Silver and Small: What's New on the Screen?

Silver and Small: What's New on the Screen? 





Sports movies have been done before. We’ve seen the athlete who learned that winning isn’t everything. We’ve seen the team lose the big game, then go on to win the bigger game. We’ve even seen movies about coaches, rather than players themselves, equipment managers, families touched by sports, and even dogs who play sports, but we have never seen a film like Creed III.
Boxing is a simple sport at its core. Obviously there are wrinkles to it, the same as any sport. Football seems simple at its surface, but even a casual fan can observe the intricacy of 11 separate battles being waged in five second increments for two hours straight. Boxing, on the other hand, can be filmed and told simply in a story. The original Rocky films were, although iconic, largely simple, and easy to follow and enjoy. The Creed franchise is hardly inaccessible, but it takes a more complex overtone, choosing to reflect the uncertainty and strife of the time.
Creed III can be read as a post-western, which is to say that the protagonist, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), has stepped out of his role as the hero and gunslinger, and chosen a life free of the trials and tribulations he faced as a younger man. When the inevitable dark-horse riding antagonist, Damian Anderson (Jonathan Majors), begins his boxing career, unlike Creed, he fights to kill. Anderson needs to win because his life depends on the belt, because without it, he’s only a criminal. That lust and hate turns him into exactly the character Adonis has spent his entire arc trying to outrun, and facing his old friend in the ring is exactly the poetry that makes Michael B. Jordan such a phenomenal actor (and, for the first time, director).
In Creed, Adonis faces up to the potential and destiny within him, taking his father Apollo’s name and legacy, bursting onto the scene as an elite championship contender. Creed II saw the fight of Adonis to preserve his father’s legacy, along with Rocky Balboa’s as he fights the son of the infamous Ivan Drago, Viktor. After facing the weight of his father’s legacy, Adonis must, in the finale to a near-perfect trilogy, fight to become the man he’s spent so many years trying to hide from. In the only possible metaphor for the shift, Adonis stops boxing, and starts fighting.
Rocky Balboa is hardly mentioned in Creed III. Sylvester Stallone’s lack of say and influence in the film reflects the fact that the franchise has a soul of its own, and is no longer only the brainchild of the 20-something Italian who once sold his own dog in order to star in his own movie. In Jordan’s directorial debut, Creed III hits harder than any movie you’ve seen this year. It’s the best underdog story since The Blind Side, the best look at black culture and family dynamics since Remember the Titans or Glory Road, and the most triumphant sports film since Rocky itself.
Don’t run to the theaters, drive ­ – ideally the speed limit, but sometimes art simply cannot wait. Creed III is worth every minute of your time, and is easily the film of the year so far.
Lars Andersen grew up in Stockholm. He attended Milbank schools and was an active member of the forensics teams. He now attends the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), where he writes for the college newspaper and hosts a radio show. 


Grant County Review

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