Adonis has accomplished just about everything he needs to accomplish, except reckoning with his past. He buries that a long time ago. But sometimes the past doesn’t stay buried. Adonis finds that out the hard way when a relic from his past reenters his life, leaving a bit of chaos in his wake.
Michael B. Jordan scores gold in his directorial debut. It’s a monumental step up from Creed II, which seems more like a documentary of a fighter's life—a movie about making a movie about a fighter.
Jordan keeps some of what the franchise has done successfully in the past and gambles on bringing in some new things. The gamble pays off.
One of the things he focuses on is highly dramatized action—a staple of any Rocky movie. But he changes the way it’s done. For the first time, we’re able to see two fighters in the ring fighting each other along with their pasts. And it's done in a very unique way that doesn't involve as much focus on audience reaction the way Rocky movies have done in the past.
Also the story takes a Shakespearean twist that isn’t existent in any previous Rocky story. The shift lends itself to a much darker tone. But with an antagonist like Dame and a metaphorical villain like the past, the material requires a much darker tone.
When viewers meet Adonis, in Creed, they see him torn between two worlds. One is the legacy of his father. It has a strong pull on his life. The other is the life that Mary Ann envisions for him. Through the first two movies, he figures it out. In Creed III, Adonis seems more mature and content. He has accomplished what he’s set out to do. He’s at home in his own skin. But he doesn’t realize that though he’s finished with his past, it’s not finished with him. He has some guilt over how well his life has turned out compared to Dame’s. He has some issues he needs to deal with. And he has to contend with the past and his old friend to do it.
Dame/Damian Anderson feels like he’s owed. He came from the streets just like Adonis. But Adonis had a savior in Mary Ann. Dame doesn't feel like he's had the same chance as Creed. So he thinks someone should give him a shot. He had dreams just like Creed. But he feels like Creed stole his dream and made it his own.
Mary Ann has always wanted what was best for Adonis. And she has done everything she could to give him the life that she felt he deserved. But perhaps, she overstepped in some ways when she shielded him from certain things that kept him from dealing with his issues.
Bianca Creed is very much like her father. She’s a fighter in life. She’s a little hot-headed and as smart as a whip. She picks up so much of the sweet science just from watching her dad’s fights. It’s easy to see that the fight game calls out to her. The path for the future Creed fighting legacy may rest on her small shoulders.
Amara Creed is fighting her own fight. She has to give up performing because of the loss of her hearing. Both she and Adonis have had to give something up that they love for very different reasons. And Amara seems to want to bond with Adonis over the loss of their passions. But because Adonis is dealing with the demons of his past, he stifles every attempt she makes.
Creed III is an excellent installment into the Rocky universe. At its core, it’s about a family of fighters. And it knocks the competition out cold.