I mean, hadn’t this franchise exhausted itself? What would the plot line be? Rocky donning his gloves one last time to fight for the last pudding cup at his retirement community?
My son was adamant that I at least watch the trailer on YouTube, and something about the music and the opening sequence made the cynic in me disappear. Suddenly it was 1976, and I was just a kid in a movie theater in Queens, NY. Before the announcer said “round one,” I was hooked.
Along with my husband, my son and I were the first three people on line at our local theater for the pre-Thanksgiving preview night. We were so excited, I could not imagine the movie living up to the hype we had built in our minds, but it did — and more.
While I was bummed the Hollywood Foreign Press chose not to recognize the movie as a whole or the star, Michael B. Jordan, I was happy to see that they did give a well-deserved nomination to supporting actor Sylvester Stallone. The original Rocky has a tough job in this movie: remind us why we fell in love with this character over 30 years ago while also handing the torch — or rather the gloves — to the next generation.
Here are five reasons Sylvester Stallone deserves to win the Golden Globe
In the previous chapter of this movie saga, Rocky Balboa (2006), Rocky is still the star and still fighting. At the time, the actor was in his late 50s, so the premise was absurd and the plot was not believable. In this movie, Stallone is in his late 60s, and he plays a man in his late 60s. In fact, when he first comes onto the screen, both my husband and I gasped audibly at how old Stallone looked. It is the way you look at your parents. You know they are getting older, but sometimes you see them and you really see that they are getting older. It’s that real vulnerability that makes this movie soar like the first Rocky. No pretenses, no Photoshop or magic camera lenses. We knew this man when he was young, and he is allowing us to see him as he as he is now, which is a very brave choice by Stallone.
Although my son billed the movie as a Rocky sequel, this is definitely more of an original story about a young boxer named Creed — the son of Rocky’s original opponent, Apollo Creed — played by Michael B. Jordan. The viewer cares about Jordan’s character immediately because we feel we know him through Rocky and their shared history. Stallone does a great job of sharing the stage with Jordan, teaching him what he knows and then moving off to the side of the ring to let Jordan lead. The relationship builds at a believable pace because of the chemistry between Jordan and Stallone.
Creed is the story of Rocky the mentor, not Rocky the fighter. We care about the young Creed character from the start due to his lineage. Rocky doesn’t want to train Creed, but ultimately does because he sees that same spirit and tenacity he himself had at that age. Without saying it, Rocky seems to be channeling the spirit of his own trainer, friend and mentor — the beloved Mickey. Stallone makes this transition seamlessly.
A lot has changed since we first met Rocky. He is comfortable poking fun at himself and everything he doesn’t know about today’s generation. Stallone’s ease at comedy makes the jokes clever and not contrived.
Rocky was dubbed the “Italian Stallion” back when he fought the original Creed in 1976. Now he is a much older Stallion. Stallone moves like an older boxer who has taken a lot of hits, both in the ring and in life. He is shown eating meals alone, talking to his deceased wife and accepting that his best years may be behind him. As the movie progresses, Rocky becomes a fighter again, but not in the ring. Rocky battles the fierce opponent of cancer, and he does it in a real and raw way. Stallone allows himself to be shown weak and vulnerable.
By the end of the movie, you can’t help but cheer both Creed and Stallone on to victory. I hope that on Golden Globe night, he is holding the title of best supporting actor.
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