From: Silver Screen
REVIEW: An Emotional Knockout: ‘Creed III’ is more than just fighting
How many concussions does Creed have? Although that question is not answered in “Creed III,” the film confronts childhood trauma and how it affects the next generation.
Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is the son of the famous fighter who battled Rocky Balboa in the original “Rocky” movie. However, “Creed III” makes several noticeable departures from the classic “Rocky” formula; Rocky is known for being featured in other “Creed” films but did not make an appearance in this installment, and the film does not follow the classic “student becomes the teacher” or “underdog becomes champion” tropes like previous “Rocky” films did.
After winning the Heavyweight World Championship, Adonis announces his retirement from boxing. The film flashes back to a memory of one of his childhood friends, Damian “Dame” Anderson (Jonathan Majors). Dame returns to Adonis in the present time from a long prison sentence. Clouded with guilt, Adonis helps his old friend get back in the ring and train to become the champion of boxing.
The full flashback is not revealed until the end of the film. Although the suspense was nailed through fights in and out of the ring that were drawn out just enough, the full flashback was slightly underwhelming compared to the build-up.
However, an alternate way to look at the underwhelming revelation is that the film shows how even the slightest incident from your past can damage your future. Throughout the film, Adonis struggles with the traumatic emotions coming from his childhood. This plays into the typical toxic masculinity trope presented. But through his relationship with his wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and strong-tempered daughter, Amara (Mila Davis-Kent), he is able to confront his past and his emotions.
Whether it was through having tea or play sessions with his daughter, Adonis’ relationship with his daughter is a sweet touch to the film. Their quality time juxtaposes other scenes of fighters getting their teeth knocked out in the ring. Amara is deaf and only communicates in sign language to both her parents. Their relationship shows you can communicate love without your words, whether it be through sign language or teaching her how to fight.
Adonis’ confrontation with his childhood is also shown in the relationship between him and his foster mother. His mother is a constant warm presence throughout the film, giving him advice about Dame.
If you're not familiar with the “Rocky” franchise, the “Creed” movies are filled with endless references to the original “Rocky” movies, such as the training montages. Tire flipping, running and clapping push-ups give a similar vibe to the iconic “Rocky” on the stairs moment. Referencing the original “Rocky” movie added a classic touch to a film that was trying to take on a non-traditional approach.
Even though viewers may expect the conclusion once they see the direction the film takes, the film builds up enough suspense to make the ending worth it. Although Bianca is highly opposed, Adonis teaches Amara how to fight. There has been no official announcement, but it seems the next generation of boxing can continue on with Adonis’ daughter.
“Creed III” was released in theaters March 4.
This article was edited by Bailey Hobbs, Kylie Bill and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis, Stella Guzik, Sophia Rocha and Sophie Myers.