Director: Ryan Coogler
Year Released: 2015
Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), the biological son of the late boxer Apollo Creed (see: Carl Weathers in the early Rocky movies), leaves his comfortable life in Los Angeles (with his birth mother) to train in good ol' Philadelphia under his Pop's old pal/foe Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), who is at first reluctant to act as his coach ... but eventually relents. Sweet as a love poem to the City of Brotherly Love and the Rocky franchise as a whole, even if it does become overly sentimental at times (Rocky reading the newspaper in front of his dead wife and dead friend Paulie's graves, Adonis and Rocky ascending the Philadelphia Art Museum's steps at the conclusion) and follows the first Rocky script a tad too closely: Adonis does, in fact, lose his major fight to "Pretty" Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellew), setting up even more sequels for the future. Not enough can be said about the supporting performances, though: Stallone's character, now diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is a hardened but downtrodden mentor while Tessa Thompson's Bianca (who sings at a personal hangout, Johnny Brenda's), even with her limited screen time, is a marvelous companion for the hero: I firmly believe Thompson will end up being one of the best actresses of her generation in time to come.