John Wick 2 is the perfect example of how to nail a sequel. Give the fans more of everything they loved in the first one: the action, the awesome fight scenes and the extremely dry humour before proceeding to delve into the mythology of the world they had created in the first. Honestly, the film doesn’t seem to put a foot wrong, so let’s get into what makes this a must see movie.
Chad Stahelski returns in directing Keanu Reeves in some of the most badass, realistic and purely entertaining action sequences in the past few years. With John Wick 2 being his second film he’s ever directed (the first John Wick being his directional debut), Stahelski relies on his background as a stunt coordinator developed through working on some of the most legendary action films like Matrix, 300, and Die Hard. John Wick will go down as one of the most realistic action heroes because of a single feat that the action genre is typically oblivious to – reloading weapons. Yep, at some point the bullets in his gun runs our and what do you know, he needs to pick up a new one or reload before he can start killing wave after wave of enemies.
John Wick also gets tired and suffers from exhaustion. The constant blows to the body and head, the bullet wounds, the knife wounds, all take a toll on the character in such a way that leaves you consistently impressed whenever he manages to kill the next enemy. It’s that fear of death that sets John Wick apart from other films, because with every fight comes the possibility that it may be the last. This film is the very definition of action that leaves you “on the edge of your seat.”
The mythology of the film, which was a minor strength in the first installment, has become a major drawing point of the sequel. In the original film, we are only provided glimpses into this underground world of assassins for hire. The second continues the mystique, again not giving us that full 10 minute dialogue sequence explaining the mysterious world that we say we want yet would be extremely disappointed if it actually did happen. Instead we feel as though we’ve entered this incredible story mid way through and we crave to know what happened from the beginning. The act of drawing the audience into the world is one of the biggest strengths of this film franchise.
My main concern with John Wick 2 is the ending. I know the title of the article says spoiler free, so I’ll explain my problem in the most spoiler free manner. There’s going to be a third film. That’s my issue. It’s a problem that happens with all second films in a trilogy or a universe. The entire point of John Wick 2, although an extremely enjoyable spectacle, seems to be a set up for a third film. The ending feels as though the writers were unable to figure out how to complete the story and so they left it open ended and ambiguous so another movie can follow. Maybe I’m just being too cynical here, who knows?
Does this ruin John Wick 2 for me? Absolutely not. John Wick 2 stands out as one of the better action movies of the past decade. The movie is good enough that the last minutes should not have a significant impact on what you think about the rest of the movie. All I can hope for is that the inevitable third movie delivers with a badass ending I’ve been craving.