Creed III: Michael B. Jordan Steps Into Rocky’s Shoes with Anime-Inspired Flair
Sylvester Stallone’s iconic Rocky Balboa is absent from Creed III, the third installment in the Rocky spin-off franchise. Despite playing an integral role in the first two Creed films, Stallone chose not to appear in Creed III due to creative differences with producer Irwin Winkler and Michael B. Jordan, who is the executive producer and star of the film. Jordan also makes his directorial debut in Creed III, and it’s clear that the film is set up to establish him as the new face of the franchise.
Creed III follows Adonis “Donnie” Creed (Jordan), the once-forgotten illegitimate son of boxing great Apollo Creed, as he retires from boxing to pursue other interests, such as fashion and media, and focus on raising his family in Los Angeles. However, when an old-friend-turned-rival, Damian (Jonathan Majors), emerges from a dark past in his life, Adonis decides to come out of retirement to defend his title as the world champion.
The film examines the challenges of healing from past traumas and the trappings of fame, as well as the importance of family. It is competently made but, on those occasions when it challenges norms of the genre, it does so gently and with minimal conviction. Building upon the groundwork of the preceding Creed films and the Rocky franchise, as well as the boxing movie genre as a whole, Creed III continues the story. At times, this movie appears to take inspiration from classic films such as Raging Bull. However, it also draws from a far more evocative, abstract and visually striking source. The creative choices in Creed III appear to be highly influenced by anime, with many scenes resembling fight scenes from popular anime such as Dragon Ball Z.
Creed III is now playing in theaters. The film stars Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors, Wood Harris, Phylicia Rashad, Mila Davis-Kent, Jose Benavidez, and Florian Munteanu. With a runtime of 117 minutes, it is an entertaining extension of the Rocky films, a stylish and occasionally moving addition to the venerable boxing franchise.
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2. “How ‘Creed III' Fits Into—and Diverges From—the Rocky Franchise” TIME, 3 Mar. 2023, https://time.com/6259594/creed-3-rocky-franchise
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