I went into this without ever having seen a previous Rocky movie, and still liked it quite a lot. There were definitely some times when I felt like I was missing details that would have helped me understand what was going on, but the movie stood decently on its own and I don't think those details impeded my understanding of the emotional truth of it even if I didn't get all the plot/character intricacies. Michael B. Jordan was phenomenal as Donnie, and I can now join the rest of the Internet in outrage over his lack of Best Actor nomination. (I might have also nominated Tessa Thompson as Supporting Actress.) I don't really care about boxing, but I loved this found-family story, and the way the main characters messed up in realistic ways while still being basically good and caring about each other. And absolutely my favorite thing about the movie was the way the love interest Bianca (Thompson) had her own life and own career completely separate from boxing, and the way Donnie was so supportive of that. WELL DONE, Creed.
Availability: Still in a few theaters.
Actor in a Supporting Role: It's honestly tough to think about this without letting the fact that he was nominated and Jordan was not affect my feelings, but Stallone did do quite a good job here. It must be tough to return to such an iconic role and play the character in a different stage of his life (and through a serious illness) in a way that is both believable for the new version of the character while still feeling like genuinely the same person as the old version.