Creed III - A Spoiler Review of a Knockout of a Sequel

I will admit that I was dubious about Creed III when Michael B. Jordan was announced as the director for Creed III. It is nothing against Michael B. Jordan, but this was his first time behind the director's chair so it was a risky move. Creed III is a fantastic film, that had an engaging story, great acting, and a very impressive directorial debut by Michael B. Jordan. It is hard to rank the Creed films (at least not yet), but I am confident saying it is in the running for the best of three or at the worst the middle of the three. Sylvester Stallone was very public about his displeasure with the story decisions being used in Creed III, but I liked what they did. Stallone was critical of the idea that Creed III was going into a darker direction than what he wanted. I do not see how Creed III was any darker than some of the films in the series, so I wonder if Stallone just did not agree with the script choices. I thought that Creed III echoed some of the elements of Rocky III, and if I was to rank it in comparison to all of the films in Balboaverse than I would say that Creed III is in the top 3 or 4. 

The decision to bring in Jonathan Majors as the opposing force that Creed must defeat was a smart choice as Majors is on a heater right now. We just saw Majors co-star as the villainous Kang in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and he has burst onto the acting scene in the last couple of years showing up with increasing frequency. Michael B. Jordan has been given his best actor to work off of with Majors, but the film explores a lot of other issues that make the film feel deeper than its predecessors. I am not sure what plans there are for future films in the series, but Creed III should be considered a massive success considering all of the factors working against it. While I do not believe that Creed III is going to win any Academy Awards, I do think it will be widely acknowledged as one of the better films of the year. The Creed family was also given more screen time in this film, and it was one of the dynamics that gave the film an added dose of heart. 


The movie begins with a flashback to Los Angeles in 2003 where we see a younger Adonis getting picked up from Mary-Anne's (Phylicia Rashad) house in the night by Damian. Damian and Adonis are going to a boxing match that Damian is entered in, and Damian wins the tournament and becomes the top ranked amateur boxer. On the way home Dame and Donny stop to get food, and when Donny encounters a figure from his past he snaps and attacks the man. The film then jumps to Adonis  fighting in South Africa against 'Pretty" Ricky Conlan (real life boxer Tony Bellows reprising his role from Creed). Creed (Michael B. Jordan) wins the fight and becomes the unanimous champion before he retires from boxing. Creed is now a fight promoter, and a doting father and husband. Bianca (Tessa Thompson) is now a song writer and producer, but she no longer performs as she needs to protect what little hearing she has left. Bianca and Adonis' daughter Amara (played by Mila Davis-Kent) is deaf, but she has her father's fighting spirit which causes problems at her school. Adonis is leaving his boxing gym when he runs into Damian (Jonathan Majors) who has been released from prison after serving 18 years.  Dame and Adonis have lunch where they catch up and Adonis invites Dame to train at his gym. 

Dame begins training at the gym, but he is asked to be the sparring partner for Adonis' top boxer Felix (played by real life boxer Jose Benavidez). Dame goes to Adonis' house to have dinner with Adonis and his family, and Dame confesses to Adonis that he wants a title shot against Felix. Adonis tells Dame that he can't just hand him a title shot, but that Dame needs to be patient. Felix has a title fight coming up against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), and when sparring with Dame they come to blows. Dame gets sent home by Adonis, and Dame angrily works out as he is frustrated by his lack of progress. At a label party that Bianca invited Dame to, a fight breaks out and Drago is attacked suffering a concussion and broken hand. With the title fight needing a new contender Creed suggests Dame as an opponent for Felix. Creed's partner Little Duke (Wood Harris) worries that Dame is not a good opponent. Duke believes that Dame is angry at the world, and that he is looking to hurt someone, but Creed thinks Dame can give Felix a good fight. Dame then proceeds to use underhanded methods to win the fight and knock Felix out.

