story that Bianca had never heard. In private, Damian asks for a title shot against Chavez, but Donnie declines. When Viktor Drago is attacked by an unknown assailant at a party for Bianca's record label, which puts his upcoming fight in jeopardy, Donnie nominates Damian as his replacement. In the end, Damian wins the undisputed heavyweight championship in a fight against Chavez.

The rest of the film is basically about Damian trying to get Creed out of retirement, they then have the big fight, end of film.

The biggest problem that Creed 3 has is that there is no underdog story here. If you compare this to Rocky 3, Rocky had won the championship, was fighting bums to build up his record, and then when he fought Clubber Lang, he got beaten easily, he realised that money and fame had gone to his head and he wasn't as good as he thought he was, so trained hard so he could beat the monster. In Creed 3, you have Creed who has retired on top of the world, all the money in the world, perfect home life. When Damian turns up, if anything he is the underdog, yet he is supposed to be the baddie in this despite him having just 1 fight and becoming world champ after spending 2 decades in prison. But when you see him shirtless he is like a body builder. Same with Creed. You just have too incredibly well built men fighting each other and being seemingly pretty well matched physically, and the bad guy who is the champion, has all the disadvantages, he is older, he has spent decades in prison, he is the one with a chip on his shoulder. He finally gets his dream to be world champ, and now Creed comes out of retirement to take it off him! The whole plot is just poorly written. You wont care about Creed cause he has everything, you wont care about Damian because he is supposed to be the bad guy, but if anything you will feel sympathetic towards him, so what is there ultimately to care about?

Despite the glaring plot issues, the actual boxing matches are incredibly well filmed, some nice visual effect touches, everything looks realistic, even if after 12 rounds Creed and Damian barely have a scratch on them. The music is ok, and we do get a version of the classic Rocky theme too. It was nice that we get to see a deaf character in the film, Creed's daughter, it is not overly pushed down your throat, she is just his daughter with hearing issues, so I thought that was a nice touch.

The Good
Really well filmed boxing scenes, which lets be honest, that is usually the best thing in any boxing film.

The Bad
The film has no true underdog character, Creed is never really fighting the odds for more than just a minute here and there of doubt.

The film is ok, it is perfectly watchable, it is a bit long at 1 hour and 50 minutes, as usual they could have cut 20 minutes off the runtime and the film would have been basically the same.

If you like the previous Creed films, you will like this, but for anyone new to the franchise, or perhaps watched the Rocky films and thought you would give this a shot, you might be a little disappointed.

I score Creed 3 a fair 7/10. I expected more, but the boxing scenes were cool.

Out now in Cinemas and on digital at