Who remembers Rocky with Sylvester Stallone? “Adrian!!!!!” I would be hard pressed to find someone that hasn’t at least heard of Rocky “The Italian Stallion” Balboa. The Rocky franchise began in 1976 with the aforementioned Rocky. It starred Sylvester Stallone and brought 5 direct sequels. If you’ve seen the films, you’ll know that Rocky was best friends with a man named Apollo Creed (played by the great Carl Weathers) and we THEN meet his son years alter named Adonis Creed. The first Creed film came out in 2015. We saw Rocky come back yet again, this time as a trainer, and again in the sequel. I’ll be honest. I waited years to see them. I thought it was a cash grab for Rocky fans and I wasn’t impressed or excited. That changed this year. In leading up to this film I watched Creed and Creed II, and they were incredibly good! I was wrong. So, we now have the 3rd and final? Entry into this series. Something to note. The lead Michael B. Jordan (Creed) directed this film, this is his directorial debut. So how would Creed III stack up with the Rocky films and the previous entries?
Onto the film.
We open and the score immediately gets you to perk up. It reminded me of a boxer’s intro music. Or maybe a professional wrestler. Regardless I was excited! We see Adonis as a kid. He fakes like he is asleep and as most kids do jumps up and sneaks out. He meets his friend Damian as we see Damian is going to fight in an illegal boxing match. Damian is 18 or 19 years old, and Adonis is a few years younger. We see the boys go to a liquor store after the fight (and Damian wins!) Adonis…attacks someone. The previous films have touched oh his rage and anger/sadness as a young teen and young man. We then see Damion is arrested and Adonis escapes. Damian is off to prison. Do you see where this is going?
We cut to the present and Damian (Majors) is getting out of prison. Adonis (Jordan) is retired after becoming the champ. He’s rich. He has a great family. Tessa Thompson as his wife Bianca is great as always. So, what’s left? Remorse and making amends. I don’t have to go too much farther into the plot. Damian (Majors) wants to get back into boxing, to get his life back, and naturally this turns into wanting a shot against Adonis (Jordan.)
What I enjoyed about this film was the heart and story behind it. We’ve always seen Creed and Rocky films more so about the people than the fights themselves, but this also hits hard (pun intended) with childhood mistakes and trying to make amends. For that I enjoyed the story, the pacing, the score, and especially the actors. They all shine.
However, I do have some complaints. First…no Rocky. I know I know. He was mentioned and it feels like he’s there, but it just felt a little off without him. For my readers there were disputes before the film was made with Stallone and the production companies which is why he isn’t in it. But it just hurts the film. Also, the fight, it feels strange. The previous films would cut back and forth between the audience and the fighters. This one felt like an intimate fight. If that makes any sense. Almost as if no one else was in the room. It works but I don’t think it works in this setting. This doesn’t change the film from being a solid entry into the Rocky/Creed universe. I will also mention we will have a busy next few weeks. Movies are BACK! We have Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Air, and The Super Mario Bros all to see and review. I promise to take you with me. For now, give Creed III a watch. It’s solid. 3 stars out of 5