The 10 Best Jonathan Majors Moments In Creed 3, Ranked

The first two films in the "Creed" series are really the seventh and eighth films in the "Rocky" series. Thanks to the presence of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) in the life of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) as a sort of mentor figure, those first two movies lean heavily into the iconography developed in the original series, drawing much of their emotional beats from considerations of legacy and heritage.

Stallone didn't return for "Creed III," and consequently, this is the first time in the series that the title character has a storyline that doesn't revolve around someone else. (Fittingly, Jordan also directed this film). Instead, considerations of past and future depend on Adonis' childhood in Los Angeles. Now retired after becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Adonis is surprised to see an old friend named "Diamond" Damian Anderson (Jonathan Majors) back in his life. Dame has just gotten out of prison, and he's looking to his old buddy Adonis to get back on his feet.

The movie is an interesting battle of personalities as much as it is a battle between two boxers, and Majors' phenomenal physical performance is what makes the movie work as well as it does. Neither fully antagonist nor ally, at once comic relief and worthy adversary, Majors finds numerous moments throughout the film that help him flesh out his character. These are the 10 best Jonathan Majors moments in "Creed 3," ranked.

10. Dame calls in to First Take

Much of the emotional arc of "Creed III" is pinned on "Diamond" Dame Anderson's journey from incarceration to his shot at the world heavyweight championship. We can't help but feel for him, even though he's ostensibly the antagonist to franchise lead Adonis Creed. The other thing about Dame is that he's hilarious. Antagonist and comic relief is an excellent combination, and Majors more than pulls it off.

One of Dame's funniest moments comes shortly after Adonis and Bianca (Tessa Thompson) have discussed whether he should fight Dame in the ring. Adonis goes on the ESPN talk show "First Take" (in a scene that features a cameo by real-life host Stephen A. Smith) to talk about his ongoing feud with the upstart new boxer. Dame gleefully calls into the show to trash-talk Adonis. Sitting on the couch next to a gorgeous model in a fancy new apartment, he holds his phone out in front of him, talking to his former best friend on speakerphone. Majors tears into the scene with gusto. When Adonis suggests they should talk about this off-air, Dame shoots back, "Bad news, bro... this live!" It's one of the biggest laugh lines in the film, and Majors' comedic timing is impeccable.

9. Lunch with Adonis

When Dame first shows up at Adonis' gym, where he's found leaning cheekily against the superstar boxer's Rolls-Royce, we're not quite sure who this guy is. Sure, we know that he and Adonis used to be best friends, but it's unclear why he's been in jail for so long or how the experience has changed him. Adonis invites him out for a meal, and the two old friends catch up on lost time. There are two excellent moments in this scene. Both are played very well by Jonathan Majors and give us great insight into who Dame is at this point in his life.

First, when their meal comes, the wannabe boxer gleefully picks up the hot sauce and douses his food. "Whoa, easy, easy," Adonis cautions him. "Damn, bruh!" Dame responds, "You know how long it's been since I had this s***?" Realizing the gravity of the question, Adonis asks him just how long it's been. Without making eye contact, Dame replies, "18 years." It's a perfect character moment that quickly transitions from funny to emotional. We find ourselves wondering whether we're witnessing sadness or resentment.

A few minutes later, Dame reveals that he wrote Adonis letters during his time in prison. When Adonis says he never received the mail, a curious look passes over Majors' face. We can see him thinking. Is he trying to forgive his former friend? Or is there something more going on beneath the surface?

8. Dame's clock is ticking

After Dame and the Creeds share a warm conversation by the fire, Adonis and his former friend retire to a room with a bar to share a drink and catch up. Jonathan Majors does exceptional work in this scene, showing that Dame's admiration for his friend's success might be concealing major jealousy. Note, for example, the ever-so-slight double-take Majors does when Dame notices the gigantic, wall-sized art piece of a shirtless Adonis. Does he view that as an excessive display of wealth? 

When the men stand beside one another and sip their drinks, Majors' voice drops lower. "Maybe I ain't make myself clear," Dame says, staring into the distance. We can see the wheels turning in his head as he tries to figure out how much to say and how to say it. Majors finds many small pauses like this in his dialogue, little moments when he invites the viewer to consider what he must be thinking. Finally, he looks at Adonis and clarifies, "I want a title shot." After they volley back and forth, Dame stares at the ground, shaking his head, and explains, "It's like this, bro... My clock is ticking. It's now or never for me."

