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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
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Criticism: ‘Creed 3’

Actor+Michael+B.+Jordan+attending+a+panel+at+the+San+Diego+2017+Comic+Con.
Photo by by Flickr

Actor Michael B. Jordan attending a panel at the San Diego 2017 Comic Con.

Rating: 6/10

The third installment in the Creed franchise is the simple retelling of a story we’ve heard before, again starring Michael B. Jordan as the titular Adonis Creed, but Jordan also sits in the director’s chair for the first time. In his exciting directorial debut, the fights are stylish and the storytelling is earnest, but the powerhouse performance from Jonathan Majors as the sympathetic antagonist is the overwhelming highlight. 

Majors has had quite a year, starring as the villain in “Creed 3” and in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” He also received stellar reviews from the Sundance film “Magazine Dreams,” in which Majors stars as a bodybuilder drowning in his ego and celebrity. Displaying his emotional intelligence and nuance over the past few years, he’s clearly grown into a uniquely captivating screen presence.

In “Creed,” he showcases all those captivating qualities. First off, he’s physically enormous. His sculpted physique is an incredible quality on its own, but Majors adds such a significant physicality to the role, puffing and readying his fists like a bull about to charge. He’s terrifying in and out of the ring. In conversation, he’s surprisingly quiet. He’s charming, introverted and ambitious. An empty smile can transform a simple villain into a complex victim, and Majors works in so many shades of smiles. 

I can’t stress enough how essential he was to the success of the film, because when he’s not on screen, the script leaves a lot to be desired. Even with its heartfelt storytelling, there isn’t the wit or charm of “Top Gun: Maverick” that elevates that film to crowd-pleasing highs, and the emotional side of the film isn’t ambitious enough to reach a real gravitas. The conflict kept me interested but never affected.

As a protagonist, Jordan didn’t do so much for me. He has charisma, but his emotional stakes and arc don’t match his rival’s. The interactions with his family don’t flesh themselves out enough to have drawn me in, including a pretty generic depiction of masculinity and rage. In the boxing movie arena of “Raging Bull” and “Rocky,” I wanted more from “Creed”. That being said, the training montage is actually really enjoyable.

Beyond that conventionality, the script tries but struggles to pace the plot. The first half sets up the stakes in a rather tedious fashion but manages to work because of the occasional fight scene. As a director, Jordan has shared his love for anime and commits to filming each fight boldly, consistently finding a clever visual cue for his audience to join in on the action. He’ll show us the weak spot before a big blow or stylize the edit for effect rather than realism. Despite a PG-13 rating and relatively little blood, the energy behind the camera is violent. 

“Creed 3” highlights an exciting new director behind an unexciting script. I’m looking forward to what Jordan does next. I’m anticipating what Majors does next even more impatiently. If for no other reason, watch the film for him. Despite its flaws, there’s a passion and a commitment to this kind of blockbuster that I’m happy to see. I’ll always take this compared to the quippy and expendable.

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