Creed III Plot Summary
From the opening flashback to Los Angeles in 2002, it’s immediately clear that this is a gritty and different direction for the franchise. Directed by Michael B. Jordan, the film depicts a bitter and intensely personal feud between Adonis Creed and his childhood friend Damian Anderson.
Adonis has retired from professional boxing, having hung up his gloves and is struggling to find his place in a post-boxing world. He’s putting all his weight behind raising the next crop of superstars, including current champ Felix Chavez. Drago is still kicking about too and Donnie is serving as promoter for the “fight of the year” between the two.
When Damian Anderson returns to the scene, Adonis finds his world turned upside down as he has to reckon with the past while simultaneously looking to the future. This inevitably turns ugly when the truth about Dame and Adonis’ past is unveiled and the tension spills over both inside and outside the ring.
What happens to Drago? Why is the big fight changed?
At Bianca’s Label party, Dame is hovering in the periphery, stirring the pot by speaking to Bianca about being overshadowed. This is something Bianca knows all too well, given she had to take a backseat from singing due to her voice.
Adonis works the room and greets both Drago and Felix warmly. He’s promoting the big fight between the two in a month’s time and all seems well. However, a crazed fan suddenly shows up and attacks Drago, causing him to hurt his hand and forfeit the fight. The bout is postponed by six months but Felix is not happy with that outcome, thinking of the lucrative payday and wanting to box.
Adonis sees this as a way of fate working in his favour (rather than Dame orchestrating this attack, more on that in a bit) and decides to set up a bout similar to Rocky challenging Apollo Creed in the first film. Adonis puts his support behind Dame, the plucky underdog, and the fight is scheduled.
What happens during the Felix VS Anderson bout?
Dame Anderson and Felix Chavez take to the ring but there’s immediately bad blood between the two. After a heated sparring session at the gym earlier on, Dame wastes no time using as many under-handed tactics as possible and going on the offensive.
He uses his elbow to bust open Felix’s cheek (which docks him two points) and blocks the ref while hitting cheap punches. The fight is a nasty, vicious affair and eventually Dame Anderson knocks out Felix. It’s a hollow victory though, as Adonis watches his former friend in disgust flaunting with the titles.
Adonis speaks to Mary-Anne after the bout (who texts him to come over) and there he learns the truth about his former friend.
Dame did used to write to Adonis while behind bars but Mary-Anne kept these away from Adonis as a way of shielding him and helping Adonis “move on” with his life. Among those possessions happens to be a picture of Dame behind bars, shaking hands with the man who attacked Drago at the Label party.
Adonis realizes that Dame has been using him all this time to leapfrog to success. He’s not happy with Mary-Anne for keeping this from him, and the pair end up in a verbal fight together. It eventually ends with Adonis confronting his old friend on the beach, who’s living it up and flaunting his title win. Dame is a bad winner, calling Adonis “baby Creed”, punching him in the face and claiming that Adonis is all alone now. Adonis soon walks away, unwilling to confront his friend as he taunts the former champ, telling him he’s always running away.
What happened between Dame and Adonis in the past?
Damian and Adonis were inseparable as kids. Adonis looked up to Dame and during the opening flashback we see the pair attending a boxing match together late at night. Dame hits a first round knock-out against his opponent, solidifying his position as one of the best amateur fighters in the area.
Dame is destined for big things but he ends up arrested that very same night. Prior to the fight, Adonis spied a gun in Dame’s bag but kept quiet about it. While at the store getting some food, Adonis passes Leon, a man from his past. Adonis snaps and beats the guy to the ground. As things grow heated, Dame appears and brandishes his gun, just as the cops arrive.
Adonis fled the scene and got away but Dame was not so lucky and remained caught by the cops. Dame ended up arrested (because of having a previous rap sheet) and did time. Dame saw Adonis’ fame from behind bars and a part of him believed that Adonis was living the life destined for him. Dame blames Adonis for what happened and how he was abandoned and decided to use his old friend to leapfrog to success, paying off that inmate to sabotage the big fight in the hopes that Adonis would place him in that position. It’s a gamble but one that ultimately pays off for him.
