Alex Reviews "Creed III"
For over 35 years, the Rocky movies and baseball share the distinction of the longest-lasting bond between my father and me. They are sacred to me which is why I am very forgiving of select film decisions like Rocky Balboa and at the same time very critical of some choices Rocky V during the franchise’s run so understand my relationship with it was we get into the most dichotomous entry into the Rocky Cinematic Universe in Creed III.
Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) has the perfect life: he has turned his iconic boxing career into the foremost fight promotion company on the planet, his wife (Tessa Thompson) is a wildly successful music producer, and they have a massive mansion overlooking Los Angeles from Beverly Hills and a beautiful, healthy daughter. Nothing could disrupt their happiness, except a rough-edged friend from the darkest part of Donnie’s past (Jonathan Majors).
Each and every performance by the main characters in Creed III is spectacular. Jordan and Thompson continue excelling in the series as the Creeds themselves, but the real standouts are Majors as “Diamond” Dame Anderson and Phylicia Rashad, who gives arguably her best performance of her career in her third turn as Mary Anne Creed.
Unfortunately, great performances could not save this film from some incredibly odd choices in Jordan’s debut directing. I wonder how many of the issues I have are truly directorial, but as the leader of the production I have to charge Jordan with the problems in visuals, audio, and editing. The first example of the visuals that gave me pause was an odd shot during the opening in which a $20 bill has the distinct picture of Benjamin Franklin, and it just seemed to snowball from there. During the many bouts featured in this film, in an attempt to give the realistic sound of the announcers that a fighter in the ring might hear it took me out of the fights as the audio sounded distractingly as if the speaker was dropped in a bucket of water from arguably the most talented announcers on the planet. That and a peculiar choice in the shots during the apex of the finale really drew me out of the intense emotions I should be feeling.
The editing may actually be a combination of the story and the cuts, but while many scenes are jumpy the editing struggles in a story that already seems to struggle on its own to flow at times despite being a high-quality narrative with one deflating issue that I will not spoil. I can forgive the dissonance between ring announcer and promotional material appearing during the final scenes, but I would have to believe a more seasoned director would have been able to catch these problems which made a potentially great film only a good flick.
If I weren’t so meticulous with the film or such a massive RCU fan, I would understand someone being pulled directly into the picture by amazing characters and one of the best soundtracks I have heard in a long time. It is still one of the top movies of the first quarter of 2023 and one that everyone should see and really makes me excited to see where the next chapter begins and where it will take us in the future.