Rocky struggles to adjust back to his mundane life after losing the title,
while the reigning champ Apollo Creed challenges him to a rematch.
Rocky II (1979)
Written and Directed by Sylvester Stallone
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Carl Weathers,
Burgess Meredith, Burt Young
Sequel to 1976's Rocky
It's hard to follow an American classic like Rocky. There is so much that must go right in order for the sequel to succeed. I believe that Rocky II is a worthy successor as it barely feels like a sequel. It picks up exactly where the first one ended, with Rocky and Apollo on their way to the hospital following one hell of a boxing match. This sequel shows the aftermath of that fateful fight, and how it changed both of their lives forever.
Stallone continues to prove that this was the role he was born to play. Despite nearly winning the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World, Rocky is still the everyman who refuses to let his sudden fame get the better of him. His marriage to Adrian and her tragic coma after childbirth complications provide some much-needed drama that allows Sly to really stretch. Then, you have Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed, who has evolved from bitter rival to sworn enemy after his embarrassingly narrow victory against Rocky. As the whole film builds to their much-anticipated rematch, we see that Apollo thinks Rocky may be the superior fighter, but can't admit it until he knows for sure. This just makes the fight at the end so much more enjoyable.
Compared to the first one, Rocky II is just as good. It gives the audience closure on Rocky's journey from Philly bum to American hero. As the sequels progressively got more and more corny, a lot of that original charm and optimistic attitude started to fade away. Luckily, this film kept it alive and stands as a fantastic sequel and an entertaining film.