On Friday, March 3, the movie Creed III opens on Spanish billboards, spin-off of the Rocky Balboa saga, which features Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther) as the main actor and with the notable absence of Sylvester Stallone (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), who for the first time does not appear in the franchise, not even appearing in a secondary role, where he is only mentioned fleetingly and indirectly. The film marks the directorial debut of Michael B. Jordan, who captures a script by Zach Baylin and Keenan Coogler on the big screen, who also make their debut in the saga by signing the script.
Along with Michael B. Jordan, the cast also includes Tessa Thompson (Thor: Love and Thunder), Jonathan Majors (Ant-Man: Quantumania), Phylicia Rashad (Jean-Claude Van Johnson), Florian Munteanu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) and debutante Mila Davis-Kent (only seen in one chapter of The Resident), among others.
About the story
The story once again focuses on Adonis Johnson. The son of the heavyweight world champion Apollo Creed, is already retired from the ring but sponsors the new world champion. However, a friend from the past returns to disrupt his present and put him against the ropes, metaphorically and physically.
Once again we return to the ring, but changing the streets of Philadelphia for the luxury of Los Angeles, where we leave behind the figure of Rocky Balboa. This, without a doubt, is the most morbid aspect of the film, the notable (and unexplained) absence of Sylvester Stallone. It is true that the plot at no time would have progressed better with the character on the screen. But there are some very marked moments during the tape that is quite shocking that Rocky is not present in the life of Adonis Creed. On this occasion, the Spanish version removes the subtitle of “The Legend of Rocky”, although his legacy and his shadow seem longer than ever.
Once again, the attention falls on the young Adonis, brilliantly played by Michel B. Jordan, who, leading his own franchises, has managed to eclipse the memory of that disaster called the Fantastic Four. On this occasion he brings a more mature vision of the character, less temperamental, but equally enraged by his past. The fault, this time, lies with the character of Jonathan Majors. Damien, who went to jail for protecting him and now demands the bright future in boxing that he was guaranteed. To achieve this, the actor who plays Kang is more muscular than ever. With a proud, defiant, and self-assured character, he knows how to get what he wants, whether it’s through trickery or uppercuts (and foul play) in the ring.
Regarding the direction of Michael B. Jordan, from the first scene it is clear that we are faced with a solidity and confidence in its handling that far exceeds the deliveries directed by Sylvester Stallone, unfit for a newcomer behind the scenes. His way of transmitting is simpler and closer. More focused on portraying people than on showing the bombast emanating from the deliveries made by Stallone.
Creed III fails to squeeze the best essence of the franchise
Even so, Creed III fails to squeeze the best essence out of either the first tape of this spin-off or the Rocky Balboa installments, since his solvency in the direction does not prevent us from finding ourselves before a film that is liked and entertains, but does not fall in love. Thus, Michael B. Jordan offers us a solid boxing drama, but it gets lost in the dark and offers no comedic or visceral outlet, betraying the two key aspects of the Rocky saga and, by inheritance also from Creed, which is the fact of raising the revolutions during training and the final combat, the most epic moments of each feature film.
No matter how well shot the sequences are, with solid and believable performances, and agile camera handling in combat. The essence of the franchise is diluted, missing that hook directly to the heart. That push and effort to improve that they like so much from the previous films, and that infernal training that makes the viewer rev up. Unfortunately, the story entertains, the tension between the two protagonists is palpable. But the film does not fall in love because it fails in the main thing, which is to offer what is most sought after in this saga, the epicness of the training and the final combat.
So things, Creed III does not enjoy moments as formidable and memorable as previous installments, whether they are Rocky’s or Creed’s, where their two fights will not be remembered by fans of the franchise or boxing fans. But its essence and its set place this third installment as a solvent sports film. It moves away from the story of overcoming and ascent of the first installment of the spin-off; but also from the nostalgia rooted in Creed II: The Legend of Rocky. This tape tries to detach itself so much from the rest that it loses itself. Showing a solid plot but too predictable, where no twist or effect knocks out the viewer.
But all of the above does not mean that Creed III does not imply enjoying two exciting hours. It has a very well-carried rhythm, thanks to the fact that it is the shortest of the last three installments. But it also shows that Creed can move forward without Rocky, although to a large extent this sequel implies the closure of the franchise, unless Michael B. Jordan now takes to boxing at 40, 50 and 60 years like Sylvester Stallone did.