In my Rocky review I said I feel the first film mostly serves as an introduction to the characters. This movie appears to support that observation as it expands on the story of the original and it really feels like the two films were planned as at least a two part series.
I like this film more than the first film for this very reason. Everything is a lot more personal to the characters now. Rocky and Apollo have an actual rivalry, Rocky and Adrian’s romance is stronger and Rocky actually has a conflict between these two relationships and a serious consequence to worry about due to his injuries from the first film. It’s these things that make this a better film in my opinion.
I didn’t talk about the romance in my review of the first film. I did find Rocky’s behavior on their first date to be a bit creepy but their scenes as an actual couple were quite sweet so I wasn’t sure what to think. In this film their relationship has an important effect on Rocky’s character arc and has more attention.
There’s also two montages this time, well a montage and a jogging scene anyway. Like before the use of existing themes is a neat touch. Honestly with Rocky and Adrian’s engagement being in front of a tiger and Rocky wearing a tiger jacket for most of the film I was expecting this to be one to include Eye of the Tiger but it does mean when we do get to that theme it’ll have that same connection to Rocky’s character that the other two have.
The fight itself as well as being more personal also was shot a lot better, these things along with the risks to Rocky’s health made it a much more interesting fight to watch, especially with Apollo being more personally involved himself. I’m curious to see what Rocky and Apollo’s interactions will be like in the next films since this does appear to be the end of their rivalry. Guess I’ll find out later today.