Creed III

When Rocky improbably burst from the screen in 1976 to critical and popular acclaim, it became inevitable that the storyline would be expanded, twisted and tortured over ensuing sequels and spin-offs. With Creed III we have what is essentially the ninth film in the series.

Whereas prior installments took on superpower politics and smaller (similar) rising from the ashes plots, with Creed III we have mostly a revenge theme driving the action. Notably it is the first of the nine films not to include the eponymous Rocky Balboa, although not surprisingly Sylvester Stallone is listed as a producer.

The basic storyline involves our title character Adonis Creed, living a comfortable life with his family and career on an admirable track. Creed has retired from a successful boxing career. Things veer off course when a childhood friend bubbles back into Creed’s life. Through a series of somewhat believable events the pair must settle the score in the ring. Of course, this being a sequel the ring is in Dodger Stadium.

As with most of the films in the series, the boxing sequences are believable and visceral.

Michael B. Jordan is pivotal role in the production as co-producer, director and star. Jordan is commanding in his role, bringing much of the authority we saw him display in Black Panther. Creed III is written by Keenan Coogler and Zach Baylin (from a story co-written with Ryan Coogler).

While this film is no Raging Bull, the gold standard of boxing films, the supporting cast provides interconnected plot lines to keep things interesting. Especially effective are Jonathan Majors, Mila Davis-Kent and Phylicia Rashad.

Fans of the series will definitely get what they came for. And those new to the series may be driven back to the original, which will seem somewhat pedestrian, but far more pure.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.