Creed III Reviews Are Here, See What Critics Are Saying About Michael B. Jordan’s Directorial Debut

Michael B. Jordan in Creed III
(Image credit: MGM)

The highly anticipated Creed III is set to hit theaters on March 4, with a bulked-up Michael B. Jordan doing some heavy lifting in his third go-round as Adonis Creed. The star is also making his directorial debut with the threequel, and while he has said this was the right project for such an endeavor, he also called making this move the “hardest thing” he’s ever done. The reviews are in, so how do critics think Jordan’s efforts paid off for the beloved Rocky franchise? 

Speaking of Rocky, for Creed's third installment, Michael B. Jordan’s character will not have Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa in his corner when he faces off against childhood friend Damian Anderson. Jonathan Majors makes another appearance on the big screen this year (following the box office-winning Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania), and yes, Majors did compare getting punched by Paul Rudd to taking hits from Jordan. So let’s get to the reviews and let the critics help us decide if we’ll be headed to the theater for Creed III

Leah Greenblatt of EW grades the movie a B, saying the movie is a strong return to the longtime franchise but not a total knockout. Michael B. Jordan may have bit off more than he could chew in his dual role as actor/director, the critic says:

That may be, to abuse a sporty metaphor, a few too many balls for one man to keep in the air, and Creed III suffers from a certain lack of heft and specificity in its storytelling structure, a sense that the original bare-knuckle magic is not all there. But it's also often better than the blunt-force melodrama of the last film.

Charles Pulliam-Moore of The Verge notes that Creed III allows Adonis to step out of his mentor’s shadow in a fight to secure his legacy, and Jonathan Majors is a great addition to the franchise. The critic says: 

Majors’ Damian — a gifted brawler with a penchant for fighting dirty — is a classic Rocky antagonist whose talents and charm are as undeniable as his sudden appearance is suspicious. But rather than simply fixating on what a physically intimidating presence he can be as the old friends become opponents in the present day, Creed III frames the pair as two sides of the same coin, and Majors meets Jordan’s energy with a simmering intensity.

Siddhant Adlakha of Polygon also praises Jonathan Majors’ contribution in a film that has a few narrative bumps in the road. In the end, the review argues, the emotions hold it all together. Of Damian Anderson, the critic says: 

As Adonis’ new antagonist, his quiet scheming — leading to an inevitable Top 10 Anime Betrayal — bears the operatic hallmarks of a mustache-twirling baddie, and his frequent in-ring outbursts when training with Adonis’ proteges are born from a simmering rage. And yet he creates one of the Rocky series’ most compelling and nuanced characters through the way he carries himself, with his ‘don’t fuck with me’ physique and his shoulders hunched from decades of isolation. His eyes are weary, but his gaze is unwavering, seldom straying from his path up the ladder of the boxing world, where he sees Adonis at the top.

Clint Gage of IGN rates Creed III a “Great” 8 out of 10, saying that while this movie keeps in the formulaic approach of previous movies in the franchise, it’s exciting to see Adonis Creed begin a legacy of his own, apart from Rocky Balboa. The review continues: 

Creed III is a confident directorial debut from star Michael B. Jordan that shows he’s already achieved a mastery of the formula that’s brought the series so much success. An engrossing new visual dynamic to the fight scenes and a fantastic antagonist in Jonathan Majors’ Dame Anderson elevate it in the legacy of a franchise that’s no stranger to middling sequels.

Kate Erbland of IndieWire grades the movie a B-, saying the film is at its strongest in the fantastic training montages, the heart-stopping final match, and “enough thrown punches to make the audience feel them.” The script, however, keeps it from making a full impact. The critic continues: 

While the basic idea that fuels the central battle of the film is thrilling enough — who would want to go up against Jonathan Majors, let alone a Jonathan Majors driven by righteous anger? — an overcooked script from Keenan Coogler and Zach Baylin, full of other diversions and potential disasters, keeps Creed III from landing every punch it throws. Overall, though, it does prove victorious: Jordan clearly has directorial skill (it’s his bigger swings that are most energizing), and he and Majors make for a formidable onscreen duo.

Where will this installment fall in the rankings of all of the Rocky and Creed movies? With Creed IV already on the way, fans of the franchise won’t want to fall behind, so if this sounds like a movie you want to check out, you can do so starting Friday, March 3. Also be sure to take a peek at our 2023 Movie Release Schedule to see what other films are headed to theaters soon. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.