You Can’t Run from Your Past

Creed III finally distances itself from the legacy of Rocky Balboa. Though he does have a producer credit, Sylvester Stallone doesn’t return for the first time in the franchise. Rocky making peace with his son was his best conclusion since no one wants to see the death of another icon. Since Ryan Coogler was busy with Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan follows in Stallone’s footsteps by directing himself. Rather than copy Rocky III by having the son of Clubber Lang, Creed III succeeds by forging its own path. The only similarity is Adonis Creed living a lavish life with his family and choosing to retire from boxing. Tessa Thompson has a similar arc as Bianca lets go of her singing career due to hearing loss.

I probably should’ve figured their daughter Amara would be deaf, but her love of boxing adds layers to her character. Creed III brings the Creed franchise full circle by making peace with past opponents “Pretty Ricky” Conlan and Viktor Drago. Unlike every sequel from Rocky V to Creed II, the villain is finally another actor learning to box rather than a boxer who can’t act. The only real life boxer is José Benavidez Jr. as Creed’s young Hispanic protégé Felix who gets outshined by a childhood friend seeking vengeance. Mere months after Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Jonathan Majors plays another villain who steals the show.

Damian “Diamond Dame” Anderson was an aspiring boxer and Donnie’s childhood friend from the group home who took the fall for him years ago. Despite warnings from Little Duke, Dame becomes a dark reflection of Donnie who goes after his legacy. Their emotional performances are only matched by Phylicia Rashad as Donnie’s aging mother. Learning to forgive herself and her husband Apollo brought me to tears. Jordan’s direction meant a surprising amount of anime influence that enhances every fight with more stylized visuals and camerawork. Everything builds to Killmonger fighting Kang in the ring with Valkyrie on the sidelines. SPOILER ALERT! Rocky callbacks are fewer, but nothing beats hearing the original theme when Donnie wins. Creed III is a knockout all on its own.

Creed III

Adonis Creed vs. Damian “Diamond Dame” Anderson

Preceded by: Creed II

4 thoughts on “You Can’t Run from Your Past

  1. Heard a lot of positive comments for Creed III, and Michael B. Jordan is really proving himself as the next big thing in the entertainment industry. While I love the Rocky universe as a proud Philly native, Boxing films in general don’t hold much interest for me, but I do like ones like The Killers with Burt Lancaster that has a boxing background.

    Liked by 1 person

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