Creed III is the third installment in the popular Creed franchise that stars Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors, and Tessa Thompson. The main protagonist Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) encounters his former childhood best friend now turned foe Damian Anderson (Johnathan Majors), who wants a shot to fight Adonis because he feels that Adonis abandoned him when they were younger.
The movie starts with a flashback to Los Angeles 2002, where Adonis sneaks out of the house with his best friend Damian to a boxing match where Damian wins the Golden Gloves championship. Then in a shocking turn of events on the way back from the match Adonis assaults a man named Leon, who would abuse Adonis and Damian in the group home they grew up in, and Damian takes the fall for it. Damian tried to write letters to Adonis, but he never got any response because Adonis's mother, Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad) hid them from Adonis to help him move on. So Damian feels that Adonis forgot about him and is seeking revenge.
Now in the present day, Damian is released from prison after an 18 year prison sentence, and Adonis has been retired for three years now and is a family man with his loving wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and his deaf daughter Amara (Mila Davis-Kent). He is also the owner of his own gym and manager of the heavyweight champion, Felix Chavez (José Benavidez Jr.). Damian meets back up with Adonis at Adonis's gym, they go out to lunch and catch up on things since Damian has been incarcerated, then Adonis lets Damian come back to the gym to start boxing again because he's happy to see Damian wanting to start a new life on the right path. Despite the hiatus Damian still has his eyes on the heavyweight championship belt and going through anyone in his way.
Things are moving smoothly, until Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), Felix's next opponent for the championship gets assaulted at a party for Bianca's music label, leaving him unable to fight, which Damian was secretly behind. With Drago out of the picture the only opponent left for Felix to fight is Damian. People aren't a fan of the idea, but Adonis sets Damian up for the title shot that he has been dreaming of forever in hopes that Damian will put on a good show. Even though Damian is the major underdog, through obviously dirty boxing he demolishes Felix and puts him in the hospital, to become the new unified heavyweight champion of the world.
After the fight, Adonis goes searching for Damian. When he finds Damian, Damian punches Adonis and tells him that he no longer needs him any more, even with all that Adonis has done for Damian since they were kids. Just as things couldn't get any worse for him, Adonis's mother has a stroke, suffers multiple organ failures and passes away. After a talk with his wife, Adonis picks himself up off the ground and publicly challenges Damian for the heavyweight championship belt after a three year retirement, in inspirational fashion.
The dynamic between Adonis and Damian works perfectly throughout the course of the movie. Michael B. Jordan and Johnathan Majors had great on screen chemistry. Even though Damian going to prison isn't Adonis's fault, the guilt that Adonis feels for not reaching out to someone who was pretty much his brother is so genuine. Also, in between rounds in the final fight between Adonis and Damian, you can see the pure hatred in Damian's eyes, and how badly he wants to destroy Adonis, who at one time was his best friend. At times I found myself rooting for Damian, despite all of his dirty antics.
Adonis's journey during this movie is inspirational. Not only did his best friend turn his back on him, but his mother passed away under horrible circumstances. Yet Adonis never gave up or crumbled; he still rose above all of his obstacles and gave his all, which is what the series is all about.
The fight scenes are also well thought out and executed well. In a franchise like the Creed's and the Rocky's before them, it can be difficult to not just have the same movie done over again and the fights not seem stale and overplayed. Michael B. Jordan's direction took the fight scene in a different direction from the other movies in the franchise in a good way, which had great rewatch value. In particular at the end of round two everybody in the stadium disappears except for Adonis and Damian, and it feels as if they're in a dream state. Every punch sounds like a brutal blow and has you on the edge of your seat.
Overall the movie is enjoyable, inspirational, and suspenseful. The characters were interesting, deep, and fun to watch, the aesthetic of the film is very energetic, and the soundtrack is phenomenal. It features artists like Dr. Dre, Nipsey Hussle, Big Sean, and J.Cole. I would rate this movie a 8.9/10, the only reason it isn't a 10/10 is because of the predictability of the end of the movie, like most of the Creed/Rocky films. If you have the time and enjoyed the other Creed movies, this is definitely a must see.