Cert – 12, Run-time – 1 hours 56 minutes, Director – Michael B. Jordan
Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) returns to boxing when an old friend (Jonathan Majors) enters the ring, after almost 20 years in jail, with more than the heavyweight champion title on his mind.
Perhaps its helped by the fact that he makes his directorial debut with this film, but you can truly see Michael B. Jordan’s personal and emotional connection with Adonis Creed in Creed III. Retired from boxing and helping coach the next generation in his gym his life seems calm and collected as he enjoys spending more time with his family (Tessa Thompson returns as now music producer Bianca, and Mila Davis-Kent makes a scene-stealing turn as their daughter Amara). However, Creed’s world is shaken up when an old friend is released from jail. Jonathan Majors’ Damian, a former promising boxer, wants to get back in the ring and shows himself to be an opponent as powerful as his knock-out punch.
It’s clear that Damian is after more than just the title of heavyweight champion, it’s said that “Damian ain’t a boxer, he’s fighting a war and he’s trying to hurt people”. You can see the anger, the rage, which he holds in himself both in and out of the ring. He’s looking for some form of revenge, to get back at the world which led him to be imprisoned and let Adonis go free in their youth (the pair played by Spence Moore II and Thaddeus J. Mixson respectively). Majors is brilliant and truly gets across the growing rage of his character as he makes it clear he wants to bring down Creed’s world.
What allows the drama to feel so believable and engaging is the fact that the events feel formed around the characters. Naturally fitting them and allowing for things to naturally progress. While in the first half you might be able to see the individual chapters and details which are constructing the narrative it’s the strength of the performances, and indeed the engagement with the drama, which keep you in place. Allowing for the second half, where things smooth out, to truly push ahead and get across the conflict between the two figures. Whilst one is fuelled by anger the other is trying to deal with his emotions, unsure as to what to do or where to turn as past events and traumas are being brought back up after many years of not having properly faced them – despite Bianca’s encouragement to talk about his feelings.
Much of this comes together in the aforementioned second half, and particularly plays a part during the inevitable training montage and final showdown. The former emphasising the pain and struggle which Creed is going through and managing to get that across to the viewer with plenty of effect. While focusing itself as a character drama – as the best of the Rocky/ Creed films have been – there’s no denying the more stylised nature to some of the boxing sequences make for further interesting viewing and continue to stirring emotions within both characters – alongside two brilliant performances at the heart of the film. The elements successfully come together to create and engaging, and at times thrilling, character drama where the events have been formed around them to push the emotions at play. Michael B. Jordan’s personal investment with the central character and his arc shows and strengthens the proceedings allowing for a natural feel to the events and his character’s best turn to date.
Majors is brilliant and Jordan gives the best performance of his career so far as the two power through an engaging character drama with its fair share of effective, and personal, punches, especially once things smooth out in the second half.