Packed with nostalgia, updated with contemporary social values and modern directing styles, acted superbly by everyone, beautiful action shots, excellent soundtrack, this film immerses you into the feeling one can only get when immersed in a Rocky film. It feels raw, and it feels real, but does not denigrate the sometimes ludicrous scenarios that took place in the previous films; it honors them. It's an homage for those who want it to be an homage, and yet it stands alone as an excellent film and story.
For me, it was as if we took the first Rocky film, and he training with Mickey, but we don't actually know there were five films in the 50s that follow Mickey's boxing career. You can introduce a whole new audience and generation to that FEELING, and that's amazing. Characterization is on par, storytelling is on par, and in its own way, it does rise above the source material, but maybe I feel that way because I didn't watch the source material until I was an adult, and I missed out on the childhood nostalgia of the films from my generation. In that way, it feels dated, so the way this is acted and shot it feels fresher. One shouldn't equate that with better. I don't feel it's divisive in that way, setting out to anger the original audience.
It's a an absolutely great film, regardless of which audience you come from. It will please everyone. In that, it may seem almost "bland" to some because it doesn't take risks in any one direction. However, I don't think that's what this project set out to do. I'm sure I don't make any sense, I'm just rambling. I don't really know what I'm talking about, but I really enjoyed this.