But what of Leon? Well, it turns out Leon was an abusive man operating the home Adonis and Dame stayed at as children, which explains why both boys feel like they have a bone to pick with the world.
What happens to Mary-Anne?
Early on in the movie, Adonis and Bianca express their concerns over Mary-Anne’s health. Following a stroke, they’re worried about her wellbeing and suggest she come and stay with them. Mary-Anne waves away those concerns and even jokingly retorts that she’ll have a stroke the following day after drinking some wine.
Later on in the film, their worst fears are known and Mary-Anne passes away after suffering from multiple organ failure. Just before she passes, she has a quiet, reflective word with Adonis, whom she believes is Apollo Creed. She points out that Adonis saved her and that she forgives him (Apollo) for leaving.
Afterwards, Adonis finally plucks up the courage to speak to Bianca about his past, something he’d been avoiding for the entire film.
Does Adonis regain the championship?
The final fight gets underway and both Dame Anderson and Adonis Creed square off. The first round sees the pair feel their way into the fight, trash talking in between blows and sizing each other up with little jabs.
Eventually the fight goes to Round 12 and Adonis takes a nasty shot to the gut. We’ve seen this before in the Drago fight, and the devastating impact it can have on a fighter, but this time Adonis digs deep and manages to rise up to his feet before the 10 count.
As the fight continues, Adonis Creed manages to hit the killer blow and knocks Dame out cold. Damian Anderson hits the ground with a sickening thud and is completely knocked out cold; Adonis wins the championship!
Do Dame and Adonis make up?
After the fight, Adonis hobbles over to Damian’s locker room and sits down with him (in a stunning white American flag jacket I may add). The pair discuss the past and make peace with what’s happened. Adonis is sorry for what happened between them, while he also tells Dame that what happened “isn’t on him”, referencing the abuse they sustained as kids.
Adonis and Dame do make up and part ways, but before they do Adonis promises that his old friend should get in touch if he needs anything.
Will Amara take up the gloves and fight?
One of the more interesting subplots here has shades of Million Dollar Baby (hopefully not the same outcome though!) and sees Amara become more and more interested in her father’s boxing.
At school, a kid begins bullying her, ripping up a picture she’s drawn of her standing victorious over her father, who’s knocked out in the ring. As a result, Amara smacks the girl square in the nose. Bianca tries to act civilized to the teacher about the whole affair but Adonis is more incredulous that they’re getting lectured rather than the bully.
Amara has watched all of Adonis’ fights and before the big bout at the end of the film, Adonis decides to instill some of his wisdom to his daughter, showing her how to punch and the skills necessary to excel in the ring. As she hits a punching bag, this feels like a lovely nod to Creed II where Adonis smacked a punching bag in frustration following his loss, with baby Amara watching on from her baby carrier.
By the end of the film, Bianca seems to have made peace with their daughter becoming interested in boxing, with Adonis staging a pretend fight between the two in the ring, with Amara coming away with the heavyweight championship of the world.
The Symbolism of Reflection
The more savvy watchers may have noticed a recurring motif in this film of mirrors and reflections. Throughout the movie these are used whenever Adonis is having an internal conflict or a moment of reflection (no pun intended) and it’s worth exploring the symbolic effect this has on the film as a whole.
Symbolically, mirrors tends to reflect the threshold between the conscious and unconscious mind. A lot of this movie focuses on Adonis’ internal confliction over how he feels about Dame, and this is a lovely nod t0ward showing how he’s attempting to reckon with his past.
Similarly, before Dame’s first fight with Felix, the camera pans to Adonis and Dame both facing one another on either side of a wall, sticking out as a black line between them. This is a nice way of illustrating the “wall” built up between them as neither is willing to confront their past and speak their truth.
By the end of the film, Adonis is no longer looking in mirrors and staring at reflections. That metaphorical “wall” has broken down between him and Damian, and he’s ready to face his old friend head on. It’s a small inclusion but one that adds a bit more thematic weight to what’s happening.
Read More: Creed III Movie Review