Dramatics suffer in favor of action and style in Michael B. Jordan’s stylish directorial debut, Creed III, which is basically a pay-per-view title match with the best (and longest) narrative pre-show ever conceived. But make no mistake: you’re here for the match, not the backstory-loaded pre-show.
It’s been long decided that boxing is the most cinematic sport: the prerequisite lighting from above and darker backdrop carries natural climatic weight, the one-on-one match-ups allow for closer camera proximity, the dancing referee adds an uneasy sense of danger, the small controlled rings create an environment practically meant to be manipulated through expert action choreography. Put all together, especially when handled by the likes of cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau (Thor: The Dark World, which I actually find to be well composed; Chef; and Creed II) and ambitious directorial newcomer Jordan. Creed III is the first film in the history of the sports genre shot with IMAX cameras—and every second of the IMAX finale is felt. Boxing might be the most cinematic sport, and this might be the best boxing has ever looked.
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