March 2, 2023

CINEMA | Michael B. Jordan Fights the Past – 'Creed III'

"It's now or never for me."
Michael B. Jordan | Creed III
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Warner Bros. Pictures
Creed star/producer Michael B. Jordan makes his directorial debut in the third entry (and ninth Rocky film overall) of the venerable boxing franchise revamp. Creed III takes a more personal, family drama approach to the classic underdog sports drama formula.

An absolutely jacked Jonathan Majors co-stars as Donnie's childhood friend turned rival in a fairly typical but compelling villain setup. Majors fully commits to his sense of theatrics as a man of ambition running out of time. His truly imposing Dame is both physical and tortured after spending half his life incarcerated, feeling abandoned, and determined to take what he thinks is owed to him.

Produced by original director Ryan Coogler, who also shares a story credit, Jordan's direction is more subdued and less flashy with bursting moments of emotions heightened by the characters' performances. A soulful Tessa Thompson as Bianca continues to be a secret MVP by expanding on the typical wife role with her own interiority and active role in the escalating violent conflict.

Michael B. Jordan | Creed III

Scripted by Keenan Coogler (younger brother of Ryan) and Zach Baylin, Creed III is less grounded and much more theatrical with intentionally cartoonish elements inspired by Jordan's love for anime as well as boxing sequences shot with large-format IMAX cameras. Firmly set almost entirely in Los Angeles and leaving Philadelphia behind, the sequel further looks to the past of its protagonist to inform the future with original star Sylvester Stallone no longer involved.

Full of issues of Black male identity and confronting a legacy of violence, Jordan makes Donnie a family man with ghosts from his past. How his family deals with Dame's arrival sets up an intriguing yet mildly conventional confrontation. Both are vulnerable and irrationally emotional when confronted with their past actions that lead up to their inevitable standoff.

Creed III is a stylish continuation of the Rocky story fully committed to telling and expanding Adonis Creed's arc. Jordan proves he has more to say about the character despite elements of the boxing movie genre wearing thin after nine separate films.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Inverse / Polygon

0 reactions:

Post a Comment