The beloved ‘Rocky’ franchise continues with the upcoming ‘Creed III’ which not only pits Michael B. Jordan‘s return as Adonis “Creed” Johnson, son of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) from the original ‘Rocky’ films but also shows the world the directorial debut of Jordan to the franchise that has been around for over 40 years.
But after two very powerful and gripping ‘Creed’ films that delivered immensely, does this third film complete an epic trilogy or will you feel knocked out by the end of it all?
Michael B. Jordan Makes His Directorial Debut With ‘Creed III’
Before we get to the spoiler-free review of the film, one big moment that came from this latest movie is that it presented the world with the directorial debut of Michael B. Jordan, who also obviously stars in the film. At the time of the announcement a few years ago, he mentioned in a statement how important it was to take on such a task saying, “Directing has always been an aspiration, but the timing had to be right. ‘Creed III’ is that moment — a time in my life where I’ve grown more sure of who I am, holding agency in my own story, maturing personally, growing professionally, and learning from the Greats like Ryan Coogler, most recently Denzel Washington, and other top tier directors I respect.”
It was there where he continued, “All of which sets the table for this moment. This franchise and in particular the themes of ‘Creed III’ are deeply personal to me. I look forward to sharing the next chapter of Adonis Creed’s story with the awesome responsibility of being its director and namesake.”
And for a directorial debut, it is impressive but I would like to see Jordan take on his talents in the directing chair to a completely original story and away from ‘Creed’. I think it would really see and show his artistry shine to the levels he is intending. To really honestly see if his skills in front of the camera could be outmatched by his behind-the-camera work.
Only time will tell, at least for the hard-working Jordan it seems likely he is one person that could really do it. He is a wonderful actor, that is no doubt and as he continues to direct, it will be interesting to see where the journey takes him. Because it is not an easy job in any sense and there is always room to improve. Once he starts tackling more projects, the progress will be amazing to see because even when Sylvester Stallone directed himself and also wrote, it got substantially better as time passed. The sky is the limit. This was a good first test for Jordan in the directors’ chair. More on that later. But speaking of Stallone…
Sylvester Stallone Does Not Appear In ‘Creed III’
Not much of a spoiler, but the man who created the ‘Rocky’ franchise, Sylvester Stallone doesn’t appear in ‘Creed III” at all. Nor is he really referenced or referred to throughout the film. Sure the film wants to step away from the shadow that the character and films Rocky may have cast, but in this case, he is such an important character to all the films as a whole and to the Adonis Creed character that you’d think there would be some sort of reference. Sure there has been a recent falling out with Stallone and fellow ‘Rocky’ producer Irwin Winkler, where he during a since-deleted set of Instagram posts called out Winkler and his family over the rights to the ‘Rocky’ franchise. And how he feels he deserves access to them.
Tearing into Winkler the way he did is likely what may be the biggest reason that Stallone doesn’t appear in the third Creed film. And it looks like we have seen the last of Rocky, but have we seen the last of Creed?
‘Creed III’ Looks To Stand On Its Own Amidst Its Storied Past
Now to the film. After 2008’s ‘Creed II’, I would have thought and believed audiences would have been given every answer that could possibly be given. For me the story of Adonis “Creed” Johnson was over, all in a good way. The film buttoned up every professional and life goal for all the characters to ride into the sunset and be happily ever after. But some may have even said that about some of the original ‘Rocky’ films.
Now as we know, in Hollywood, there always seems to be another round. And this is the case with the new story that is offered up for ‘Creed III’. It starts where we think it should start, with Creed leading a very successful post-fight career as a promotor just living the life he has made himself.
That is all fine and dandy until an old friend of Creed returns from a long stint in jail, played very well by Jonathan Chambers who plays the character Damian “Dame” Anderson who once was a boxing prodigy who chose a path in life to where he became down on his luck. Anderson seems like a genuine guy that just got mixed up with the wrong crowd. But now out of jail, he feels entitled to have the life that he feels was stolen from him, the life of Adonis Creed.
And in a very fast fashion not only does he get an almost instant title shot, but gets his old friend out of retirement for a major championship fight as well. Now, I get it, it is a movie, but this rags-to-riches underdog story seems all a little on the fast-forward train as even this story is very unlikely to happen in real life. It could have been dragged out a little longer. But if they wanted to speed it up, a simple thing that could have been added would be to have Sylvester Stallone to be in the film to promote the fight or be an ambassador to get the fight made. I would have believed the speed of everything a little more had some of Rocky’s clout come into play. Now it doesn’t ruin the movie on these minor choices, it just could have been streamlined a little better to get to the same place and make an even more complete film.
The fight scenes are great and provide for a fun movie that is worth seeing, but with lots of the story seeming to be fast-forwarded, it derails it a bit because that adds a lot of filler that shouldn’t be there. There will likely be more Creed films in the future based on how things turn out at the box office, but should that be the case? Though these films have taken more of a serious vibe, leaning into the nostalgia and occasional cheese factor in future films could do wonders for the overall presentation as it continues. Because no matter how far you want to remove yourself from Rocky, he will always be there and should always be there.
There will be a future with Creed, but I have to ask, what else does he have to prove? Nothing. And that isn’t exactly a bad thing, it is just the truth. The Creed character is great and I have overall enjoyed it. The previous two films have had more connection, emotion, and urgency. Creed III packs a punch but for it to continue, it needs to reinvent itself or give Creed more adversity, because you never feel he is out of it. That was the charm of the Rocky films, Rocky could have lost, but you really were enamored with his journey. It just seems Creed is coasting and we don’t exactly have to worry about the turnout. Maybe you’ll think otherwise?
Make your own decision on it all when ‘Creed III’ hits theaters on March 3rd, 2023!