This will turn out to be a crucial conversation that sets the tone and direction of the rest of the film. Majors is subtly shifting Dame's characterization here, letting some resentment seep through. In other words, his pot is beginning to boil.

7. Aww, hell yeah.

Jonathan Majors' other funniest moment comes a few scenes later when he finally meets Adonis Creed's family for the first time. This is still early in the film before we have a handle on exactly what kind of character Dame will be — enemy or friend. Walking into the Creeds' gorgeous mansion in the hills above Hollywood, Dame jokes that he found the house by asking someone, "Where the Black family live at?" He then compliments "the see-through floors" that allow him to notice Adonis and Bianca's daughter, Amara (Mila Davis-Kent), heading down to meet him.

Amara is deaf, so to interact with her, Dame must use sign language. Watching Adonis carefully, he mimics his former friend's movements, signing Amara's name and then "Nice to meet you." When Bianca translates that Amara has signed back, "You, too," Majors' face breaks into a wide grin, and he nods approvingly, "Aww, hell yeah."

It's an adorable moment. Indeed, Dame will be an antagonist, so the fact that the characters have shared a wholesome interaction like this makes his eventual betrayal sting even more. ("You met my family," Adonis will later remind him). It also pulls double duty. Although the two men will eventually come to blows in the ring, Dame's reaction to Adonis' deaf daughter shows that maybe he has a heart after all.

6. The label party

One of the best things about Jonathan Majors' performance in "Creed 3" is how he conveys several things all at once. Several of these moments later get recontextualized once the movie turns, and we realize that his motivation all along has been to use Adonis Creed to get to the top. See, for example, Bianca's label party, to which she invites Dame before Adonis has a chance to explain their relationship to her.

We first see Dame leaning awkwardly against the bar, watching as Kehlani performs a song ostensibly written by Bianca. This is clearly a high-end Hollywood party, and though he looks fine, Dame feels out of place. He is wearing a cardigan over a t-shirt, and he fidgets with it constantly, wrapping it around himself almost like a security blanket as he scans the room. This continues as he watches Adonis palling around with Felix Chavez (Jose Benavidez) and former rival Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu). At first, we wonder what the expression on Majors' face means. Is he resentful of his former friend? Jealous? 

Later, we learn that Dame knows the person who attacks Drago with a retractable baton at the label party, with the implication being that Dame ordered the Tanya Harding-style hit. This invites us to reconsider Majors' expression at this moment. He was likely uncomfortable with his appearance and anticipating the impending attack, and Majors' performance lets both be true at once.

5. Chavez vs. Anderson

After Viktor Drago is attacked, Adonis Creed agrees to let "Diamond" Dame Anderson fight the reigning champion, Felix Chavez (real-life boxer Jose Benavidez). We've seen them spar, but this will be the first time we get our eyes on the adult Dame's boxing prowess — and Majors' abilities in the role. Thankfully, he is up to the task, and the Chavez vs. Anderson fight is one of the most thrilling sequences in the film. It begins in the holding rooms, where the still-on-probation Dame has his ankle monitor removed. He gets a pep talk from Adonis, and when the world champ leaves the room, Dame gets up to pace. Noticing the other man has paused, he freezes, too. We see them consider one another through a wall. Through the way he holds his body, Majors does an excellent job of conveying just how perceptive Dame is.

He's also a hell of a fighter. This brawl is the first time we see him without his shirt on, and he's ripped. Standout moments from this first fight include a bone-crunching shot where Dame removes his mouthguard between rounds, only to frantically bite it back because he's lost some teeth. Majors' best work, however, comes just after Dame delivers a blow with his elbow to Chavez's cheek. As the ref announces a two-point deduction, Majors' face transforms into a defiant expression of pride. It's a quick shot, but Majors tells everything we need to know about Dame in this moment. He's hungry.

4. The training montage

A crucial part of any boxing movie is the training montage. "Rocky" did it best, of course. Sylvester Stallone's jog through Philadelphia culminates with a triumphant arms-raised pose at the top of the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art so iconic that there's now a real-life statue of the moment nearby. The "Creed" movies have great training montages, too. In "Creed II," for example, we saw Adonis Creed swinging a sledgehammer at the ground, intercut with his opponent, Viktor Drago, performing almost superhuman feats of strength in Russia.

