Leading up to this film, I was very nervous because I was questioning how Creed III would turn out given that this is the first time that Sylvester Stallone would not be involved in the franchise that he gave birth to. So, I tempered my expectations. As it turns out, you don’t need Stallone/Rocky to make a good film because Creed III was fantastic and one of the best in the Rocky franchise. Michael B. Jordan knocked it out of the park, solidifying the future of the Creed franchise but also his career as a director.

Michael B. Jordan had a vision for this film, and he saw it through. From the first scene, where you see the first of many anime references, you know that this is his film, with his ideas. Jordan takes inspiration from so many different areas and uses the IMAX cameras to his advantage. Directing and acting in the same film is difficult, but doing both of those things spectacularly is even harder. Thankfully, Jordan succeeds on every level and proves that beyond being a great actor, he’s also a fantastic director.

The acting is exceptional with Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson delivering deeply moving, layered, and emotional performances. Having said that, Jonathan Majors shines above the rest in his portrayal of Adonis’ childhood friend with a shared troubled past. He delivers an electrifying performance as one of the best, if not the best, antagonists in the Rocky/Creed franchise, “Diamond” Dame Anderson. The character work here is superb, and at times, I found myself rooting for Majors to win. He steals every single scene he’s in and his chemistry with Michael B. Jordan makes for a tense viewing experience.

The representation of ASL in this film was another highlight. Mila Davis-Kent, who is deaf in real life, delivers a great performance using only sign language. Her dialogue and interactions with the rest of the cast are well done, unique, and authentic and an important ingredient in this film’s success. I hope we see more of this in Creed IV.

The fight scenes are undoubtedly some of the best ever shot in this franchise and the cinematography for these sequences is Oscar-worthy. Taking full advantage of the IMAX cameras, Jordan gives these fights a touch of anime and a hint of Spider-Man, while managing to keep them grounded at the same time. Using new shooting techniques, Jordan gives the audience a new perspective and it makes for an intense, edge-of-your-seat viewing experience.

Overall, Creed III is one of the franchise’s best films. Michael B. Jordan solidifies himself as a talented director and Jonathan Majors, yet again, proves why he’s arguably the best working actor today. This movie is a must-see, and do yourself a favor, see it in IMAX.