Creed III is already teeing itself up as a strong contender for feature film of the year. The Michael B. Jordan-led epic sees the actor in the titular role as Adonis “Donnie” Creed, the son of Rocky Balboa’s late best friend Apollo. The first two installments in the boxing saga saw Donnie lean on his mentor Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) as he found his feet both in boxing and in life. However, there is an undeniable shift in tone for Creed III with the film set to pick up with Donnie at the height of his career and officially a family man. This, of course, all gets thrown into disarray when his childhood best friend and (un)biological brother Damian Andersen (Jonathan Majors) is released from prison and fuelled by a burning desire to take a piece of the life Donnie has built for himself. Ahead of what is set to be a truly personal showdown, Warner Bros. has unveiled a fresh look at their rivalry in a brand new poster.
Adopting the same grit and intensity that has been consistent in all of the snippets from Creed III, the image captures Donnie and Damian taking their problems to the ring. In a fiery display of broken brotherhood, Donnie is seen squaring off with Damian with a puffed chest and posture that oozes this-is-more-than-reputation. Meanwhile, Damian stands tall in his own right making confident eye contact with his friend-turned-foe leaning into the idea that he very much has something to prove.
It’s impossible to ignore the decision to have Donnie stood in the right corner whilst Damian stands in the left. This feels like a subtle nod to the idea that Donnie is fighting the “just” cause whilst his opponent is driven by “bad” feelings, namely vengeance and jealousy. This has been a consistent theme in previous promotional material which showed Donnie in white and Damian in black. The small but visible space between the pair appears to toy with the idea that the line between love and hate is very fine and given that these two men once considered each other family, this feels particularly apt. In perfect consistency with the themes of pain and pride present, the tagline reads: “You can’t run from your past.”
Although audiences have already gotten to know Donnie well over the past two films, this movie is set to tap into unchartered territory as there are still ample viewers don’t know about his younger years and the long-lasting impact his youth had on him. Evidently, Damian was a core component of this. The antagonist is set to bring a powerful and unique perspective to the film with Majors pulling on his personal experiences of juvenile detention, school suspension and expulsions to elevate the character. “…My big connection to it was the fact that the man who raised me was an ex-con, as gross as the word is,” Majors said in an interview with Total Film. “He had been incarcerated for 15 years before we found each other. I believe that his sole purpose in my life was to get me to adulthood. My mother and him parted ways, but he still remained… I mean, he’s my stepfather. To this day, I see him as my stepdad, you know? So I understood, secondhand, the incarcerated mind. I witnessed it, what that development is.”
With loyalty, broken ties, betrayal and pain all at the heart of the film, it looks like Creed III is going to pack quite the punch when it hits theaters on March 3. You can check out the new poster below.