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There’s a scene in Michael B. Jordan’s new movie, Without Remorse, in which he’s in a jail cell preparing to be attacked by a squad of armed guards geared up with armor, shields, helmets and batons. As the footsteps of the guards approach the cell, Michael B. Jordan, as ex-Navy SEAL John Clark, takes his shirt off, wraps his hands, covers himself and the floor in water and pounds his own head to get the adrenaline pumping to prepare his body and brain for battle.
When the first wave of guards comes in, he unleashes a torrent of punches, kicks, spins, and jiujitsu moves that quickly dismantle and destroy the whole crew. It’s a tornado of violence that ends when he says it ends.
Jordan is described as a “badass” in an early scene in the movie, but it’s not until this brawl in the jail cell that we truly see the depths of his badassery. The fight scene brings to mind a culmination of the various tough-guy characters Jordan has played. The punches and sheer will are clearly Adonis Creed. The cockiness and hand-to-hand combat are vintage Killmonger. Some of the new skills are obviously his new creation, John Clark.
Obviously, this begs the question: Which Michael B. Jordan character would be the most dominant?
We’ll go in reverse order:
What? You don’t remember the 2015 remake of The Fantastic Four with Jordan as the Human Torch, Miles Teller as Reed Richards and Kate Mara as Sue Storm? It’s understandable. The movie got caught in development and then promotional no-man’s-land between 20th Century Fox and Marvel and it’ll be one of the last films based on Marvel characters that isn’t produced by Marvel itself. Jordan plays the Human Torch and since we’re not ranking superpowers on this list, the character is the least reliant on his physical presence and without the ability to fly and the entire-body-in-flames thing, he’s just a dude.
For the purposes of this list we’re splitting up Jordan’s physique and power in Creed and Creed 2. Jordan did everything he could in Creed to make Adonis Creed the spitting image of his film father, Apollo Creed, played by Carl Weathers in the original Rocky movies — from the way he moved in the ring to his mannerisms to his NFL running back-level build. He was extremely impressive, but this is the version of Creed that got whooped by Viktor Drago, so naturally, it can’t be higher.
Clark looked to be about the same size as Adonis Creed (Creed 1), or perhaps a little smaller since he had to recover from about five bullets to the body before we really saw him in action. The reason we’re bumping Clark above the original Adonis Creed is because of the variety of his combat skills. Clearly, Clark, who is fighting for the revenge of his murdered wife and daughter, has an entirely different level of motivation than Adonis in the first Creed. To be able to dip into that well of fury would likely give Clark an edge over early Adonis.
Adonis Creed in Creed 2 is MBJ’s physical masterpiece. He’s about as massive and jacked as he’s been his whole career. He’s also been to hell and back after getting demolished by Ivan Drago’s spawn in their first match-up. In order to properly train him for the rematch, Rocky Balboa takes him out to the desert and puts him through a series of old school, new school and jailhouse training to make him hard as steal mentally and physically. While Viktor Drago is physically larger, Adonis goes toe-to-toe with him, takes a beating no man alive could survive (except maybe Rocky himself) and he wins. This version of MBJ would be almost impossible to defeat. I said “almost”.
Killmonger combines the athletic skills of Adonis Creed with the military training of John Clark (the Killmonger nickname came from his savage killing style as an elite military Black Ops soldier). When you take into account the US Military training, the Adonis Creed build, the fact that he had royal Wakandan blood in his veins, and the fact that he defeated T’Challa without his Black Panther powers, Killmonger is at the top of the ferocious MBJ character food chain.
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