Mary-Anne watches the fight and after it is over she finds a box of letters that Dame wrote to Adonis while he was in prison. Mary-Anne asks Adonis to come to her house where se tells Adonis that she hid the letters from him because she wanted Adonis to move forward in his life. Mary-Anne then shows Adonis a photo Dame sent from prison of Dame with some of his fellow inmates, and one of the men was the man that attacked Drago at the label party. Adonis yells at Mary-Anne about hiding the letter from him, and he storms off to confront Dame. Adonis finds Dame partying with a bunch of people, but Dame shows no remorse, and further more he insults Adonis, and then punches him in the face. Adonis returns home and when Bianca asks him what is wrong Adonis refuses to explain his past trauma with Dame which leads to an argument. Adonis is trying to clear his head when Bianca calls saying Mary-Anne suffered another stroke, and that this has left her clinging to life. Adonis says his goodbyes to his adopted mother, and he takes the blame for her stroke. After explaining to Bianca that the man Adonis attacked was an abusive supervisor at the group home Adonis and Dame lived in. Dame stepped in to prevent Adonis from being attacked, and when the police arrived Dame was arrested while Adonis ran away. Seeing Dame again has brought back all of the guilt he feels about what happened to Dame.

Adonis goes on TV, and when Dame calls into the show to call Adonis a coward Adonis challenges Dame for the titles. Adonis and Dame train separately for the fight with Adonis having to overcome his three years out of boxing. Adonis is able to regain his focus and form by sparring with Drago. The fight takes place at Dodger stadium with the crowd being split between cheering for local came from nothing Dame to former champion Creed. The fight starts evenly as both fighters know each other well, and Dame looks to end the fight early with big swings. The fight goes to the final round (12) where the former brothers fight with Creed getting the opening to knock Dame out and become the champion again. After the fight Creed goes to visit Dame where Adonis apologizes for abandoning Dame which he says was because he wanted to move past his trauma. Dame tells Creed that they were just kids and that Creed is not guilty of anything, and then Creed tells Dame it was not his fault either. The film ends with the Creed family in the ring with Adonis and Amara play boxing.


The story felt so personal and understandable that I was drawn into it immediately with the flashback. The flashback was well done as it only showed enough to establish that Dame was a promising young boxer, and that the two boys had a very strong bond. The mystery of how Dame ended up behind bars took some time to be explained, but it was worth it to watch Adonis struggle with his guilt. Bianca was not given a lot to do in Creed II, but I felt this film redeemed her character by adding depth to her story. Bianca like Creed was finding herself struggle with her place in the world with her performing career ending. While Adonis was dealing with his issues with Dame, it was Bianca who kept pushing for him to share his feelings with her. Bianca was patient, but she was also firm that when his behavior was unacceptable he needed to sort himself out.  I thought Creed III gave Tess Thompson a little more to work with, and it made sure to note her own struggles too. Adding Amara to the mix was something that gave the film some much needed heart and levity. We got to see Adonis at home, being a father and seeing the family adjustment to Amara being deaf. The Creed family dynamics added weight to the story, and I was excited to see them every time they appeared. 

The opening flashback to the young Adonis and Dame was a key part of the film to make sure we saw how close Adonis and Dame. The flashback also shows that it was Adonis that was responsible for Dame going to prison. While I liked the ending showing Creed and Dame getting along, I hope the franchise continues and we can see two really reignite their bond. Majors and Jordan had great chemistry together with Majors being playful and Jordan being uneasy. That final scene showed that Creed has moved past his guilt over what happened to Dame. The fight between them was necessary for Dame to get past his anger at being locked up for 18 years. The story made Dame very sympathetic, while also showing that Dame was making choices that were for his own benefit. Dame needed to use Adonis to get some of the things in life that he missed out on; it was a very understandable reason, especially considering he felt Adonis turned his back on him. The build up to the final fight was expertly handled as the story built the relationship from the opening flashback to the signature fist bump at the end. 

I am going to rate Creed III a 9/10 as it is in the top three of the Rockyverse of films, and it was a lot better than anyone had expected. Michael B. Jordan has proven that he is a director to watch going forward; his debut directorial performance in Creed III was amazing. I will be curious to see what Michael B. Jordan does next as he is now both an outstanding actor and director. The boxing scenes were well shot and staged, and those scenes kept me incredibly focused on the action. The acting performances by the entire cast were all fantastic with Majors being a standout again. I think Jonathan Majors was the standout performer in every scene he was in, but I also think the scenes involving Michael B. Jordan and Tess Thompson were also great. Creed III was an entertaining film that was written, acted, directed and musically scored at an outstanding level. There is nothing better than when a mainstream film can be executed to near perfection on all levels. I highly recommend Creed III to everyone as I think there is something for everyone in this film. 

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