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The Ending Of Creed III Explained

Michael B. Jordan returns — this time both in front of and behind the camera — for the latest chapter in the Adonis Creed saga. "Creed III" sees a now retired Adonis (Jordan) attempting to lead newcomers to the same greatness he achieved while maintaining his family with Bianca (Tessa Thompson). However, Adonis' world is turned upside down when his old friend Damian (Jonathan Majors) reappears after nearly two decades in jail. Although Adonis doesn't know it at first, Damian has revenge on his mind for something that happened between them when they were kids. Their dramatic clash leads Adonis to step back into the ring to face his former friend.

With Jordan returning to his star-making role while also making his directorial debut, "Creed III" truly finds Adonis on his own to tell his story without Rocky Balboa by his side. The result is a deeply personal story in Adonis' arc as he's forced to face his past with Damian's reemergence and deal with trauma he's tried to keep hidden. The slow-burning feud that develops between Adonis and Damian eventually builds toward a brutal fight for dominance. However, there are also other parts of Andonis' personal story that are unearthed in this confrontation. So, let's delve into the biggest moments of "Creed III," and everything that happens in the film's finale. 

Running from the past

Throughout the film, we're given glimpses into the fateful night that saw Adonis and Damian's brother-like relationship come to an end. Although Adonis would eventually become the world-class boxer we know, he didn't start out on that path. In reality, Damian was the rising boxing talent, having already earned some noteworthy accolades and a few nasty knockouts. Adonis wasn't much of a fighter, though, and acted more as Damian's manager or assistant. It was a solid relationship, and they always felt that they had each other's back.

However, as it's eventually revealed that all came to an end this one particular night. in a flashback, we see Adonis and Damian run into their old abusive group home father Leon (Aaron D. Alexander), with Adonis becoming enraged by his presence and starting to beat him up. It's not too long until Leon's cohorts rip Adonis off of him, but before they retaliate against him, Damian pulls a gun on them to defend his friend. Unfortunately, the cops pull up shortly after and arrest Damian while Adonis flees from the scene. While Damian was ready to stand by Adonis, Adonis couldn't do the same, and this moment still affects both men decades later.

Damian's big plan

Although Damian doesn't have much when he comes out of prison, he's got a big revenge scheme he's ready to act on. Damian's swift intelligence is a big part of what makes him stand out amongst past antagonists faced by Adonis or even Rocky, and he shows himself to be a hidden threat Adonis hasn't seen coming. Damian wastes no time in embedding himself into his old friend's inner circle and even gets into the gym to train against Adonis' protégé Felix (Jose Benavidez Jr.). There, he studies' Felix's tendencies and starts to implant the idea in Adonis' head of him fighting Felix in the title fight. 

Damian takes things even further by hiring one of his old prison friends to beat up Adonis' rival-turned-friend Drago (Florian Munteanu) and break his hand so he can't fight Felix. With Adonis needing this fight with Felix to happen, he gives Damian his shot in the ring. Although he nearly gets disqualified for some dirty hits, Damian eventually knocks Felix out and earns his title. Then, with this new power and influence, he openly torments and calls out Adonis in the sports world to damage his reputation and get under his skin. Damian might've seemed friendly at first to Adonis, but he quickly becomes a rival from hell he can't escape. 

Hidden letters

Not too long after Damian wins the title fight against Felix, Adonis' mother Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad) calls him to her house to reveal something pretty devastating. Upon arriving, Adonis can see letters spread across the kitchen table — all letters from Damian. It turns out that Damian had been sending letters to Adonis throughout his time in prison, but Mary Anne had been keeping them from them him. She says that Damian was always bad news and that she was trying to protect Adonis from falling into the same patterns.

Adonis is justifiably infuriated and incredibly cold towards his mother. If Adonis had known that Damian had been writing to him, there's a good chance he might've reached out, and this war he now finds himself in with Damian might never have happened. Now, Adonis is locked into a fiery battle with Damian while knowing that there could've been a way for things to be better. Realistically, though, even Adonis knows that he was really trying to forget what happened to Damian all along.

Final words

Within the earlier parts of the film, it's mentioned that Mary Anne is starting to suffer from health problems and recently had a stroke that's left Adonis and Bianca concerned. In fact, they're so concerned with Mary Anne's health and her living alone that they're contemplating asking her to come live with them. Mary Anne denies their request before they can even formally ask her, and after she shows Adonis the hidden letters from Damian, he likely no longer wants to help. Unfortunately, Mary Anne's condition worsens, to the point that Adonis only has time for one last conversation with her. 

