Adonis is close to retiring, missing only one last fight win to exit the stage in his most glorious way and then dedicate himself to his family – and protect his health from the fractures and bruises of the ring. After all, her wife, close to losing her hearing like her deaf daughter, has also left her career as a singer and now limits herself to producing the record hits of others. But when Adonis meets Damian, known as Dame, an old friend of his from the days when he lived in a group home, he realizes he has a debt to pay with him. In fact, Damian had gone to jail during a fight that he had unleashed, furthermore Adonis was not close to him during the years in prison. Damian seems to be asking for the impossible: a boxing match for the heavyweight title, but then Adonis himself had had a similar chance, so how can he say no?
Michael B. Jordan is the protagonist and director of Creed III as well, where he shows a good hand and some ideas, but they are not enough to save a film of stultifying predictability.
Creed III opens on a flashback with Adonis still a child, in a bedroom at the Creed house, decorated with images taken from the anime – well recognizable, in particular Naruto. Perhaps also for this reason, when the moment comes for the inevitable face-to-face in the ring with Dame, the scene will be tinged with metaphysical tones as if we were in a manga battle: the audience disappears in the tension between the two contenders, who no longer see not even their respective coaches. Even the bars of a prison appear in the ring, transforming the boxing match into a psychodrama that stages the need to overcome the past of both. In fact, the outcome will look more like a therapy session than a boxing match – and these days Michael B. Jordan is talking about a “Creed Universe” where implicitly we could also see Dame again.
Unfortunately this unsettling visual solution is the only thrill in a film otherwise known from the first to the last minute. It’s immediately obvious what a twist should be revealed two-thirds into the film; it is completely obvious how the three boxing matches will go; and, what is worse, the dash of the character of Dame is nothing short of Manichean. Hate-charged by eighteen years in prison he ends up proving that he has become more or less a criminal, hanging around with gun-wielding gangsters and acting like a bully as soon as he no longer needs Adonis.