*Not a ton to spoil here…
Still dominating the boxing world, Adonis Creed is thriving in his career and family life. When Damian, a childhood friend and former boxing prodigy resurfaces after serving time in prison, he’s eager to prove that he deserves his shot in the ring. The face-off between former friends is more than just a fight. To settle the score, Adonis must put his future on the line to battle Damian — a fighter who has nothing to lose.
“I’m gonna get there one day. I’m gonna get there.”
The Rocky franchise has changed so much about movies. The Steadicam, the underdog sports movie, a successful legacy transition and of course ending the cold war! When we originally heard they were making a Creed movie I think everyone rolled their eyes, however we know what happened next. Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan started their Scorsese/De Niro journey and showed us they will be a force to reckon with moving forward. The second one came out and gave us the legacy of Rocky IV and some closure to the overall Drago storyline. Now with this third entry, MBJ is taking his leap like Stallone and directing and starring in it, showing us his incredible talent.
If you are thinking this new Creed movie is going to radically change the structure of a Rocky movie than you may be disappointed. The beats are very clear here and there is no doubt you will feel like you have seen this movie before. However, that does not necessarily mean it is bad, because there are so many great aspects of this movie. One of them being it’s antagonist Jonathan Majors who plays Dame Anderson, Adonis’ childhood friend who comes to settle an old score. He is a classic Rocky villain but brings a sense of empathy to him and you do find yourself rooting for him a bit. They have such great chemistry as foils that when it is time for the big fight you are at an all time high for anticipation.
At the beginning of the story, we see Adonis after winning his final fight, retiring and becoming a manager/promoter. He has a new star in Felix Chavez (Jose Benavidez Jr.) and is living the good life. Of course, when Dame shows up to ruin the party, Donnie is compelled to come out of retirement and fight him. It’s classic fight game stuff, but it is done pretty well so it is enjoyable.
Leading up to the movie, MBJ put a lot of emphasis on how he did the fight scenes. He is a huge anime fan and decided to utilize that style. That created incredibly visceral and hardcore fights even if they were a bit over the top (more on that in a bit). I was happy he definitely tried something different than the first two because he clearly had a vision. I think he has a lot of potential moving forward as a Director.
Okay we gotta talk about the boxing. As a huge boxing fan and someone who follows the sport closely I have to list the many things I noticed that either worked or did not work.
- They utilized DAZN and Showtime for in movie broadcasts, and different announcers each time. This is very boxing, because of how segmented the sport is and actually felt realistic to today’s boxing climate.
- Jose Benavidez Jr. is a fighter who fights at 147 lbs. which is welterweight and I just cannot ever look at him and see the heavyweight champion of the world. The Rocky movies have always had this problem where none of these guys look like Heavyweights, so it is always weird.
- It is completely absurd the Heavyweight champion would take on a complete nobody who just got out of jail. In no world is that happening.
- The First Take segment was incredible. No Notes
- When did Adonis win the Light Heavyweight Championship? He lost the Conlan (Tony Bellew) fight in the first movie and then won the Heavyweight championship to Danny Wheeler (Andre Ward) in the second movie. Maybe I missed that.
- Heavyweights just do not throw the kind of punches or the amount of punches these guys throw.
Stock Up – Michael B. Jordan
This guy is already on top of the world, but his stock just keeps on rising. Like I said, now he is directing movies, so he has taken his whole career to the next level. I cannot wait to see what he does in front or behind the camera moving forward. Also he pulls a plane in this movie, so yeah there is that.
Stock Up – Jonathan Majors
As we talked about with QUANTUMANIA, this is the year of Jonathan Majors. Be on the lookout at the Juicy’s this year because he is firmly in the MVP conversation with this performance. He is so charismatic, and just so massive and imposing that you cannot take your eyes off him. He is clearly going to be a massive star in Hollywood.
*A couple other tidbits
- Tessa Thompson is great as always, but her storyline was pushed to the side.
- Loved seeing Wood Harris get more to do in this Franchise, Duke was always important so that legacy is still strong.
- I would watch a Drago vs. Dame fight for sure.
This movie is a classic crowd pleaser and is everything you want in a Rocky/Creed movie. It has heart, it has training montages, it has odds being overcome, and of course fun fight scenes. It is not quite as revolutionary or exciting as the first two, but this is a very worthy entry, and a great debut for MBJ behind the camera.
*You can find my 2023 Movie Rankings here.
*You can find my Rocky/Creed Rankings here.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.
*You can follow my Letterboxd account here.