Matt Wooldridge’s review published on Letterboxd:
This movie gets better with every viewing. And it’s now my kids favourite Rocky movie (I can’t blame em). Coogler’s direction is some of the best the franchise has seen, and the single shot fight easily the most visually arresting of all these films.
People can bag out sequels in general, and in a lot of cases, rightfully so. But one of the things I love about sequels, when done right, is the history they build on. A lot of stories in film are perfect as one-off’s - certainly the majority. And in this case, 1976’s Rocky was a perfect single story so good it even brought home the Best Picture Oscar.
Making a sequel to Rocky would have been a cash-in primarily, but at least not obviously, with Stallone attempting to add further dimension to his character. And he managed to do this every time, adding more layers with each film in the franchise. And even in 2006, out of nowhere, Stallone found another reason to return to the well and finish off the series with one of its best films.
But for Ryan Coogler, all of that cinematic history was just a starting point for the story of Adonis Creed. And this is what I love about sequels, and in this case, also a reboot: that Coogler gets to use those six films over thirty years as a dramatically charged foundation. And you can feel it in the film’s opening minutes.
Thankfully the rest of the film holds up on its own merits and is a worthy addition to the timeline. Coogler walks that fine line of rebooting but also honouring the templates that came before. He’s got a powerhouse cast at his disposal, and this time I noticed how much they actually add to Rocky’s character, which is a wonderful thing to see after 7 films.