Written by: Rob Van Winkle, CC2K Staff Writer
I missed Talia Shire's Adrian character, but in retrospect, Sly needed to write her out of the story, if only to let his Philadelphia hero explore a new dimension in his life: twilight love. Some critics lamented the "chaste" romance between Rocky and Geraldine Hughes' Marie, but I found that to be the most realistically paced part of the narrative. So many movies insist we believe that romances unfold at the same pace as the main story — but they don't.
Stallone had the good instinct to let Rocky and Marie ease into their courtship, because they simply had to. Rocky is too damaged to rush into another relationship — not while he keeps a chair tucked between the branches of a tree by his wife's grave — and Marie is too smart to rush the one viable candidate for love she's had in some time.
Rocky Balboa reminded me of the early movies, Rocky and Rocky II. The character of Rocky had his old sense of humor back (which I loved), and gone was the MTV Rocky — the superhero of the glistening pecs and armored codpieces of Rocky III and IV.
As a fellow screenwriter, I could see, could feel Stallone fight to rediscover this character. A few years and a few flops made Sly hungry again, and it produced wonderful scenes like when Rocky declines to say hello to Marie's son, then immediately thinks better of it and turns around to say hi. Remember when I said that Stallone let Rocky explore twilight love? Well, he also lets Rocky prove that old dogs can indeed learn new tricks, and that it's never too late to change, no matter who you are or how old you are.