An alarming number of legacy sequels appear to exist solely for the sake of squeezing as much cash as possible out of a lucrative property, instead of genuinely justifiable storytelling reasons. There are exceptions to the rule, though, and Rocky Balboa is most definitely one of them.
Even the most vociferous supporters of the Italian Stallion will surely admit that Rocky V was a damp squib, and it’s entirely fair that the underwhelming would-be conclusion to the iconic franchise is both the worst-reviewed and least popular of them all. It was a terrible way for the legendary pugilist to go out, but thankfully, nobody loves revisiting a role quite like Sylvester Stallone.
16 years after his last hurrah, the veteran star returned to write, direct, and headline a fitting farewell for the title hero, which of course didn’t turn out to be a farewell at all given that he returned once again a decade later for Creed and its sequel. That’s not the point, because Rocky Balboa brought the curtain down on the boxer’s in-ring career spectacularly.
Heartfelt, emotional, and a damn sight more grounded than the last few installments, Rocky is convinced to end his longtime retirement to take part in an exhibition bout, stirring up old feelings he’d long since thought forgotten forever. A critical and commercial smash hit at the time, it’s now circled back around to punch the streaming charts square in the mush.
Per FlixPatrol, Rocky Balboa has surged to become one of the most-watched titles on iTunes, even if it’s going to sting come next year when he doesn’t appear in Michael B. Jordan’s Creed III, something Sly isn’t too happy about.