Creed III… will the Rocky franchise EVER end?
But, why did I come to see this film? Rocky 1-4 are great. No.5 and Balboa are rubbish. Creed was tedious, so I didn’t bother with No.2,and there are better things out that Cineworld could be filling the screens with, but we get this for a £3 warm (with the Three+ app).
Beginning in 2002, in Los Angeles, backed by music which features a lot of N-words, we see a young Creed (Thaddeus James Mixson Jr), and friend Damian ‘Dame’Anderson (Spence Moore II), up to no good while out and about, following the latter’s underground boxing match.
Oh, and I didn’t think it would be the sort of ‘lyrics’ which would be allowed in a 12-certificate film. Also, I can’t use the word here, because people would complain if I did. Yet, it’s okay for the ‘singer’…
Plus, since it was over 7 years ago, when we see near-modern-day Creed (Michael B Jordan – Without Remorse) up against former real boxer Tony Bellew as ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan, I’d forgotten he was in the first one, but here’s a rematch to fill some time before we get to the main ‘meat’ of the plot.
Yet, when it comes to boxing, ‘meat’ feels more like meatheads, since it’s just grown men shouting and punching each other in the face. I’ve no idea how that is a displicine.
The Bellew fight comes ’15 years later’ after the initial scene, before we move on to the actual present day, in 2023 (albeit just stated ‘present day’) – so 21 years will just keep extending, as Creed is entrenched in family life, with wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson – Thor: Love And Thunder) making incredibly bland pop ballads with autotuned singers.
But, before too long, despite bringing another boxer, Felix Chavez (Jose Benavidez), into the plot – since Creed runs a boxing gym, just like Rocky did, the main thrust of this threequel is to pit him up against old friend/foe ‘Dame’, now played by Jonathan Majors, most recently seen as Kang in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Ridiculousness begins when the pair meet for lunch, and Creed orders a burger, but doesn’t even begin to eat it! It just sits there all plump and thick. I know actors can’t stuff their faces – due to numerous retakes, hence why it was mentioned on Friday Night Dinner‘s documentary how you only see them pushing veg around the dinner plates, but Jordan could at least have cut his burger up, and shoved a bit aside!
The scene also needs subtitles, given the amount of mumbling this pair do.
Also, what makes zero sense is that Kang (yep, I’m calling him that) seems to come out of nowhere to fight for the top prize of the World Heavyweight Championship belt? I’ve never watched a proper boxing match, but I’m pretty sure they have to work their way up the rankings, they don’t just get a wild card through to the final round!
A big deal has been made about how part of Creed III was shot with IMAX cameras. However, It’ll just be the boxing scenes. I saw it in a regular 2.39:1 aspect ratio, and you see punches hit heads already. Hence, in IMAX, you’ll just get a bit of someone’s boxing shorts for your extra money. For that, it’s about £15 vs £3 (with the Three+ app, as I mentioned)
Overall, Creed III is as tedious as it sounds. I won’t say who wins between Creed and Kang, obviously, but that’s because if I had to sit and suffer, so do you. Given his avarice, the film is just Rich People’s Problems.
There’s also an attempt to introduce a subplot with daughter Amara having an altercation at her Deaf School, but it comes and goes like a British season.
So, for a film where everything was so Formulaic and predictable by a knockout, what WAS unpredictable? Well, as I left the cinema – and there’s not many people who stay right until the end of the closing credits – I got chatting to a woman in her 60s who was leaving around the same time, and she asked me what I thought of the film. I could see she clearly liked it, so I wasn’t going to rain on her parade, nor was I going to try and go into introspective detail about the things I would improve about it (like scrapping the idea from the start) in the subsequent 60 seconds or so between that moment and when we had both left the cinema.
So, I played along and said it was pretty good, but since Sylvester Stallone wasn’t in it at all, this time (other than being one of the producers), it would’ve been nice to have seen him. She countered that he most likely wasn’t, so as to not take the limelight away from Jordan, which is fair enough. It wasn’t an in-depth conversation, but what made it unpredictable is that when you go to the cinema a lot on your own – as she had also – having a conversation with another person being is quite a rarity, so that human connection does make for a nice change.
Now, a couple more audience situations – as always seems to happen. Well, for a Saturday afternoon, there were quite a few kids towards the back – fine, since I sit close to the front. Unfortunately, around halfway through, a lot of them seemingly got up and left… good, right? Well, some of them came back and sat on the very front row… and were NOT quiet. Thankfully, after a few minutes, someone at the cinema had clearly been watching from outside (I know the Odeon has CCTV, so presumably Cineworld also do), and came in to quietly remonstrate with them, presumably threatening to throw them out… after which, they were quiet as a mouse.
And the pièce de résistance… that family who were present for both Titanic 3D 25th Anniversary and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania? They were back! EGADS! Thankfully, they weren’t on the same row as me, so if the Dad was using his phone again, I didn’t see it. I was in centre of my row, and they were on the far-right of the row in front, so I couldn’t see anything they were doing. However, why anyone voluntarily sits on the edge of a row is anyone’s guess. The centre is where you get the best image!
Running time: 116 minutes
Release date: March 3rd 2023
Studio: Warner Bros
Format: 2.39:1 (Anamorphic Panavision), Redcode RAW (6K, 8K), Super 35, X-OCN ST(6K); 1.90:1 (IMAX version: some scenes)
Cinema: Cineworld Didsbury
Director: Michael B Jordan
Producers: William Chartoff,Ryan Coogler, Jonathan Glickman, Michael B Jordan, Elizabeth Raposo, Sylvester Stallone, Charles Winkler, David Winkler, Irwin Winkler
Screenplay: Keenan Coogler, Zach Baylin
Story: Ryan Coogler, Keenan Coogler, Zach Baylin
Music: Joseph Shirley
Adonis Creed: Michael B Jordan
Bianca Creed: Tessa Thompson
Damian Anderson: Jonathan Majors
Tony ‘Little Duke’ Burton: Wood Harris
Mary-Anne Creed: Phylicia Rashad
Amara Creed: Mila Davis-Kent
Felix Chavez: Jose Benavidez
Laura Chavez: Selenis Leyva
Viktor Drago: Florian Munteanu
Adonis Creed (15): Thaddeus James Mixson Jr
Damian Anderson (18): Spence Moore II
‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan: Tony Bellew
Boog: Patrice ‘Boogie’ Harris
Ann: Ann ‘Mitt Queen’ Najjar
Stitch: Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran
Lorenzo ‘Nightmare’ Jones: Terence Crawford
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.