Michael B Jordan makes his directorial debut with the third film in the Creed franchise which if you didn’t know is a spin off of the Rocky boxing film franchise.  Adonis Creed is the son of Rocky Balboa’s famed rival and friend, who Rocky saw die in front of his eyes in a tragic exhibition in Russia. 

Rocky and Adonis forge a familial relationship in the first two films, as Rocky guides young Donny through the paces of a career in professional boxing.  But Sylvester Stallone and his Rocky character are missing from this film, as Michael B Jordan moves to make Creed a separate entity that stands on its own two feet.

Stallone was not on board with the creative direction of the film, and has an ongoing beef with producer Irwin Winkler, who owns the rights to the Rocky franchise.  Do not expect to see Stallone involved with any of these films again until that dispute over ownership is squashed, which maybe never.  Sorry fight and movie fans.

This film introduces a new villain into the series played by Jonathan Majors.  Majors is a hot new action star so he brings incredibly hot star power into the film.

In the third film Adonis is married, raising his young daughter who is deaf, and navigating being a father and a fight promoter.  Yes you read that right, in this movie Adonis Creed spends most of the film not as a fighter but as a promoter. 

But there is still plenty of boxing action in this film.  Majors plays the film’s villain but comes into the movie as a long lost friend of Donny.  Dame as the character is called is Donny’s childhood friend that also had dreams of being a boxing star that were derailed after an incident where he was arrested and ended up doing a long prison sentence.

Dame comes out of jail and tracks down Donny looking for an opportunity to get back to training and competing on a high level.  His long time friend wants to help him and extends an olive branch and the relationship starts off very friendly.  But of course there’s no epic battle at the end if they stayed friendly the entire film.  The heel turn that Dame makes is pretty epic, and Majors played the villain well.

Phylicia Rashad picks up her role as Adonis’ mother, and Tessa Thompson does an outstanding job reprising her role as Bianca, Adonis’s loyal wife, and mother to their young daughter.  Wood Harris takes a more central role as the trainer, he trains Creed Athletics main stable fighter played by Jose Benevidez, and trains Donny for his last bout prior to retiring, and his bout against Dame which lured him back out of retirement.

I was impressed with the slightly more realistic boxing that the movie features as opposed to the crazy slugfests that were in its predecessor series.  The Creed series continues to use real commentators, real networks, real arenas and real referees to give you an authentic feel.  As a die hard boxing fan I appreciated that touch.  I highly recommend this film.  It’s my favorite of the series.  If you love black cinema see this film.  If you love boxing see this film, if you loved the Rocky series see this film.  Five stars out of five from me.  Creed 3, is in theaters now.

Image by: Rob Warren

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