Looking back at the Sylvester Stallone pugilist franchise from the end of the line, one thing becomes clear: there were really only two Rocky movies. Everything else was filler, founded on formula and driven by testosterone and adrenaline. The two real films - those that used boxing as a metaphor rather than a means to an end and that focused on human drama - were the 1977 Oscar winner that started things off and, perhaps surprisingly, Rocky Balboa, the seeming afterthought that brings the saga to a fitting conclusion. These two features are solid bookends around a mess of a series that started going wrong when Rocky beat Apollo Creed in a re-match and got worse from there.
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