The sequence showing Adonis and Mary Anne's final conversation is easily the tenderest of the film, and it's largely because of who Mary Anne thinks Adonis is. Although Adonis is right in front of her, Mary Anne talks to him like he's Apollo Creed, Adonis' late father. For both Adonis and longtime "Rocky" fans, the mere mention of Apollo's name might bring a tears to the eye. Mary Anne thinking that she's talking to Apollo also allows her to be completely honest when talking about her love for Adonis. It's a bittersweet scene showing how real the emotion is between this mother and son. Even better is that Mary Anne says all the right things to not only get Adonis to talk about his past, but also confront it. 

Opening up

As Damian and Adonis' feud becomes more intense, it makes the people around Adonis (particularly Bianca) curious about his perspective and the pain he still harbors. Throughout the film, Bianca tries to get Adonis to open up, but he continually denies her advances. They even get into a heated argument right in front of their daughter Amara (Mila Davis-Kent). However, after Mary Anne's sudden death leaves him immensely vulnerable, he finally confides to Bianca about his past. 

In a tearful conversation, Adonis tells Bianca about Leon's abuse and the incident that led to Damian's arrest. Then he talks about how responsible he felt (and still feels) for leaving Damian behind and never reaching out to him in prison. Adonis even comes to the realization that maybe he chose to forget about Damian because it made it easier to move on rather than face the impact of his choice. Finding a way to confront his past with Damian and forgive himself is a huge part of his personal arc, and this is probably the most open we've seen Adonis throughout the "Creed" franchise. 

Calling Damian out

With Damian constantly throwing dirt on his name in the media, Adonis is faced with a tough choice — should he step into the ring with Damian and put an end to this conflict? Adonis tells Bianca that he doesn't see another way out of this, and she simply tells him, "Do what you got to do." Finally ready to step into the ring again to fight Damian, Adonis doesn't just make the announcement in an ordinary fashion. 

Instead, Adonis decides to give Damian a taste of his own medicine and use the media to draw him out. He ultimately appears on ESPN's "First Take" hosted by sports commentator Stephen A. Smith (making a cameo as himself) and gets Damian to call in. Adonis becomes the kind of tactician that Damian has been from the start and essentially draws him into his trap. Once Damian gets on the air, he starts berating Adonis with virtually no filter, and Adonis uses it to fuel his fire. Right then and there, Adonis challenges Damian to a fight before quickly getting off the show. Adonis goes all out when challenging Damian, and it sets the stage for a bloody spectacle between the two. 

Talk about training

With Damian and Adonis ready to duke it out on the biggest stage possible, we get what everyone expects from these movies — a huge training montage. It's no surprise to see a "Creed" movie feature these intense sequences of Adonis and his opponent pushing themselves to their limits before their final bout. This time around, we see Damian destroying sparring partners in the ring and getting into some tough workouts on the beach. Adonis, on the other hand, is in some secluded facility on a mountain sparring with a now-healed Drago and reigniting that fire within him. Adonis is even seen punching trees now to toughen up his hands, so he's going all-out to prepare for Damian.

However, there's more going on in this sequence than just sweaty workouts. Visually throughout the film, Adonis and Damian have been shown differently, with Adonis living a life of luxury while Damian remains rugged and gritty. This reflects how vastly different their lives and perspectives have become since they split apart. But here, they're reversed. While Damian trains in his own gym and looks more glamorous than he has leading up to this moment, making it clear that he's primed to claim the success he deserves. Adonis, meanwhile, can be seen going back to his roots in a small facility, knowing he has to regain his old fighting spirit. It's a sequence that's thrilling to watch because of all the energy pouring out of it, but it also features some good progression in both Damian and Adonis' arcs.  

Alone at last

When the time finally comes for Damian and Adonis to get into the ring together, the tension is higher than any of Adonis' previous fights. The bad blood between these two has truly come to a boil and even in the opening moments of the fight, these two are not pulling their punches. Right off the bat, there are some brutal shots that set the tone for the fight, and it's only a couple of rounds in before blood starts to pour. Things only get more intense when the film just focuses on them two in the ring. 

There's eventually a moment where everyone else in the stadium disappears and it's just Adonis and Damian in the ring fighting each other. It's a visually stunning sequence, with sound design and camerawork that really brings you into their perspectives, making for an immersive experience. There's even a moment where bars drop to one side of the ring and it makes the bout a true "hell in a cell" match. Throughout the entire scene, you can't help but wonder how much time has passed and by the time the crowd reappears, these two have already reached Round 12. The climactic boxing match is easily one of the most memorable of the franchise and a great showcase for Jordan's direction. Plus, it all builds towards an unforgettable end. 

Who's victorious?

Damian and Adonis hold nothing back in their big blowout fight, and there are definitely moments that see them nearly break each other. At one point Damian delivers such a strong gut-punch to Adonis that he's literally brought to his knees and almost isn't able to beat the ten-count. Michael B. Jordan has mentioned on the movie's press circuit that he took some inspiration from anime for some of the fight sequences, and that swift punch to the gut is actually inspired by a devastating punch from Goku to Frieza in "Dragon Ball Z."

Damian definitely gives Adonis a run for his money and leaves his face a bloody, swollen mess. But it's not enough to take him down. Adonis eventually turns the tables on Damian by pushing him towards the ropes. Once he finds a good opening, he pops Damian right in the face and it's not too long until Damian is sprawled out on the floor totally knocked out. Adonis has finally defeated Damian and his past demons. He's officially cemented as one of the greatest fighters of all-time, and he's kept the prestige of the Creed legacy intact.

Making amends

Sure, Adonis defeats Damian in the ring and keeps his reputation as a top fighter, but there's still more that needs to be done to end this personal feud. After the fight, Adonis goes to Damian, who's sitting defeated in his locker room, to talk with him face to face. With all their anger and rage having been let loose during the fight, they can now have a more honest conversation about their unresolved feelings. Plus, with Damian being humbled in front of everyone, it's safe to say that there's going to be no more trash-talking from him.

In a calm and meaningful manner, Adonis and Damian are able to forgive each other and themselves for what happened the night Damian got arrested. Damian tells Adonis that things weren't really his fault, and Adonis does the same for Damian. The stellar performances from Jordan and Majors in this moment heightens the emotion greatly as Damian is brought to tears by Adonis' forgiveness. These two are now able to put the past behind them — if we get another "Creed" sequel, don't be surprised if Damian helps Adonis like Drago does in this film.

Family time

After talking with Damian, Adonis heads back out to the ring and sees Bianca and his daughter Amara. Throughout the film, Amara has shown an interest in becoming a fighter like her father and learning to protect herself. She's been watching his old fights, and Adonis has even taken her up on her interest by showing her some moves. Now, seeing his daughter shadowboxing in the ring, he couldn't be prouder to possibly see another chapter in his life unfolding.

Adonis jumps into the ring with Amara to have a little fight of their own, which he lets her win in an adorable fashion. Then, he leaves the ring looking content, but clearly wondering if this will be the last fight he'll ever have to be in. Whether it'll be Adonis going back into the ring for another bout against a new foe or watching Amara take the Creed legacy in her own direction, fighting will always be a part of who Adonis is. With that in mind, seeing him walk out of the ring after dealing with all these family troubles and personal demons is more satisfying than ever.

Is this Adonis' last dance in the ring?

"Creed III" sees a retired Adonis get back into the ring to fight a personal demon of his that's come back to haunt him. With Adonis beating Damian and now having some personal closure on his past, this seems like it could be the right place for his story to end. Plus, at the time of this writing, there's been no news of a sequel going into development or Jordan returning for another entry. However, this isn't the first time that the "Rocky" or "Creed" franchises have found themselves in a retired state only to rise into the ring again.

Seriously, how many times did Rocky appear to be totally done with boxing only for another "Rocky" sequel to come? Adonis could easily fall into the same pattern and there's nothing in the film that suggests that he's really done. With those last couple looks around the stadium before leaving, there's still a spark in him for fighting that's not going away any time soon. There could easily be a sequel that sees him jump back into the ring to face a new challenger looking to topple the Creed dynasty, or a follow-up story that sees Amara following in her father's footsteps. Overall, while it might seem like Adonis is good and done, don't be too shocked if you hear that there's another entry coming.