Creed III A Review and Retrospective On The Rocky Franchise

“If he dies, he dies.” These  words uttered by Ivan Drago who was portrayed by Dolph Lundgren are burned into the minds of many adults and kids all over the world. The Rocky franchise is classic for not only adults but for all Americans. Rocky is an impersonation of the American Dream, a poor immigrant who can come up from nothing and achieve fame, fortune, and build a life in this country. And several weeks ago the sequel and spin off from Rocky , Creed III was released in theaters to not only widespread critical acclaim but also the largest domestic box office debut for a sports movie ever.

The Rocky franchise focuses on Italian immigrant Rocky in his rise to boxing fame and also focuses on boxer Apollo Creed, a Black man who rose to the top of the boxing world. At first they are adversaries until Rocky III where Apollo helps Rocky train to defeat heavy weight champ Clubber Lang. The Creed movies follow Apollo’s  son Adonis after Apollo is killed by soviet boxer Ivan Drago. Adonis in Creed  enters the boxing world, and in Creed II he has to face the music and fight Ivan Drago and his son Viktor Drago. And in this movie, Creed III, Adonis has to face his old friend Damian who went to prison and is now back to take what’s his as before Adonis was 3x heavyweight champ, he was glove boy for Damian.

Creed III has a huge tonal shift from the first two movies. In this movie, Adonis learns to deal with his feelings of guilt towards Damian, his feelings of inadequacy, and grappling with  and changing his perception of healthy masculinity.

The changing of Creed’s view of masculinity from a toxic to a healthy point of view is especially prominent as at the beginning of Creed III Adonis’s only outlet for his anger and feelings is boxing, and he refuses to talk to his wife Bianca.  Over the course of the movie, he changes this perception. Guilt is also prominent as when Adonis and Damian were kids, they had it tough, and Damian went to prison for a fight that Adonis started but ran from.

With the ending of the film seemingly closing out Adonis’s character arc, it’s  unclear what direction the Rocky franchise will take from here. it has been confirmed by MGM and Irwin Winkler that a spin-off series focusing on Ivan Drago and his son Viktor Drago before and after the events of Creed II. There are also  other directions they could go as well, with Rocky being completely absent due to beef between Irwin Wrinkler and Sylvester Stallone. A series could be developed showing him training other fighters than Adonis. The final direction the Rocky franchise could take is making a series focusing on Adonis’s daughter Amaya and her journey into fighting.

Now for the rating: I thought Creed III was a great movie; it has a great balance between actual fight scenes and character development. Michael B Jordan and Johnathon Majors both deliver incredible performances, and in this movie just like all the other Creed films Michael B Jordan filmed all his stunts himself. I’d recommend this film to anyone asking for a recommendation and give it an 8/10.

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