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Michel B Jordan Creed 3

Source: EPK TV / MGM


Besides being a critical and commercial success comparable to the original, what will its legacy be beyond Balboa? The collection of films may have finally got its answer in the third round.

However, this spark is not found in its central story, although well-performed by the star that is Michael B. Jordan. In what should be the considered the closeout to the avenged son of Apollo Creed’s story, the film hints at an even greater fulfillment of boxing franchise’s ultimate lesson: never underestimate the underdog. This is accomplished by the inclusion of Adonis Creed’s daughter Amara, who was born hard of hearing like her mother Bianca (Tessa Thompson). Having grown up since the second film, Amara communicates mainly through American Sign Language (ASL) with her family.

What was pleasantly surprising, and oftentimes rare, is that Adonis does not speak aloud as he engages in ASL with his fictional daughter. We’re met with scenes in near-complete silence, as Adonis’ daughter commands the moment and the eyes of the viewer. The youngest Creed, played wonderfully by deaf actress Mila Davis-Kent, is not forced to speak to abide by typical norms of communication, the audience is supposed to meet her where she is at.

A fighter like her father and grandfather alike, Amara’s passion, alongside her inherited skill, for the art of boxing, is a story on the surface that is foreshadowed to be the next phase in the Rocky Cinematic Universe. This is a victory on multiple levels, as this would take the series into Million Dollar Baby territory by voyaging into the realm of female boxing and the trials that come with gaining respect in a male-dominated sport. However, having the additional communication gap as someone who speaks through ASL will sure to complicate Amara’s boxing journey even further.  The teaching of ASL in U.S. schools is virtually nonexistent, creating more barriers for those who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate with those who are not privy to the language. To create a more inclusive story, one that can inspire others as life imitates art, Creed III refuses to succumb to ableism to accommodate others when the priority should be on its deaf characters. What’s more important, and something that was clear all along, is that the film flowed seamlessly in and out of engaging with Amara in this way, just as we can in everyday life.

When it comes to its potential new protagonist to take on the legendary name in the boxing drama series, Creed III is uncompromising in Amara’s worldview and journey, and its a story worthy of being explored as wholly as her father’s. This is a win outside the ring, one that catapults deaf actors onto the main stage. The appeal of Rocky is in its classic storytelling about the the triumph of an unlikely hero, and this is a win everyone can root for.

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