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.