“Rocky III” was about shaking the now-champion hero out of his new complacency — so much so that it’s debatable whether Rocky is the real hero of the movie or if his rival Clubber Lang (Mr. T) is. In “Creed III,” Adonis is at the top of the world, just like his mentor was in the 1982 three-quel. Having hung up his gloves, Adonis now splits his time between being a father and running a gym alongside his old trainer “Little Duke” Evers (Wood Harris).
Then Adonis’ old friend Damian “Dame” Anderson (Jonathan Majors) shows up, having just got out of prison. Damian was an up-and-coming boxer before he went behind bars, and wants back in the ring. Adonis offers help, from setting him up to train with Duke to giving him a chance at fighting the world champion Felix Chavez (José Benavidez Jr.). However, Adonis just views this as charity and humoring an old friend. So, he’s surprised by Damian’s aggression in pursuing the champion title, doubly so when he beats Felix.
It’s clear Adonis feels he has something to make up to Damien, but he won’t come out and apologize to him, nor will he share the specifics of his guilt with his wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson). And his stubbornness causes trouble that could’ve been avoided.