Adonis Creed has been living out his wildest dreams, including being the reigning heavyweight boxing champion of the world, and a loving husband and father. When an old friend Dame returns from a long prison sentence, he brings back his and Adonis’ past with him, which will lead to the next big match of Creed’s career.
Though the Creed films were always follow-ups to the beloved Rocky franchise, they’ve made themselves feel fresh and modern while retaining the themes of hard work, underdogs, healthy masculinity, and family that make Rocky so iconic. Three films in, and what you’re watching still feels exciting and imbued with passion from behind the camera. Not to mention the director behind the camera is also its star, Michael B. Jordan. He delivers a strong debut as a filmmaker and brings out not only a strong visual energy to the boxing and training sequences, but the best out of the performances. Jordan and Thompson again work so well together and are two of the most charismatic, vigorous stars of this generation. The dynamic they have, now that their daughter is in the films too, brings another beautiful layer to their world that we’ve already been invested in thanks to the last two films. Jonathan Majors is a formidable screen partner to Jordan as Dame, a man ready to get back at the world for the unfortunate past he’s suffered and the life he feels he’s been robbed of. But similar to the Dragos in Creed II, Dame is empathetic and his longing for the championship Rocky and Creed have already felt isn’t as selfish as his attitude towards getting there.
Along with the excitement of seeing cool stars spar it out in the boxing ring is the complexity that the Creed films’ characters have and the scripts’ push to always have them growing and learning new things, as for every film to feel significant. Despite this, one story arc does feel slightly incomplete at the end and despite creative editing from Jordan, it does get aggressive in a few instances. Though it isn’t as wondrously directed as when Ryan Coogler was at the helm, it’s a film that gets better and better, with the dialogue just as exciting as the sports, but when the sports is there, it’s a blast thanks to the actors, direction, and always thrilling soundtrack that gives the film so much life.