New York Post’s Peter Botte has ranked (WARNING: spoilers in his mini-reviews) all 8 Rocky films as follows:
- Rocky II
- Rocky III
- Creed II
- Rocky Balboa
- Rocky IV
- Rocky V
Last year, I made a list and ranked the Rocky and Creed movies. Our rankings are pretty similar, although I felt Rocky II and Rocky III were better than Creed. If rewatching again, I might give an equal star rating to Creed II and Rocky Balboa as both were about equally entertaining to me. I give a slight nod to Creed II because it was nice to see Ivan Drago and Rocky on the screen together again, but it would have been better if they had brawled a bit.
In the outtake footage, there was a dust-up in the hospital.
Wish that hadn’t been cut! Director’s cut, Stallone, put that back in!
Here’s how I ranked them, you can click through on the titles and read my non-spoiler reviews:
- Rocky ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
- Rocky II ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Rocky III ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
- Creed (review pending)
- Creed II ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
- Rocky Balboa ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Rocky IV ⭐️⭐️½
- Rocky V ⭐️⭐️
Creed for me could not have happened without Rocky III, so how could Creed be a better movie? Sure, it could be, not arguing that really, but … well, subjective.
From here on, if you haven’t seen all the movies, go watch them on streaming. As of this writing they’re all available (for purchase) on Amazon Prime Video.
… you’ve been warned SPOILERS ahead …
Now, the acting, I’ll readily admit was better in Creed than Rocky III, but my goodness, Mr. T as the menacing Clubber Lang? Not to mention what happened to Mickey! MICK!!!!!!!! (in that incoherent Stallone crying scene).
Rocky II felt like a solid continuation of Rocky, sort of in the way that Halloween II would continue where Halloween left off (only Halloween II was not a very good movie — but the timing of both movies was similar). I enjoyed in Rocky II how we learned Rocky needed to fight, to do all he knew how to do, to be a man. That was a really good, clever and logical story.
After Rocky II the series sort of became campy and there were notable inconsistencies. For example, in Rocky II Stallone isn’t skilled enough to do commercials, but in Rocky III he’s doing advertising and commercials everywhere? Sure, maybe he learned how to be in front of the camera, but it’s a stark inconsistency versus explained or shown character growth (maybe in the montage segments, it is explained?). I also think Rocky’s accent is much more pronounced in the first two Rocky films than in later ones.
Then again, how he became rich from the title defenses that were with “has beens” as Mickey put it, were a huge part of Rocky’s character arc. So maybe Stallone did explain it all in his rags to riches trilogy.
Stallone tried returning to the heart of the first two films in Rocky Balboa and I liked the boxing realism. It was a smart play what he did with Adrian, as well, although I did kind of miss seeing her and Rocky together.
Overall, I’m not sure we need any more Rocky or Creed films, the stories are a bit long in the tooth, but it sounds like we might be getting at least one more. I suppose if Stallone and company can dredge up a storyline that we haven’t seen explored with Rocky’s character.
How do you rank the Rocky films?