WHAT I LIKED: By the start of 'Rocky III,' the working-class hero Rocky Balboa has turned into the civil, commercialised figure of his original opponent, but when a new challenge comes his way, he's forced to confront the fear that his win was as contrived as his losses, and that he'll always be the poor Philadelphia man he started out as. That's one brave and interesting direction for the story to go in as it somewhat undermines the heroic stuff of its predecessor, but what it does by the third act is successfully distil all the simple class politics of before and take a step back to truly portray the sport as something that anyone can succeed in if they try hard enough. We see Creed's original gym in a run-down district of LA and we see Rocky regaining the raw fire he's clearly lost, and the fact that the third act is all about showing how mere grit and determination is all that's needed makes for one pretty intense brawl at the end. Overall then, this really is another great sequel, and the story arguably takes a more interesting and bold direction that number two.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: It does take a while for the film to get to its point. That's not necessarily a problem of course, but until it does it's quite hard to root for Rocky, and when it does the pivotal conversation lacks the desired impact in its execution. This all amounts to a situation where it's harder to root for the characters, even though the whole thing is still really about Rocky's arc.
VERDICT: A sequel that arguably takes a more interesting direction than its immediate predecessor, 'Rocky III,' has a great story, but it's one where it's initially harder to root for the character.