SMART MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Creed III’ a worthwhile continuation of the franchise

Published 8:00 am Friday, March 17, 2023

By Ian Omar Smart | Guest Columnist

Now playing at the B&B Theater at the Vicksburg Mall, the saga of Adonis Creed continues with fewer ties to the stories of Rocky Balboa and more investigation into the history of Adonis himself. Now directing and starring, Michael B. Jordan returns to “Creed,” bringing along the immensely charismatic Jonathan Majors playing Jordan’s darker half who harbors his own resentments.

“Creed III” picks up with Adonis having already proven himself as an elite boxer. Now semi-retired, Adonis enjoys life as a family man and a brand unto himself. Phylicia Rashad and Tessa Thompson return as his mother and wife Bianca, grounding the masculine dilemma in their outside perspectives.

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Newcomer Mila Davis-Kent plays Adonis and Bianca’s daughter Amara, and one of the more compelling subplots of the film is her relationship with her father.

But the real star comes in the form of Majors’ amazing work as Damien Anderson, Adonis’s childhood best friend. Their relationship and eventual falling out acts as the core of this film’s conflict.

Diametrically opposed, Damien and Adonis are polar opposites; light and dark coming face to face. Even their fighting styles are inverted; Adonis’s elegant technical fighting vs. Damien’s brutish charging attack.

Jordan’s choices as a filmmaker also visually signify the differences, framing them in harsh light separated by a partition or outfitting Adonis in all white and Damien in all black. The choices aren’t particularly subtle, but they benefit the mythic nature of these kinds of movies.

This story involves two men who come from the same place but end up in different spots, and Jordan does great work as a first-time filmmaker illustrating exactly what he means. Even his influences from the anime of his youth to the hood dramas of the 90s merge into a unique gumbo.

Most importantly, Jordan directs the matches unlike any seen in the series. The camera tracks with the speed of each punch. Our perspective directly tied to fighters, highlighting their focus, pain and momentum.

One particular moment of extreme subjectivity occurs in the final match that had me exhilarated. Not only did Jordan match the kinetic action of anime to a live-action boxing ring, but he also managed to fold in the thematic expressionism only found in animation to something relatively coherent in live-action.

While this stylistic choice of an “internal fight” doesn’t work for everyone, I was overjoyed to see how Jordan differentiated himself from his predecessors by forging a new path in the franchise, where the metaphorical fight Rocky spoke so often about actually became the physical boxing match the audience watches.

Like the previous two “Creed” movies, “Creed III” is a worthwhile continuation of Adonis Creed’s story. While the “Rocky” franchise eventually became stale with Rocky in the lead, the “Creed” franchise continuously reinvents itself with each new entry, allowing each installment to feel like an event.

Ian Omar Smart is a graduate of Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University with a degree in architecture. When he’s not drawing buildings, he’s probably at the movies. Smart can be contacted at