Comfortable in the laces of Adonis “Donnie” Creed after two successful outings, Michael B Jordan steps up to the director’s chair for the first time to helm this threequel, and the results are spectacular. Even without the presence of Rocky himself, Creed III represents a new high for the franchise thanks to its utility of IMAX and the best villain since Drago in the form of Damian “Dame” Anderson, inhabited by Jonathan Majors, one of the greatest actors working today.
Much like Rocky IV, this is a straightforward revenge tale highlighted by its cultural context. While the showdown of Rocky versus Ivan Drago thrilled at the height of the Cold War, Creed versus Anderson feels particularly potent in the highly commercialised state of boxing today. As we learn from a strong cold open, Dame was Donnie’s childhood friend and an extremely talented boxer in his own right, whose impulses manifested in real-world violence, thereby leading to long-term imprisonment. Leaving jail at the apex of Donnie’s fame and fortunes, he returns to his erstwhile pal and states the mission hasn’t changed – he wants to be world champ. He’s in luck when he’s soon well-positioned to substitute for a major title fight.
Creed III arrives at the perfect time in boxing’s cultural moment where, feasibly, the rapid rise of a character like Dame Anderson could absolutely take place, albeit it’s more likely to happen in the exhibition space. Thinking of how influencer boxing has, well, influenced the sport, fans have grown a greater appetite for storylines and personalities and less interest in records. And what better story than the greatest amateur prospect returning to the ring after incarceration?
Dame is protected by his prison physique and plot armour to punch his way to a showdown against his old friend, and we’re eternally grateful for it. The culmination is perhaps the greatest boxing sequence ever filmed in cinema history, a finale that satisfies as both a bona fide IMAX spectacle and a stunning showcase of visual storytelling. Viewers will know who wins before the opponents even step into the ring but the experience is a true testimony to the fact that it’s not the destination that matters but rather the journey. And this is a journey that must be taken in IMAX – the precise framing and brutal choreography set a gold standard for boxing cinema.
Creed III is released nationwide on 3rd March 2023.
Watch the trailer for Creed III here: