I enjoyed the first two Creed films, mainly because it felt like another continuation of the Rocky series, which I am a big fan of. It was a way to move the story forward while at the same time bringing it into something new.
Creed 2 I saw almost like a final and perfect send off for the Rocky character. So, I’m not exactly upset Rocky isn’t in this new one, or even really mentioned.
Since this is the third Creed film, I guess I’ll recap what happened in the third Rocky film. I know that doesn’t really make sense, but it kind of does when you look at where the Rocky films were with their stakes when it came to its own sequels.
Rocky 3 if you remember had Rocky going up against Mr. T, aka Clubber Lang. Clubber Lang was a fantastic antagonist. He was arrogant and mean and beat the shit out of Rocky, which is what you want to see in a boxing sequel.
You need to see your hero, in that case Rocky, take a fall so he can climb back up again. Classic rooting for the comeback moment these films have perfected.
I feel that is what this Creed sequel is desperately lacking. Creed never really takes a fall in this, and not once did you ever think he would.
There really aren’t any stakes in this, which sucks because this film had kind of a perfect setup for one.
So, let’s get into the plot of Creed 3 and we’ll swing back around to whatever my point was I was trying to make.
We get a bit of a flashback to when Creed was just a teen, sneaking out at night to hang with Dame, his best friend since growing up together in a group home.
Dame is a bit older but has a pretty promising boxing career in front of him, almost becoming the best undefeated amateur boxer around.
Creed kind of acts as his bag man, helping him out to get ready for his fights, even taking bets to earn some cash on the side.
One night after a big win, the two stop by this convenience store to grab something quick to eat. That’s when Creed bumps into a familiar face from the past, some guy named Leon.
He does explain who he is later, but they hold off telling us like it’s super important or something, when really, I guess he was just a guy that worked at the group home that would hit them sometimes.
The way they hold back info on the guy, makes you think something more disgusting was going on, but no. He was just a drunk that would show them the back of his hand sometimes.
Now confronting him, Creed beats the living hell out of this guy in a blind fit of rage, provoking the guy’s friends to intervene, and start beating on Creed.
That’s when Dame steps in and breaks it up by pointing a gun at them. Unfortunately, that’s just when the police arrive, arresting Dame.
So great setup, I think. You can kind of piece together what will happen next. Old friend gets out of prison, chip on his shoulder about seeing Creed live what should be his dream life. Then getting revenge to take everything from him.
We only get half of that, and not even really that much of it.
After that little flashback scene, we see Creed as he’s about to fight his last championship fight as he plans to retire after this and focus on his family.
This is the first time Michael B. Jordan has directed anything, which I must confess had me a tiny bit worried. But I have to give him props, he did a really fantastic job. He does some really interesting stuff towards the end, even giving Creed this kind of slow-mo, Fallout 3 VATS kind of thing. I really don’t know what to call it. He can pinpoint a weakness on someone he’s fighting and attack it like in Fallout. It’s a fun addition that really works.
We now flash forward a few years, Creed is mostly a stay-at-home father to his deaf daughter Amara. He also runs a gym that is hoping will usher in a new face of boxing by setting up a fight between
world champion fighter Felix Chavez and Drago.
He’s basically Don King, minus the hair, a joke the film uses but I thought I’d steal.
Creed’s wife Bianca no longer performs her music and is a producer, watching as others sing her songs. On a random note, I just found out that Boney M., you know the disco funk 70’s group that did those Rasputin and Daddy Cool songs weren’t a real band.
They were just a show group, with the male lead singer with the deep voice being some white dude producer.
So anyway, Creed’s wife is basically that now.
Creed’s adoptive mother is also dealing with some heart issues, as she suffered a stroke a bit ago. This actually kind of parallels the third Rocky film, as that was the film Rocky’s manager and brother-in-law Mickey has a stroke and dies.
I think the heart attack was directly caused by Lang, too. It’s been a while since I’ve seen that film, so my memory is a tiny bit hazy on it.
But it’s a good motivation for Rocky to fight Clubber Lang again. In Creed 3, the same thing kind of happens, as Creed has a massive fight with his mother over Dame and later dies because of a stroke.
Okay, why didn’t she have a pacemaker put in? Do you realize how effective pacemakers are? People with pacemakers on their death bed literally need them removed because it will just keep starting their hearts over and over again when they don’t want it to. Brain is dead but the heart keeps pumping.
The big fight between Felix and Drago is on the way with only a few details left to hash out. That’s when Dame shows up at the gym, fresh out of prison.
He thought he’d stop and see his old pal Creed, who acts like he just saw a ghost. These two were pretty tight, but Creed acts like death just showed up at his doorstep.
That is one issue I had; I never really got the sense that these two were ever friends. Especially now many years later.
The scenes they do have together however are really damn good and I wished we got more of that, just these two sitting down and talking, hashing things out.
That’s kind of the whole cusp of the story, one feeling slighted, like something was taken from him, left abandoned. While the other is running from his past, trying to put everything behind him and just never confronting it ever.
And for some reason, the film thinks all this can be solved if by the end these two fight. It’s a very sports boxing movie cliché that feels slightly dated at this point. I’ll let our fists do the talking! Which is basically a line in the film.
So, fight, or I don’t know, you guys could just have lunch and talk about shit.
Of course, that wouldn’t make for a very entertaining movie if everything was resolved over a steak and burger.
Dame wants to pick up where he left off before he got sent to prison, to become the world champion. Creed takes pity on him and tells him to swing by the gym, he’ll let him spar a bit with Felix to help him get ready for that fight with Drago.
