Is John Wick 4 worth the hype?

Well, here’s a series that I didn’t think I’d enjoy as much as I did. John Wick is a series of films that follow the titular Wick on a revenge rampage that eventually leads to some disastrous consequences for the entire assassin ecosystem in the film’s universe. And seeing how we’ll be discussing the John Wick 4, this is your spoiler warning for John Wick 1-3.

John Wick, from the offset does something that would prove disastrous for any other franchise, it deifies its main character. Wick is an intense, rather silent character who is revered by everyone around him. He’s the boogeyman, as scary as they come, a character it should be impossible to root for. 

Should be, but isn’t. We care for Wick because he’s not shown to be unreasonable or irrational. He’s just a guy trying to live his life and put his past behind him. Life just doesn’t seem to work out for him. And by the end of the third film we see him decide to take on this whole system head on, peace be damned.

The Man The Myth The Legend – John Wick

Why Does John Wick Work?

Apart from Keanu Reeves’ performance as Wick, the reason these films work is because of the action. More specifically, the commitment the series shows to its action. The way each fight scene could so easily have been the same thing over and over again, but it’s not. Each fight is choreographed to be add more tension as each film progresses.

The same is true of John Wick 4. The action is fantastic. There’s one scene in particular that gives us a look at the action from a very different angle that adds a whole other dimension. Another aspect of it is the way blood-spatter is shown. It’s always pronounced to highlight the impact of any gunshot or stab wound. It adds an element of realism, of consequences to these films that for the most part seem implausible, at best.

The franchise, even in its 4th outing manages to keep things fresh. Just when you think you’ve seen everything they have to offer, Chad Stahelski and team will find a way to surprise you. Everyone who’s a part of John Wick seems to really love what they’re doing and that does translate to the screen.

The films also have the benefit of being set in a universe that has an entire assassin ecosystem. John Wick 4 expands on the intricacies of this universe with the primary conflict of the film relying on the rules that Wick and his associates have broken and subsequently the cost of breaking the rules.

Thoughts on John Wick 4

To me, John Wick 4 was one of the most gorgeous and most cinematic of the lot. Paris has never looked better. The colours really pop and I couldn’t get enough of the colour palette. Some of it reminded me of The Batman (2022) and that’s the highest compliment I can offer any film at the moment. 

The action is creative, it’s as intense as ever and Keanu Reeves always brings his A game. Another highlight in this film was Donnie Yen as Caine. There’s a particular action sequence centered around a staircase that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

The part I’m not completely sold on is the story. I know the story isn’t why anyone’s watching John Wick but I think this one particularly doesn’t try at all. The first 30 minutes are painful to go through, that also happens to be the ‘plot’ part of this film. I know the primary concern of John Wick 4 is not to tell a complex story but an effort would have been appreciated. 

The further expansion of the universe is also not done in a way that feels organic or satisfying. I’m not sure I want to know too much about the High Table, it’s supposed to have some mystery about it and further explanations and clarifications only end up taking away from what has already been set up. 

There’s a part of this movie that reduces the central conflict to something a lot more simplistic and much less interesting. There’s a balance that needs to be maintained with the John Wick movies and the involvement of the larger assassin universe at play. This one misses the mark on that front in favour of a typical mustache twirling villain in Bill Skarsgard’s Marquis de Gramont. 

And yet, John Wick 4 has probably the most entertaining, high intensity encounter of Wick and the High Table. The film keeps you at the edge of your seat till the very last second. 

Is it worth the hype?

John Wick 4 is a mixed bag. The highs are really high and the lows put me to sleep. I enjoyed it more than I didn’t, so for me, yes the hype is worth it! Each frame is visually stunning. The characters feel like an extension of the world and it’s a pleasant ride. 

Ultimately, I think this film does a great job of providing a conclusion to this series. It feels like a complete story. But maybe I would have liked to leave the theater with a little more to chew on.

It reminded me a little of a 1980s action film but with modern technology and very few movies these days manage to do that these days. Capture the essence of the genre so succinctly. 

So yes, the hype is deserved. Go watch it if you’re interested in the John Wick series.

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