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Review: Creed III (2023)

5 Star.png
5 Star.png

#drama, #action, #sports, #movie review, #Cinema, #theater

David North-Martino

Mar 23, 2023

Review: Creed III (2023)

Creed III (2023) is a sports drama film starring Michael B. Jordan in his directorial debut, and also stars Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country), and Phylicia Rashad. Sylvester Stallone gets a producer credit.

At the start of the film, Adonis “Donnie” Creed (Jordon) is riding high in his career. Then an old friend returns, threatening everything he’s worked for over the years.

Creed III has a steller cast, but unfortunately, a weak script, and pacing issues.

Michael B. Jordon is in the prime of his life, but for most of the film it feels like he’s in the background of his own feature. Adonis spends his time promoting a fight between Felix Chavez (Jose Benavidez Jr.) and Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), and remembering his troubled past. Jordon has amazing charisma. We need more of him as a fighter or at least a mentor in this picture. As for his directing, I don’t have anything bad to say. He has the skill and the will. I look forward to seeing what else he does behind the camera.

Tessa Thompson as Bianca Taylor-Creed has great chemistry with Jordon. Bianca’s troubles in her career could intersect with Donnie’s problems. She should be a mirror to what he’s going through, leading her to supporting him in the end. Their characters seem disconnected, even when a tragedy brings them together. We need more of Thompson in this film, and a continuation of their love story that gets short shrift in this movie.

Mila Davis-Kent as Amara Creed is perfectly cast as their daughter, but her conflict at school is never resolved—and worse—it’s muddled. They won’t allow her to have a weakness. So, how can she rise above it? There are strains of Rocky V here. They try to do a little bit of a reversal with worse results. I wonder if a whole subplot with Amara ended up on the cutting room floor. If so, please put it back in if there’s going to be a director’s cut.

Jonathan Majors as Damian “Diamond Dame” Anderson. He has a lot in common with Mr. T’s character Clubber Lang in Rocky III with a personal connection that could have worked, but they try too hard to make him a Rocky-like underdog you don’t want to root for.

Phylicia Rashad as Mary Anne Creed is always a welcome addition here, again playing Donnie’s adoptive mother and the widow of Apollo Creed. Her interactions with Donnie should have brought tears, instead, at one point, I only got a little misty. That’s a tragedy. I would normally be blubbering.

The last two Creed films were fun, exciting, and moving. This film just left me wanting. I almost think it was stymied trying to tie in a possible Drago franchise, but they were unwilling to do anything more than introduce the prospect. They didn’t want to flesh out a friendship between Creed and Victor Drago. That’s unfortunate. Why not have Victor train him Russian style? Maybe that would be problematic with what’s going on in the world, but it would have worked.

I can’t reccomened seeing Creed III in the theater, but it’s worth a watch when it comes to a streaming service.

Creed III is still in theaters.

Story Doctoring:

Don’t stray from the formula that makes these movies successful. Put Creed under great pressure to fight and not to fight. No matter what he does it seems like he’s going to lose everything. Focus on the love story that is the heart of a movie like this, and his family. The odds should be against him until he finds the right trainer, who like a wizard, gives him some boxing magic to defeat his opponent. He should still be losing the fight until loves saves him near the end.

Rating: Three out of five stars.

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