Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SJSU chapter.

Everyone’s favorite boxing film is back for round three and it is certainly worth the anticipation. The Creed franchise is known for its tremendous storytelling production accompanied by the underdog spirit — and this time it cuts even deeper. Michael B. Jordan’s character Adonis Creed and Jonathon Major’s character Damian Anderson depict the realities of racially rooted systems through a match of guilt, vengeance, and forgiveness. 

Warning: spoilers ahead!

The film begins with a glimpse into Adonis’s childhood and the memories he longed so hard to forget. He lived in an abusive foster home and quickly grew a close bond with fellow foster kid Damian, AKA Dame, who became a brother-like figure that protected and loved Adonis through it all.

After two years, they were eventually moved from that home but continued to be the best of friends with ambition and talent to become aspiring boxers. Dame especially, had a promising career in the works, until it was cut short due to a nerve-racking encounter with their ex-foster father, Leon. 

In this exchange, fifteen-year-old Adonis bumped into Leon at a corner store and confronted him for all the years of abuse. Adonis punched Leon and in return, was attacked by Leon’s friends until Dame stepped up to protect him. Dame drew a gun at the men as an intimidation tactic and ended up getting arrested. He did not shoot or harm anyone but was sentenced to eighteen years in prison. 

In turn, Adonis blocked out every memory of Dame to deal with the guilt of his sentence. He never reached out, but Dame never gave up on their eventual re-connection. 

Almost two decades later, Dame returns to Adonis’s life and shakes up the peace he had grown so fond of knowing. Dame is hungry for his boxing future and makes sure to get networked through Adonis. 

He schemes a plan into fighting heavyweight champion Felix Chavez and successfully wins the match. He is awarded the heavyweight title of world champion and immediately begins to call out Adonis for his past actions in the public eye. Adonis challenges Dame to a match to settle this feud once and for all.

In the end, Adonis Creed won the heart-wrenching match but proved it wasn’t just about boxing. It was a fight of vengeance and forgiveness between two boys that were failed by a system that should have protected them. 

Because of this, I couldn’t bring myself to solely root for the star of the film. Jonathan Major’s antagonist character is the reality of thousands of Black men in the United States whose livelihood was taken away due to racist unjust institutions. 

Dame and Adonis were innocent children subjected to years of physical and emotional abuse, torment, and bullying from their foster father. They weren’t given a place of shelter and sanction when they were in desperate need but instead forced into a house of fear and cruelty. This directly affected the outcomes of their futures and so Dame’s foster home-to-prison pipeline was a guaranteed effect of the failed system.  

Dame was only 18 when he was taken away. He never committed a crime, yet served two decades in time. His prime years were ripped from his hands for absolutely no reason. Injustice is not something light to just get over and make peace with, it’s more so a cut that always bleeds. 

It’s stories like this that continue to cycle and cause generational curses.

However, in this story, Dame did not allow his sentence to control the rest of his free life. 

He kept his eye on his promised boxing career and achieved it by any means necessary. He had eighteen years of his life wrongfully taken away from him, so he made sure not to waste anymore. 

Dame was not the villain, he was the anti-hero. He had every right to come after the crown he deserved and he rightfully did. He was taking back the years that were stolen from him. He was taking back ownership of his personhood and his past. Most importantly, he was taking back his freedom. 

Throughout the film, we could see how the chain of events deeply affected both characters and showcased their different ways of coping. Adonis chose to flee from his past until he was tired of running. Dame chose to fight for his future until he was tired of fighting. The final match exhibits the raw emotions stemming from painful memories of regret and brotherhood that both boxers brought to life in the ring. 

They weren’t fighting for vengeance, but for forgiveness. 

“Creed III” took a step in the right direction for Hollywood’s depiction of Black opportunity because it showed more than just hardship. It showed Black success, excellence, and luxury while highlighting the real issues that are deeply rooted within our institutions. 

It reminded Black youth that they can achieve all that they put their efforts into, no matter their obstacles. It also showcased to the older Black generation that there are always second, third, fourth, and so on chances in life, so giving up should never be the first option. It’s films like this that we need to see more of. 

What did you think about Creed III? Let us know @HerCampusSJSU!

Muimina Abdella is a fourth year sociology major at San Jose State University with a passion for writing. Amongst many, her article niches include relationships, entertainment, and lifestyle. When she is not writing, you can probably find her at your nearest concert or coffee shop!