Monday, May 20, 2024
FIlm

Creed III is a Strong Directorial Debut For Michael B. Jordan

Creed III
Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) v. Damian Anderson( Jonathan Majors) (photos courtsey of MGM)

Creed III Stars: Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed (who is also the film’s director), Jonathan Majors as Damian Anderson, Tessa Thompson as Creed’s wife (Bianca Creed), Mila Davis-Kent as Amara Creed, and Phylicia Rashad as Mary-Anne Creed. 

Synopsis: Adonis Creed’s (Michael B. Jordan) life has flourished both professionally as a Boxer and personally. An old friend and former boxing prodigy, Damian (Jonathan Majors), re-emerges after a long stint in prison, eager to live the life he always wanted as a boxing champion. The two former friends engage in the fight of their lives which is more than a boxing match; it is a fight to overcome their pasts. 

Why Creed III is Worth Your Time? 

Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut is nothing short of phenomenal, especially with the film being the trilogy to one of the biggest movie franchises of all time. It’s apparent that this was a passion project for Jordan as he was able to craft this great film carefully. During a recent press conference, he mentioned he’d had scenes that were all but ripped from his fingers and left on the cutting room floor, but he didn’t let that jeopardize the film’s quality. I can confirm that this project was well-paced and that the film’s tone was consistent from beginning to end. 

There were rumors of former Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder appearing as the son of James “Clubber” Lang in Creed II a few years ago, which would’ve been decent provided the right script; but I am glad this particular Creed spinoff franchise was brought to life. Much kudos to the writing team of Zach Baylin (King Richard writer) and Keenan Coogler (Ryan Coogler’s brother) for putting together a story with characters compelling enough to add quality to the Rocky franchise. 

The underdog storyline, which the Rocky franchise is known for, fits well into this story because we see Damian Anderson go from serving time in prison to his pursuit of living his dream as a Champion. We also see Creed’s rise from being a retired Champion to fighting his former best friend, the current Champion. Both characters must not only fight their opponent in the ring but also fight their own internal battles. 

I feel like Creed III offers more depth than the more recent Rocky films because even though you have a designated antagonist and protagonist, you really can’t instantly side with Creed. You understand why Damian is the way he is; honestly, he very convincingly reflects those who have struggled with a complicated past and have had to overcome major life obstacles. I can see Ryan Coogler’s fingerprints all over this script because it’s quite similar to Black Panther‘s ruthless Kilmonger character in that you understood and almost couldn’t blame him for his actions or way of thinking. 

There is a lot of American Sign Language representation in this film. With Creed and Bianca’s daughter being deaf, we see excellent attention to detail depicting what the environment would be like and how families interact with someone who is hearing impaired. Also worth a mention is Mila Davis-Kent as Creed’s adorable daughter, Amara Creed. We get a glimpse of how Creed’s actions affect his relationship with his daughter. We even see her passion for boxing showcased. Can we see how her storyline plays out when she finally puts on the gloves? That would be fun to see. Although her screen time is limited, Davis-Kent’s charisma is undeniable. 

Creed III
Damian Anderson (Jonathan Majors) (Photos Courtsey of MGM)

The Characters

One of the surprising elements of the film was that it is an origin story for Adonis Creed, exploring his growth from a troubled teen to the man we see today. This is accomplished seamlessly without dragging the cinema or stealing focus from the storyline. The film carefully weaves in the character’s past while dealing with actions that will undoubtedly impact his future, leading to a conflict you’re unsure if he’ll win. 

The chemistry remains strong between Jordan and Thompson. They create a relationship that appears to have stood the test of time and survived the pressures of their careers. There are moments in the film where Creed is standoffish and wants to shut his family out, but the presence and voice of Thompson creates a clear path of communication, allowing Creed to be vulnerable and honest with her. Creed III shows Bianca as not only Creed’s other half but also as the glue that holds the family together. 

It’s worth stating again how Mila Davis-Kent as Amara Creed was so adorable and charismatic. The moments with Jordan were like watching a genuine love between a daughter and father. Davis-Kent not only stole focus during her screen time, she respectfully represented the American Sign Language community (ASL), normalizing the community and giving attention to many small details providing a sense of authenticity appreciated by ASL and non-ASL viewers alike.

Jonathan Majors once again puts on a robust and touching performance as Damian. He makes you hate the character at moments, and sometimes you even feel sorry for him. After serving so many years in prison and feeling abandoned by Creed after receiving no contact from him and watching him live the life he planned, Damian wants his opportunity. There is just so much the character must learn and let go of, but cannot because of his haunting prison experience. Damian reminds me of Killmonger, as his actions are driven by hurt and disappointment, making him a compelling character. Being a former Golden Gloves Champion and boxing prodigy, Damian believes his dreams are still possible. When asked where Majors got the inspiration for this role, he mentions that he watched the previous Creed films and gave much credit to his stepfather. He explained, “My stepdad was locked up 15 years before he got with my mom and then raised me.” Majors also said “Like, I was the kid that was trying to make sure Dad got home on time before the parole officer got to the crib. And I watched it. You know, I watched that happen. My stepdad tried out for the Dallas Cowboys. I’m from Dallas. And almost made it to the Cowboys. He was in the second round. I watched that inspiration. I watched that hustle. You know, I watched that dream that he had”. Majors, a friend of producer Ryan Coogler, also consulted him.

Creed III
Director and actor Michael B. Jordan (Photos courtesy of MGM)

Videography and Sound

I saw Creed III on Imax, of course, which was well worth it because I heard and felt every punch that was delivered during the fight scenes. The sound design in this film made me feel like I was in the match, and there were a few times I physically reacted to the punches. Especially when Michael B. Jordan takes a particular punch in the solar plexus in the third act. I really felt like I couldn’t breathe for him. There are other moments in the film where the sound design helped enhance the action and tension between the boxers. 

With Jordan’s direction, the film is visually appealing with anime and The Matrix-influenced angles that help the audience stay engaged during the matches. When a boxer sees an opening, the camera allows you to see it as well, so when the punches land, you understand why it is so effective. 

Jordan utilizes his skills not only when the characters are boxing, but also when he shares conversations with his wife, daughter, and Damian. I love the scenes where he places the characters in front of the giant Apollo Creed painting he has in one of his rooms, representing their passions as fighters. It also shows that Creed has forgiven his father. 

Creed III
Bianca Creed (Tessa Thompson), Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) and Amara Creed (Mila Davis-Kent)

The Takeaway on Creed III

This emotional and action-packed sequel is well-written and has a phenomenal cast. The film highlights male trauma, growth, forgiveness, and healing. Even if you disagree, you’ll still feel connected with the characters and understand their actions. It is a must-watch that could be shared with family and fans. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself cheering during fight scenes or even holding back tears.

Dapper Dr Feel

Felipe Patterson aka Dapper Dr. Feel, #BlackLoveConvo & Entertainment | @fdapperdr Dapper Dr. Feel is a Entertainment journalist and member of the Critics Choice Association and African American Film Association.

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