Creed III: Michael B. Jordan’s Delightful Directorial Debut


The Verge

Adonis Creed in “Creed III”


On March 3rd, 2023, the third movie in the “Creed” franchise (branching from the original “Rocky” hexalogy) was released in theaters. “Creed III” follows Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the “Heavyweight Champion of the World” and son of the former champion of the world, Apollo Creed. This installment of the series follows Adonis in his life after retirement with his wife, Bianca (Tessa Thompson), and daughter, Amara (Mila Davis-Kent). But his comfortable life is flipped upside down once an old friend, Damian Anderson (Jonathan Majors), comes back into his life with the goal of taking his title. Creed is then forced out of retirement to defend his name against a man that will stop at nothing to become the champion.

Along with regulars returning to the series, such as Jordan, Thompson, and Phylicia Rashad, new faces are also welcome such as Marvel’s Majors and young deaf actress Davis-Kent. All of whom give fantastic performances in this film. Jordan has a real way of connecting with the audience and making them feel the same way he does, whether it be excitement or despair, he emotes perfectly. Majors is a complex villain and is especially memorable in the fight scenes; and Davis-Kent is just a ball of sunshine the entire film, bringing light into the darkest of moments. Because of the excellent acting from the entire cast, every actor has a moment in the film where they stand out.

Even with a compelling storyline and exceptional acting, the direction of a movie is often-times the make-or-break component. The star of all three “Creed” films, Micheal B. Jordan makes his directorial debut with this film. The difference between this film and the past ones in the franchise is very clear, but for all the right reasons.

For starters, Jordan leaned into a deaf storyline that viewers were left questioning at the end of the second movie. Creed’s wife, Bianca, was shown having gradual hearing loss during the second film before giving birth to her child, Amara. Amara is shown to be completely deaf in the third film, communicating with sign language, going to a school for deaf children, and living in a house that had been designed to be accessible for her. Her deafness is not something that limits her screen time but instead is integrated into the story constantly in a way that normalizes it as a part of the Creed family’s life. In an interview with the film/television publication, IndieWire, Jordan says, “I had the ability to really just drop them in this world and see how the ASL family is living and let the audience go for a ride.”

In the IndieWire article, “Why Michael B. Jordan Wanted ‘Creed III’ to Fully Integrate ASL Into Its Story,” Sarah Shachat, Associate Craft Editor for the publication, highlights Jordan’s choice of representing deafness improves the rest of the movie as well. “These moments of love and connection between father and daughter, shown through their hands and how they move and how they look, subtly prepare the viewer for the more fraught conversation Adonis and his former best friend Damien (Jonathan Majors) have in the ring.”

“Creed III” is a visually stunning film and is regarded as “the first-ever sports film to be shot in IMAX.” With the change in camera quality, the film is more immersive than ever. The improvement is especially clear in the fight scenes, which put the viewers right into the action. You can see the recoil of every punch, the coldness of every stare, and every drop of sweat on the fighters. The film really has a way of putting the viewers right in the ring.

The movie is not without its faults though, the most apparent one being the death of Creed’s mother. It happens pretty early on in the movie and feels sudden, but not in a heart-wrenching way, but instead in a way that makes it feel unnecessary. Considering the fact that her death played no part in Creed’s decision to come out of retirement for one final fight, her death, however, ultimately feels pointless. The storyline comes and goes, and the film just keeps moving.

But despite its flaws, “Creed III” proves itself to be a truly solid movie. With beautiful cinematography, great casting, and powerful storytelling. There was no better film for Jordan to make his directorial debut in, he brings on a new, fresh look to the series that this film really benefited from.