Dame isn’t looking to be some punching bag, but he’ll do it as it at least gets him in the ring.
Creed invites Dame over for dinner with the family, sees the life of luxury he has and what was taken from him, as this was his dream up until his arrest.
Dame stresses how much he wants a shot at the title, something Creed can’t offer him.
Later at a party, we see Drago get his hand broken in a fight, taking him out of the upcoming fight with Felix.
Now is the time Dame has been waiting for, getting Creed to give him a shot at the title by boxing Felix. This I think is the only time Rocky is ever brought up, recalling how Creed’s own dad gave Rocky, a nobody upstart a shot, so why can’t his son?
The fight is on, Felix versus Dame, who plays dirty, focuses on weaknesses that he can take advantage of.
I’m no boxing expert, but can we talk about size?
Is Felix meant to be a heavy weight champion? Light weight maybe, but heavy weight? I know boxing these days has become nothing but a meme, something YouTubers do for views, but real boxers, the professionals dwarf all these guys, Creed included.
Everyone is barely 6 feet while real boxers nowadays are like 7 feet tall or close to it. God knows how much they weigh.
It was just something I noticed during the fight sequences, how these short guys were meant to be heavy weights, when really, they aren’t. Middleweight at best.
Nitpicking aside, this was a really fun fight. You know instantly things aren’t going to go well for Felix. He comes out all cocky, with this big theatrical performance and his giant entourage.
Man, you’re so about to get the shit kicked out of you. And he does, Dame sneaking in a few dirty moves as well with an elbow check to the cheek, opening up a cut on his face.
Felix gets KO’d hard, needing to be rushed out of the ring in a stretcher.
Upset about how the night went, Creed reads through some old letters Dame wrote him while in prison. Included in one of those letters a picture, featuring the guy who broke Drago’s hand.
The whole thing was setup to get Drago out of the way so Dame could fight Felix. Creed rushes to confront Dame at a beach party, only to get a gun pulled on him and given a black eye.
Dame takes a heel turn, showing his true colors. I like this but more needed to happen. Maybe set Creed up to send him to prison, maybe have his prison pals come after Creed and his family.
Burn his gym down! I want to see more at stake here. It’s the third film, let’s amp it up a bit, guys.
I think the worst Dame ever does is supposedly talks behind Creed’s back. Wow, he talked bad about him behind his back, how dare he! We don’t even see that; we just hear about it in some throw away dialogue.
We need to see Dame rise as Creed falls, so we get that important climb back. Here, Creed goes on some sports talk show to… do what exactly? We never really find out because Dame calls into the show and taunts Creed to challenge him to a fight for his title.
That’s pretty lame, honestly. I wanted more of a confrontation. Before this, the two were chummy, getting back into the groove of things again before the big reveal of what Dame was planning. Creed needed to be more hurt by this, but again Creed’s whole thing is running from the past.
He even literally ran away back then, leaving Dame holding all the blame. I get it, time to stop running and face your past. But it just feels so lackluster.
So of course, Creed accepts the challenge to fight him, and we get a small montage. That’s another thing, the lack of training montages. That is the staple of any Rocky movie, hell, any sports movie, the extended and usually unorthodox way they trained to get ready for their match.
The best one was in Rocky 4 where Drago is using this high-tech state of the art training routine, while Rocky is just in the snowy mountains lifting tree logs.
In Creed 3, we get Dame punching through a bunch of sparring partners, while Creed gets the shit beat out of him by Drago. Who by the way looks like what a heavyweight boxer should look like.
Creed does pull a plane at one point, so that was cool.
Something else they do that was cool is how during their match, they cut to seeing their inner turmoil, as we leave the audience watching the fight, so the ring is just Dame and Creed, picturing his time in prison, the thing holding Dame back. And the group home, the thing Creed has been running from. All depicted in the ring. It was different and symbolically worked to show their inner struggles to the audience that wasn’t just another flashback sequence.
When we come out of their solo fight sequence, we see that it is now the end of the 11th round. Which was a bit confusing as when they entered this sequence, we were at round 1.
So, I guess it also acted as a way to pass time, since we don’t want to see them go at it for 11 whole rounds.
It does end pretty much how you think it will, with Creed winning in the end, of course he would. Again, there’s no real doubt that he wouldn’t. He didn’t even really seem to struggle too much in the fight either. The real fight was the one inside each of them, the writers thought as they all patted each other on the back.
Creed 3 is good, it’s well shot, it’s well written and well acting. The fight sequences are also fantastic and well executed.
I could tell this one was going to do well at the box office because there was like 15 people in the theater compared to Knock at the Cabin’s one. If they do plan on making more sequels, which at this point, why wouldn’t they, I want to see more at stake, more for Creed to lose if things don’t go his way.
There was this fantastic series on FX a few years back called Lights Out, in it an aging boxer is suffering from some memory loss mainly due to too many blows to the cranium.
The whole season comes down to doing one last fight, but he knows if he does it could seriously mess with his brain, but he wants it too badly, as what is a boxer who can’t box?
So, he does his fight, at the risk of losing his family and his mind. He wins the fight against all odds but in the end, he suffered serious memory loss. And that’s how the series ended as it only lasted one season. But honestly, I still think it’s the most perfect ending to a series aside from Breaking Bad.
I’m not saying Creed needs to lose his memories, but let’s raise the stakes!
I give Creed 3 a SEE IT rating.
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