Release Date: 03/03/2023
Cast: – Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors.
Director: – Michael B. Jordan
I enjoyed the first two Creed films even though they were weaker than some of the weak Rocky films. They had good action, good performances, investing drama, and genuine conflicts that propelled the action. Most importantly, were entertaining and engrossing from start to finish. That is exactly what I was expecting from Creed III when I walked into this film. Coogler was involved in the writing of the film even though he was not directing this time. For me, Michael B. Jordan taking over the mantle of direction could at most mean him giving himself more screen time but that was bearable as he was such a good actor.
The story: –
Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) has just won his final fight and has decided to retire from Boxing. He is living a happy and blessed life with his wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and daughter Amara (Mila Davis-Kent) when his past comes back to haunt him in the form of Damien (Jonathan Majors). Damien is a tough-as-a-nail boxing prodigy who spent 18 years in prison and is now hellbent on becoming the champion of the world and hurting as many people as he can on his way to the top.
First sign of trouble: –
My first concern for the film cropped up when I learned that Sylvester Stallone was walking out of the franchise citing creative differences. Stallone practically built the Rocky franchise with sheer grit and determination and he was the embodiment of everything that I liked about the Rocky films. He kept them breezy, entertaining, and impactful and ensured that boxing was always at the center of the films
and everything else was there just to fuel and lead up to the masterfully choreographed action set pieces. After sitting through Creed III, I realized that it was the exact opposite of everything that I liked about the Rocky franchise.
Unending, mundane, annoying, and sometimes cringe drama: –
About 90 % of Creed III is drama. People talking to one another with the camera looking intently at their faces and asking us to notice and revel in the mastery of their expression of conflicts and turmoil. There is drama between the protagonist and his wife, the protagonist and his rival, the protagonist and his mother, the protagonist, and the antagonist when they were kids, the antagonist, and the protagonist’s wife, and the protagonist and his daughter. Most of this drama is so boring and poorly written that it
made me feel like running out of the theater but I hung around waiting for the action.
One can say that the dramatic bits between Jonathan Majors and Michael B. Jordan made some sense and were somewhat impactful but the writing was so unbelievably inept and the proceedings were so laughably witless that it was nearly impossible to take these portions seriously or get involved with it in any way. If that was not enough, these bits were also extremely predictable and in portions reminded me of poorly envisioned and executed Bollywood tear-jerkers that jerked nothing from their audiences except laughter and yawns.
The insanely mediocre action sequences: –
This is the biggest spoiler that I can give about this film and I will intentionally give it so that none of my readers have to sit through this travesty. Creed III has only 3 action set pieces and they are so brief and uneventful that you will not even notice when they came and went. The action here is only to culminate and summarize the dramatic exchanges and has nearly a similar kind of urgency. They are meant to work as full stops on lengthy, verbose, and meaningless sentences formed by the interpersonal drama of this film.
The action choreography also leaves a lot to be desired. While the fighters look physically imposing and have the right expressions, the action sequences are handled so poorly that one never gets a feel of the gritty, bloody, and bone-crunching nature of the fights. Just try to recall the physical state of Rocky after every climax in the Rocky franchise and then compare it with the pristine exteriors of Adonis and
Damien after their 12 rounds long bout and you will understand what I mean.
There is just no feel for the action here. And then there is the portion where the fighters are fighting inside their own state of mind which felt like a slap on the sensibilities and expectations that were pre-established by the Rocky films. The action sequences of this film are toothless and have absolutely no bite. They seem to be designed and choreographed for the Soy boys of this generation for them to feel
good about their sensitivity and repulsion to old-school blood and guts in a fight.
Uninspiring training montages: –
Ask any Rocky fan and he will tell you that the training montages of even the lesser Rocky films were good enough to fill you up with inspiration, enthusiasm, courage, and grit. Even the two previous Creed films did a far better job with these sequences. One of the primary reasons why I didn’t like the training montages here was the fact that they were never able to inspire me. While Adonis was pushed to a corner and then pushed back as was the case with every other Rocky film, his stakes, and predicament were never developed well enough or were gritty enough to fill the audiences up with a fervor to root for him. Even the training sequences of the antagonist were not done well enough to fill us with a sense of fear and concern for the protagonist. This for me was a major letdown as the training montages always formed a crucial part of the Rocky films and literally drove the audiences into the climax filling them up with the right emotions and putting them in the perfect state of mind to enjoy the
Jordan and Majors are wasted in poorly written characters: –
I have to agree that Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors are fantastic actors. That was the only reason why the interaction between them was able to hold onto my attention as they both played their parts so well. Majors absolutely nailed the somewhat awkward mannerisms of a man who was a prodigy and spent 18 years in jail and then comes back to find the man for whom he went to jail enjoying a life
that should have been his in the first place.
Jordan playing someone who had forgotten his past and then was suddenly reminded of how he abandoned the man who saved his life is equally potent. He is perfect as someone dealing with the weight of his own past. Unfortunately, they are never able to unlock their full potential as the characters are so superficially written and are so conflicted about what they should be doing throughout the film. It would have served the film better to have pitted the two against each other in a more open manner rather than setting up unnecessary emotional exchanges and then shunning it all in one swift move.
Poor direction from Michael B. Jordan: –
I fail to understand how Michael B. Jordan didn’t notice how wrong they were going with this film. How could he not notice how boring this film was? How could he not notice how ordinary the action sequences were? How could he not notice how ineffective the drama was? How could he not notice the utter lack of punch in the narrative and the complete lack of payoff in the climax?
Help sustain honest journalism.
Was this film even necessary: –
I believe a sequel should be made only if there is an important progression of the original story to tell. If that is not the case, then a sequel should provide something extraordinary in terms of the execution or set pieces that would make the film worth viewing. Creed III does none of these and hence ends up becoming a film that I have no idea why it was made. After enduring it for 2 arduous hours, now I know
why Stallone walked out of the franchise and I believe that it was a smart move to distance himself from this sorry excuse of a drama that is masquerading as a boxing film. The franchise looks set to move to the next level of wokeism when Adonis’ deaf and dumb daughter takes over the mantel of Creed. You
Rating: 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)
The views expressed in this article are that of the reviewer and do not reflect EastMojo’s position.
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