News culture Creed 3: Can the Rocky saga win without Balboa (Sylvester Stallone)?
Published on 03/01/2023 at 08:15
One of the most cult and “punchy” film franchises of the 7th Art puts on the gloves for a ninth round. Creed III steps into the ring on March 1, 2023 with every intention of concluding the Adonis Creed-centric trilogy. Can the Rocky saga win without Balboa?
Adonis Creed in the ropesThe next generation of Rocky Balboa
Adonis Creed on the ropes
Creed III est an American film directed by Michael B. Jordan and written by the trio of Keenan Coogler, Zack Baylin and Ryan Coogler (Creed, Black Panther). Whoever played Erik Killmonger in Black Panther opposite Chadwick Boseman finds himself in front of AND behind the camera to conclude the Creed trilogy. He faces the main villain of the upcoming Phases V and VI of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the ring. Indeed, Jonathan Majors, aka Kang the Conqueror in the MCU, challenges the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed for revenge against a backdrop of family drama.
Adonis Creed, now retired for three years following the defense of his title of World Heavyweight Champion against “Pretty” Ricky Conlan, sees his life turned upside down by the unexpected return of a childhood friend. Recently released from prison after serving an 18-year prison sentence, “Diamond” Dame Anderson intends to take revenge on life and reclaim what he considers to be his, starting with the title of best boxer in the world. The heir of Creed and Balboa is pushed back into the ropes and will have to react on pain of losing everything.
The next generation of Rocky Balboa
The Rocky saga is intrinsically linked to its main character Rocky Balboa, and therefore by extension to Sylvester Stallone who is its screenwriter, director and main performer. Since the first Creed, the American actor has taken a step back, “content” with playing the role that made him famous and advising the creative teams. Mentor of Michael B. Jordan in Creed (2015), then support in Creed II (2018), Rocky Balboa hangs up the gloves in Creed III (2023). The Italian Stallion is simply absent from the film. Only a mention made to the Outsider – a nod to the first Rocky from 1976 – and the notes of the emblematic theme of the saga recall the family link that binds the Creed and Balboa series.
On paper, Creed III seems to want to emancipate itself and come out of the shadow of the most iconic boxer in cinema. And the presence of Michael B. Jordan behind the camera definitively confirms the transfer of power that has taken place since 2015. Nevertheless, Creed 3 remains a “Rocky” film. The writers draw from the various episodes of the franchise in order to develop an original plot that simultaneously manages to surprise and strike the nostalgic chord. The feature film even strikes two-three narrative uppercuts while pampering moviegoers with expected sequences (editing training, etc.), but not only.
Creed reinvented boxing on the big screen in 2015 by drawing inspiration from the modern camera angles offered by television and by filming the muscular exchanges between the fighters up close. The documentary dimension of the film thus helped to make the confrontations realistic. If Creed II took this bias even further, Creed III gets creative and creates its own cinematic grammar. The ring is transformed from moment to moment into pure visual allegory which illustrates first degree the conflicts which animate Adonis Creed and Damian Anderson. Michael B. Jordan pays in 2023 a vibrant tribute to the Rocky saga without remaining chained to it, drawing inspiration in particular from the Japanese anime Hajime no Ippo of which he is a fervent disciple. The risk was taken. The victory by KO is all the more beautiful.
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