By DAN REITER
While Dan Sileo loves to give me grief about the movies I have not seen “Rocky” has always stood out to me. For a city like Philadelphia to love the hero so much must mean that this movie is pretty special right?
I had only seen one of the “Rocky” movies before, number IV, and to be honest I was not impressed (a surprise to many). But that is the fourth movie and the original tends to be the best.
Unfortunately I had learned what the ending was and worried that it may ruin the meaning of the movie. But Dan told me to find the essence of “Rocky” and I dove headfirst into the challenge.
For me, the main theme of the movie was the fight Rocky battled for respect.
The movie started off slowly, sort of like an actual boxing fight. Just like how fighters start to feel each other out, the viewer is trying to figure out Rocky. He jokes around constantly and never seems to get too serious but as the movie continues, you start to see his intensity.
No one takes him seriously, not even Rocky himself. When he is chosen to fight Apollo Creed, he did not agree right away and while he tries to put on a tough face through all the insults, you see them take their toll on Rocky, climaxing in an encounter with Mickey.
The character who seems to keep him grounded is Adrian who, after her early awkwardness, becomes the true believer in Rocky. And as the fight gets closer and closer and the pressure raises, Adrian does not give up on him.
While the fight goes on through the rounds, Rocky stays tough; taking hit after hit from the Champ and not backing down. In the penultimate round, Rocky finally wins the battle.
After being knocked down for what appears to be the final time, he climbs back up for more, a surprise to many including Creed, who is celebrating his premature victory. With the uplifting music in the background, I started to feel my eyes water (just a little) as Rocky gets back to his feet and throws more powerful punches at an astonished and embattled Creed.
It is that point where he truly wins the real battle of the movie. Fans start chanting his name and the cheers for Rocky drown out the announcement of Apollo winning.
And, fittingly, the movie ends with Rocky yelling for Adrian who comes to his side, the person who stood by him through the trying time.
He has finally won respect even from himself.