BOXING DAY: Ranking ALL The Rocky / Creed Films - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

BOXING DAY: Ranking ALL The Rocky / Creed Films

The world of boxing, while raw and unyielding, has, over the years, become a silver screen legend through the lens of the Rocky and Creed films. It’s an understatement to say that the cinematic journey of Rocky Balboa has seen highs, lows, and everything in between. In this retrospective, we lace up our gloves, step into the ring, and look back at the movies that have defined generations, before ranking them in order of box office success and personal preference...

Rocky (1976) Released on November 21, 1976, this underdog tale directed by John G. Avildsen managed to secure its place in the pantheon of movie classics. It spun the story of a small-time Philadelphia boxer, Rocky Balboa, who gets an unlikely shot at the heavyweight championship. Despite being made on a shoestring budget of $1 million, the film grossed $117 million in the US and an astonishing $225 million globally. Sylvester Stallone, who was then a struggling actor, wrote the script and took the lead, embodying the true spirit of the underdog both on and off the screen. The iconic Bill Conti track, "Gonna Fly Now," became the anthem for those facing insurmountable odds. A review from Variety once remarked, "It's a sleeper." And awake it did, making the world root for Rocky.

Rocky II (1979) Following the unprecedented success of the original, the sequel released on June 15, 1979, was a necessary venture. Stallone took the director's chair this time around, weaving a narrative of redemption. The sequel dives deep into Rocky's life post his newfound fame and his rematch with Apollo Creed. While it grossed $85 million in the US and $200 million globally, some argued it lacked the fresh spontaneity of its predecessor. A critic from Rolling Stone noted, "It fails to hit the mark set by its predecessor, but is a knockout nonetheless."

Rocky III (1982) By its third installment, the series needed a fresh challenge. Released on May 28, 1982, Stallone directed a tale of pride, fall, and redemption. Introducing Mr. T as Clubber Lang, the antagonist, and having Hulk Hogan cameo, the movie attempted to stay relevant. The soundtrack had the unforgettable "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor, adding aural gold to the mix. With a gross of $125 million in the US and $270 million globally, it was financially successful. Yet, some felt it tread familiar grounds. The New York Times aptly observed, "It has a sequel's air of superfluity."

Rocky IV (1985) Cold War tensions were ripe in the '80s, and on November 27, 1985, Rocky IV capitalized on this, pitting Balboa against the Soviet machine, Ivan Drago. Directed again by Stallone, the film had our protagonist avenging Apollo's death. It raked in $128 million domestically and $300 million globally. The soundtrack, featuring James Brown’s "Living in America," added panache. However, some argued the film felt more spectacle than substance. Los Angeles Times mentioned, "While it packs a punch, it lacks the heart."

Rocky V (1990) Released on November 16, 1990, and directed by the original's Avildsen, this entry saw a retired Rocky, battling brain damage, taking under his wing a young boxer. The movie was not the commercial success its predecessors were, grossing $41 million in the US and $120 million globally. Critics and fans felt it strayed too far from its roots. Entertainment Weekly lamented, "It misses the knockout punch."

Rocky Balboa (2006) Sixteen years later, on December 20, 2006, Stallone returned to wrap up Rocky's story. The film, seeing an aging Balboa coming out of retirement, was a poignant reflection on age and legacy. Earning $70 million in the US and $156 million globally, it was seen as a fitting end. The Guardian praised it saying, "It recaptures the original's spirit."

Creed (2015) A soft reboot of sorts, Creed released on November 25, 2015. Directed by the brilliant Ryan Coogler, known for Fruitvale Station, the story follows Apollo's son, Adonis, trained by Rocky. It was a passing of the torch. Earning $110 million in the US and $174 million globally, the film was lauded for its fresh take. The Chicago Tribune exclaimed, "It's a knockout!"

Creed II (2018) On November 21, 2018, the legacy continued. Directed by Steven Caple Jr., it saw Adonis confronting his father's legacy and fighting Drago's son. Earning $116 million domestically and $214 million globally, it balanced nostalgia with new direction. TIME magazine stated, "It pays homage while looking ahead."