It makes sense that "Diamond" Dame Anderson's training montage would be an important moment for the character. Sure enough, after Adonis agrees to get back in the game, he and Dame get their pump on. Adonis trains mostly at his gym or on the trails above the Hollywood sign, while Dame pushes himself through a grueling series of public stunts on the infamous Muscle Beach. And what muscles they are! According to an interview in Men's Health, Majors got himself down to 5 percent body fat for the role, and this training montage gives him an opportunity to show it off. While his bulging biceps are impressive, the highlight comes when Dame pulls himself up the ropes in a staggering feat of athleticism. It tells us a lot about who Dame is and the lengths he's willing to go to push his body. It tells us just as much about Majors.

3. The beach party

After the Anderson vs. Chavez fight leaves the latter in the hospital, Adonis confronts Dame, who is hosting a victory party on the beach. At first, it seems like Dame will be the same joker we've come to know and started to love. When Adonis approaches the boxer, his friend pulls a gun, which Dame gently takes from him. Putting his red Solo cup in his mouth to free his hands, Dame swivels his head around to give Adonis a look that falls somewhere between cheeky and threatening. During the ensuing conversation, Majors yet again finds important moments of silence and strategically withheld eye contact as if he's almost afraid to look his friend in the face while he confirms that, yes, he's been taking advantage of their relationship.

Soon, though, the energy shifts, and the men make sustained eye contact as they hash out just how antagonistic their relationship will be moving forward. Majors' standout moment in this scene comes as the two characters square up, getting up in one another's faces. "Oh, you mad?" Dame asks, Majors' eyes searching his scene partner's face. "You mad? Try spending half your life in a cell, watching somebody else live your life," he says. Even though the relationship has soured and Dame will be the film's primary antagonist moving forward, he still seems genial somehow — his anger watered down through an expression reflecting genuine hurt.

2. The ring becomes a dream space

Unlike most of the films in this franchise, which pride themselves on realistic boxing sequences, with "Creed III," director Michael B. Jordan chooses to make a stylistic departure. It all takes place in a boxing ring set up in the middle of Dodger Stadium at an event touted as "The Battle For Los Angeles." Although, confusingly, everyone keeps saying it's "the Battle of Los Angeles." No matter. The main attraction is the showdown between these two former brothers, a final chance to channel the pain of the last two decades into a flurry of fists.

Majors is phenomenal throughout this sequence, but he shines when Jordan's direction transforms the boxing ring into a dream space. In a move that stylistically calls to mind numerous anime fights, the audience falls away, and the stadium fills with a haze, leaving these two men alone with their emotions and with each other. When Anderson gets Creed against the ropes, the ring becomes a jail cell, and we see all of the metaphorical implications of the brawl. Majors expertly conveys the brawny physicality of the character, but his standout moment comes when he channels his anger, resentment, and pain into one primal yell that is everything about the character whittled down to one pure expression of emotion.

1. It ain't on you.

Jonathan Majors' best moment in "Creed III" comes at the end after Dame is defeated by Adonis Creed. Despite the ferocity of the fight, Adonis goes to Dame's locker room for a chat. Sitting side by side, Adonis apologizes for never having checked up on his friend in prison. The two have spent the entire movie working through the pain of what happened to them 18 years earlier, brawling mentally and physically. This conversation is an important climactic moment. Will they be able to make up? Or has Dame being beaten merely bred more resentment? 

His broad expressive face quivering with emotion, Dame finally says, "It ain't on you. None of it. Never was." It's a moment of cathartic release. Even though he's spent the entire movie trying to prove himself, to make up for lost time, we finally realize that Dame has decided not to hold his life's path against Adonis. But then the film one-ups itself. "It wasn't on you either," Adonis says. Dame looks almost afraid to believe it. We live in a society that blames incarcerated people for their loss of freedom, so seeing Majors' expression as Dame is released from that guilt is incredible. Adonis offers, "You know where to find me if you need me," and Majors' face becomes a mixture of gratitude and pride. It's a transcendent moment. Whether or not Dame will take him up on it, we know this moment has been life-changing.