Directed by: Michael B. Jordan
Distributed by: United Artists Releasing
Written by Taylor Baker
Jonathan Majors co-stars in “Creed III,” Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut which sees the champion hang up his heavyweight belts for a life after boxing until his foster brother shows up outside the gym. Majors who rose to prominence with an understated magnetic performance in 2019’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” plays Damian Anderson who goes by the nickname Dame. Dame had been serving time in prison after being arrested in connection with an incident started by Creed, his homecoming a decade and a half later brings up the past and feelings of guilt for Creed.
Unfortunately, the film is bungling in its presentation, inartistic with its choices, and generally looks like a promotional video you’d see on Sportscenter. This is hammered home when the “Showtime” logo pops up and we’re supposed to be viewing promotional footage that looks exactly like the film we’ve seen to that point. Jordan frequently uses intermediary shots in both interiors and exteriors, these shots aren’t quite a medium shot nor a close-up, this style gives the camera awkward framing and consequently drains the life out of scenes rather than enlivening them. Likewise, the fight scenes in the boxing ring are plagued by artificial lighting and a general sterility that has the effect of removing any grounded realism from the fighting sequences. One gets the sense you can almost see the warehouse wall where the out-of-focus CG audience roars.
With a rushed timeline and no real character growth, “Creed III” does nothing to differentiate itself as an entry in the broader series of both Rocky and Creed’s stories or in the boxing film subgenre. With animosity boiling up between Dame and Creed out of simple narrative convenience rather than interaction. We see characters killed off without impact, an anti-hero/villain who despite having clearly expressed interiority fails to have a single relationship on screen with anyone in the film outside of the hero. The character building, interpersonal relationships, pathos, and humanity that Sly brought in differing levels to both franchises is now gone. What’s left is a sophomoric rushed soap opera that lacks both nuance and grounding.
“Creed III” Trailer