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Creed III is a decent, entertaining sequel, but the scenes where the film floats like a butterfly outnumber the ones that sting like a bee.

Michael B. Jordan makes a confident debut behind the camera in Creed III, even if the movie itself doesn’t quite measure up to its two predecessors.

The set-up is intriguing: as Adonis Creed is enjoying his retirement an old friend whom he owes a debt to gets released from prison and wants a shot at the title. Equally intriguing is the casting of Jonathan Majors as the main antagonist, who is a much more ominous presence here than he was in the recent Ant-Man threequel.

Unfortunately the scenes where Creed III floats like a butterfly outnumber the ones that sting like a bee. It takes nearly a full hour before the plot picks up, and when it does, it whizzes by all the story beats so rapidly the picture feels rushed.

Furthermore Jordan, fine as usual in the lead role, shows talent as a director yet doesn’t seem fully at ease during the boxing scenes, making rookie mistakes like a heavily stylized sequence mid-way through the final bout that halts momentum and uses stale visual metaphors.

Still, if a movie in the Rocky franchise manages to entertain you without anyone ever missing the presence of Sly Stallone, that’s not bad.

release: 2023

director: Michael B. Jordan

starring: Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors, Tessa Thompson, Wood Harris


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