ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times
Text conversations between my mom and I can turn extremely random at times and recently, she had brought up how she had recently come across “Creed 2” online, which led me to suggest to her we go see “Creed 3” when she came and visited me last weekend. We did exactly that while she was here, and both of us ultimately ended up coming away rather emotionally knocked out.
The first “Creed” movie, a spinoff from the “Rocky” franchise, was released in 2015 and followed amateur boxer Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) as he gets trained and mentored by Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), the former rival turned friend of Adonis' father, Apollo Creed. The newest installment takes place several years later and sees Adonis briefly come out of retirement to face off against former childhood friend and boxing prodigy Damian Anderson (Jonathan Majors).
From an overall production standpoint, I thought the movie was extremely well done. There’s so much interesting imagery used and several seemingly small details that ultimately ended up mattering a lot more than I initially thought while watching it. The cinematography and different camera shots are also very creatively used throughout the movie and there were multiple moments where I couldn’t help but say to myself “What an absolutely GORGEOUS scene!” One of my absolute favorite scenes is during the climactic fight between Adonis and Damian, because it shifts from them being surrounded by cheering and fans and a full Dodgers Stadium to the fight being just between them with blows landing and no other sound or people around. I thought it was an extremely cool take on just how zoned in fighters become, and it was almost like being right there in the ring.
In that vein, I have to give props to the crew in charge of choreographing the fight scenes throughout the movie, because each one of them is absolutely visceral and realistic and raw, and there were multiple times when I winced because the hits looked that painful (including one scene during Damian’s first fight early in the film). I actually felt in some ways, the fight scenes seemed way more brutal than in the previous two “Creed” films. I can’t even imagine how long it took for everything to get perfected for this movie, but everything ultimately ends up very well done.
I also thought the performances were really good throughout the movie. A particular standout for me was Jonathan Majors as Damian because not only does he actually look and act the part of a former boxing champ, he’s able to garner sympathy (due to his upbringing and how his life didn’t turn out that well) and disgust (given his actions later on) as the movie goes on, and I thought it was amazing just how well he changed gears at a snap. Michael B. Jordan is also awesome coming back as Adonis and he does a great job showing how there’s definitely maturing and growth that’s happened in the character’s life between the first “Creed” movie and this latest outing, particularly with becoming a husband and father. Both men also do a great job showing what can happen when you’re unable to fully let go of past events and how poisonous that can be, and I also really enjoyed how the movie showed both men’s journeys in preparing for their fight. Another particular standout for me was Mila Davis-Kent as Adonis’ daughter, Amara, who is disarmingly adorable and seemingly more like her father than expected, and I foresee some bright things in this young lady’s future. Overall, the cast is top notch and everyone does a great job.
If there’s one complaint I have about the movie, it’s with the overall story. There are a handful of plot points that can be seen coming from about a mile away, and I feel like there were some things that could have been done to help punch it up, pun fully intended. Improvements also could have been made to the fight commentary dialogue, and there were multiple times where I rolled my eyes and/or said to myself “Well thank you for that wonderful insight, Capt. Obvious.” The movie is still enjoyable, but there were definitely some improvements that could have been made in order to put the movie over the edge and make it really awesome. “Creed 3” is also the first movie in the franchise that doesn’t feature the Rocky Balboa character, and while there’s definitely a bit of a noticeable gap in that regard, I did appreciate how this movie takes that leap as far as letting Adonis (and, to an extent, Jordan, since this is his directorial debut) do more as far as stepping out and fully forging his own legacy.
Overall, I enjoyed “Creed 3” and I would give it a solid B grade. I absolutely loved the overall production values as far as the cinematography and lighting and all of those aspects, and I thought the fight scenes were very well choreographed. The cast also does a great job, especially Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors in the lead roles, and both brought a lot of depth and heart to their characters. However, I felt like there could have been some improvements to the story to make it truly great. If you’re a fan of any of the other “Rocky” movies or the first two “Creed” films, there’s a chance you’ll enjoy “Creed 3.”