In 1976, Rocky became an unexpected hit gaining critical acclaim from many critics & movie goers around the world, becoming the number one highest grossing film of the year, propelling Sylvester “Sly” Stallone into stardom as A-List actor. The film won a Golden Globe for “Best Drama” & ultimately took home an Academy Award for “Best Picture.”
At first, producers were afraid to make a follow up. Sly on the other hand, wrote the script. He contacted John G. Avildsen (The Karate Kid) to direct
Rocky II was released in 1979. The sequel earned positive reviews from critics & movie goers alike. Plus, it made enough dough at the box office. Thus, saving Sly’s career in time, allowing him to push forward into other projects.
Now that Creed II is scheduled to come out during Thanksgiving week, I’ve decided to look back at every single Rocky movie to date alongside its spin-off film Creed, before the eighth installment of the Rocky series enters the ring to compete with Wreck-It-Ralph for the title as number one at the box office.
The following review doesn’t contain any SPOILERS. Feel free to read this non-spoiler article.
Victory & Defeat Aspects
Victory: Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as the title character and he did an outstanding job for his performance. As a reminder, Sly had to take over John G. Avilden’s role as director, because the latter was busy at the time working with John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.
Besides Sly, returning Cast Members from the original film such as Carl Weathers, Talia Shire, Burt Young & Burgess Meredith all did great job for their respective performances.
In case you forgot, the Opening Scene shows us a recap of Rocky & Creed’s fight from the previous entry.
Rocky & Adrian’s chemistry continues to evolve. Not really a spoiler, they get married and have a baby boy named, Rocky Jr.
The sequel focuses on the aftermath of the first film. Rocky is now a celebrity struggling to support Adrian & Rocky Jr. to find work, due to the fact that he’s not an educated person. Danielle Bregoli/Bhad Bhabie, (A.K.A. the “Cash Me Outside” girl on Dr. Phil) if you’re reading this article, just because you become a number one sensation, doesn’t mean you’re gonna live a pampered lifestyle. It’s all about enduring the real world.
Rocky’s inability to read cue cards is a subtle metaphor of Sly’s directorial debut called, “Paradise Alley.” His film was critically panned. Sly realizes that making Rocky II is his only way to prevent himself from becoming a one-hit-wonder.
Character Development involving Rocky. He learns to take responsibility as a first time husband & father.
The incredibly rude commercial director is basically a caricature of studio executives refusing to let Sly direct Rocky II after his disastrous Paradise Alley.
Without giving too much away, the stakes become drastically high as Rocky realizes he can’t get a stable job. Fighting is his only chance to make serious money.
My favorite scene is when Rocky is having a difficult time reading cue cards. It made me chuckled.
A recurring plot device involving Rocky’s repaired retina, is loosely based on Sly who accidentally ripped his pectoral muscle while working out and had it surgically repaired.
Rocky’s catchphrase, “Yo Adrian” is once again used.
My favorite line is, I smell mainly.” I want that line to be part of the American Film Institute’s (A.F.I. for short) updated list of 100 Movie Quotes.
Mickey said his catchphrase, “You’re gonna way lightning, then you’re gonna crap thunder!”
Rocky’s iconic theme music is retained. You can’t make a Rocky movie without his signature tune.
An important plot point motivated Rocky to prepare for his rematch with Apollo. All it takes is an extra push for him to take his training seriously.
During a training montage or two, Rocky wears a red headband, indicating Sly’s future role as Rambo, known for his trademark red headband.
The famous running to the Philadelphia Museum Of Art scene is recreated.
After a slow proper buildup, Rocky’s battle with Creed intensifies, makes you want to root for The Italian Stallion.
Defeat: The first film effectively ended with a quick freeze-frame. The second added two more freeze-frames. Hear me out Rocky fans, every time I see a freeze-frame, I tend to make fun of this trope, pretending to be a narrator of a television crime drama.
The Final Verdict: A-
Rocky II is a decent entry to the Rocky franchise finishing the original movie’s storyline, until Mr T. shows up in Rocky III. If you are eager to see Creed II, go watch all the Rocky films & Creed to prep up for the eighth entry to the Rocky franchise.