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Review: 'Creed III' Puts Male Toxicity in Center Focus

This review contains spoilers.

The Adonis Creed story of Rocky has always been my favorite. I've watched the majority of the franchise but since I'm not a big boxing fan, the storyline and acting are what entice me. The story told in Creed is relatable and has grabbed my attention since its solo debut in 2015. But the franchise as a whole includes eight movies, do we really need another one?

The answer is yes.

The plot of the franchise remains the same; a fighter wants to be the best and has to fight a worthy adversary to gain that title. But Creed III was able to keep the storyline interesting and the characters fresh.

Creed III starts out with a flashback of Donnie's (Michael B. Jordan) childhood and his friendship with Dame Anderson (Jonathan Majors). Turns out Dame is a young boxing prodigy and Donnie is his lackey, and they have more of a young brother-big brother relationship. Donnie ends up going to prison and 18 years later he wants what Donnie has. Throughout the film, we discover more about the dynamic of their friendship as we jump back and forth between the past and present.

The guilt that Donnie carries for Dame is relatable and many people, especially Black men, have struggled with it after achieving success. It begs the question, once you "make it," are you obligated to help the ones who directly or indirectly helped you along the way? If you make the decision to go back to your hood and help, you run the risk of being taken advantage of or being put in harm's way. But if you choose not to look back, then you are a sell-out and forgot where you came from. In the film, we see how Donnie navigates this familiar space.

The film projects a loving and realistic family dynamic between Donnie, his wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson), and his daughter Amaya (Mila Davis Kent), who is deaf. Seeing the family sign throughout the entire movie is what representation looks like onscreen.

We also see Donnie deal with his emotions and the traumas of his past, which is the main issue between him and Bianca. Jordan was intentional in providing an example for men on navigating their emotions. "The idea of masculinity and toxic masculinity. And what does that look like between two guys and generationally always being taught that you can’t talk about your feelings and talk about your past. It makes you weak or less than a man. … That’s not the case. In fact, it makes you stronger to be able to talk about those things,” Jordan shares when he was a guest on The View earlier this week.

With each Creed, we see more of Jordan's brilliance and talent. Not only does the Fruitville Station actor flex his acting chops, we see how talented he is behind the camera as he makes his directorial debut with the ninth installment of the Rocky franchise. He chose the right decision in making the film in IMAX. With every fight, you feel like you are in the ring with the boxers, seeing every wrinkle and feeling every punch.

The entire cast held up their end of the bargain and delivered. Creed III comes out on March 3 in theaters and is a must-see in IMAX.


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