THE OSCAR PROJECT
Creed III is the 9th film in the Rocky/Creed franchise and with Michael B. Jordan stepping up to make his directorial debut, he faces the impossible task of keeping up the standards of this well established and adored franchise.
It has been five years since Creed II and you can tell some time has passed by how meticulously crafted every element is. Jordan’s directing is smooth and polished. Every frame looks unwrinkled and this is especially impressive as he follows Sylvester Stallone's challenge of starring in the movie as well, as the titular Adonis Creed. He pulls some impressive moves when crafting this film and considering he's directing the ninth installment, adding new elements to the tired format of this series is a feat in itself. He brings more slow motion into the fights which isn’t necessarily new but the way he utilizes it to emphasize Adonis's thought patterns are especially genius. It's an incredibly fun and clever way to shoot the fights whilst keeping the camera involved in the action.
Jordan also creates a feast for the eyes in the final fight, visually independent from anything we've seen from this series before so it's safe to say that he brings his own unique flavour to a franchise nearly 5 decades in. He does fall short however in some aspects, particularly the montages which this franchise is very much famous for. There's a small sequence of Damian “Dame” Anderson (Jonathan Majors) in his home that should be a quickfire montage scene to rile up the main antagonistic force but it more-so comes across as a cheaply made music video edit. The final montages feel sloppily put together as if Jordan studied the previous great training montages and tried to replicate them without knowing what really made them special. He forgot to add his own flare to these moments and the film suffers for it.
The film tries to relate to Rocky 3 whilst keeping its originality. Like Rocky in Rocky 3, Adonis has become a domesticated fighter which Mickey explained as the worst fate for a fighter. Both Rocky and Adonis have to overcome that fate to win their fights. But in being domesticated, Adonis has become a father. This is a theme that gets touched on slightly but isn't as explored as much as it should be. The film relies heavily on ASL in this storyline which could be a risk, forcing the audience to understand large parts of the film through subtitles. This is treated as normal, which adds a nice layer to the film. The film never fully realizes the fatherhood aspect. Adonis is never forced to strain and the film attempts to show a glimpse of what that could look like but never commits to building that struggle.
The soundtrack is great and the vibe of the entire film is unique to this installment. Dr. Dre’s 'The Watcher' plays over the beginning flashback and a soundtrack exclusive remix reprises the ending. It's a good way to show the time gap and also how different Adonis has become in that time. You’ll also hear some older Rocky themes but altered slightly which serves as a subtle metaphor for the franchise.
The final resolution is well written but definitely not needed. There is an attempted commentary on legacy which was already covered in Creed and Creed II, reducing that theme to filler. This will likely not be the final installment in this franchise but it should be. It's a strong ending with some unique qualities, but the formula for the franchise is getting repetitive and I don't know how much longer it can last. With that said, I had a brilliant time with Creed III and would definitely recommend it to any fan of the series. For now, I'm going to give Creed III a...
7 out of 10