Creed III (2018)

Taking the baton from Stallone, Michael B. Jordan made his directorial debut as he transitioned into a dual role of star and director. Like its predecessors the movie was a box office success, grossing over $275 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing of the three Creed films (to date).

Each film, in its own right, holds a mirror to the times they were made in, reflecting societal sentiments, personal battles, and the ever-present quest for glory. From the iconic steps of Philadelphia to the intense training montages, from the roars of "Adrian!" to the legacy of Creed, this series is a testament to the human spirit.

So now let's rank all the films! Firstly, based on both box office performance (allowing for inflation) and general cultural impact...

  1. Rocky (1976): The one that started it all, it's iconic and beloved by many. Its box office success and subsequent Best Picture Oscar win makes it the crown jewel of the franchise.

  2. Rocky IV (1985): The Cold War setting and the Balboa vs. Drago showdown made it a massive hit, both culturally and financially.

  3. Creed III (2023): Box office take alone suggests audiences are still very much engaged with the underdog story and craving more action from the franchise.

  4. Creed (2015): This soft reboot managed to capture the spirit of the original while introducing new characters and dynamics, gaining significant acclaim and box office success.

  5. Rocky III (1982): With "Eye of the Tiger" as its anthem and introducing Mr. T, this installment is hard to forget.

  6. Rocky II (1979): A direct continuation of the first movie's story, it was well-received though some argue it doesn't quite reach the heights of the original.

  7. Creed II (2018): Building on the success of its predecessor and revisiting old rivalries, it performed well at the box office and with fans.

  8. Rocky Balboa (2006): A return to form for the character after a long hiatus, it was a nostalgic and fitting closure for many fans.

  9. Rocky V (1990): Unfortunately, this installment is often viewed as the weakest link, both in terms of storytelling and box office performance.

Remember, while this ranking is based on factors like box office returns and cultural impact, individual preferences can vary widely, and many fans have their own unique ranking based on personal tastes.

And here is mine, a personal preference ranking based on the merits of the films, the cultural impact, and storytelling. Do note, however, that this is a subjective interpretation based on the analysis of their merits:

  1. Rocky (1976): The one that started it all remains the most impactful. Its raw portrayal of an underdog's journey, coupled with stellar performances and iconic scenes, sets it apart. It’s not just about boxing but about life’s struggles and how we confront them.

  2. Creed (2015): This soft reboot manages to recapture the magic of the original Rocky while introducing a new narrative arc. Michael B. Jordan's performance as Adonis Creed breathes fresh life into the franchise.

  3. Rocky Balboa (2006): The emotional depth in this installment is commendable. It tackles themes of aging, legacy, and the drive to prove oneself against the odds, making it more than just a sports drama.

  4. Rocky IV (1985): Despite its overt '80s Cold War sentiments, the film offers unforgettable moments, especially the showdown with Drago. It’s also thematically rich, exploring ideas of vengeance and national pride.

  5. Rocky II (1979): A worthy follow-up, it builds upon the characters we've come to love while offering a satisfying rematch between Rocky and Apollo.

  6. Creed III (2013): Bringing Jonathan Majors into the franchise certainly helps the movie, but the absence of Stallone is felt.

  7. Creed II (2018): An engaging continuation, the movie dives into Adonis's grappling with his father's legacy while also exploring themes of redemption and family.

  8. Rocky III (1982): Although memorable for its introduction of Clubber Lang and the anthem "Eye of the Tiger," the narrative tends to tread familiar grounds.

  9. Rocky V (1990): This entry, while trying to bring a different perspective by focusing on Rocky's mentoring of a young boxer, often feels disjointed from the core ethos of the series.

Of course, these rankings are inherently subjective, and different viewers might have varying preferences based on personal experiences and connections to the movies.

Whichever is your favourite film in the Rocky franchise, let's lift a Boxing Day glass and say cheers to the fighters, the underdogs, and the champions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad