The first John Wick movie was a great surprise. It had great action, great world building and no extraneous stuff. It was a simple story told well. The second film has great action, great world building, and some extraneous stuff. And everything does take a hit from sequelitis, the need to make sequels bigger and better.
The good parts. The world is still fantastically interesting. The action is still great. The plot is still straightforward. No need for romance or making new relations for John Wick. Everyone he meets is an old acquaintance, so they can skip the random greetings and gettting to know each other part. They will skip right to the action.
Now, the following will be complaints I have about the movie. While it may seem like a lot, the movie is still really fun and filled with action all the way through. It’s just a bit more fantastical when compared to the first film. The shift in tone isn’t large, but it is noticeable. I mean, there are several funny scenes in this film, intentionally so. I don’t remember any in the original film.
This movie, though, almost feels like a parody at times. John Wick pretty much only speaks with people from Continental. That means everyone is super professional and they have lots of double speak. In the first film, they had a good amount of normal dialogue between John and the various characters. Not so in the second one.
There is also a ridiculous gun scene (which I liked). I won’t spoil it too much, but I will say it includes silencers. There also seems to be more assassins or people involved in that world than regular people now!
John also got a huge upgrade in skills and durability. In the first one, he was sort of like peak human. Now he’s practically super human. You could say that in the first movie, he’s only 50% back, and now he’s 100% back, but still. I didn’t think he was great at close combat in the first one. Above average, sure, but not wipe the floor with everyone. Here, he’s one man army-ing even without guns.
The action also gets video-gamey at times. There’s too many enemies now, so John Wick gets super body armor. The other guys get nothing, even if it looks like they’re wearing something. John mows down more people than ever all while surviving worse than before.
I really like the new characters, though. Cassian, played by Common, is great. He has the only legitimate reason for going after John. The character played by Ruby Rose is fun, too. The mute thing works out for a different and interesting character. It somehow has no detriment despite her being the leader and needing to call shots.
The main bad guy this time is just as punchable as the son from the previous film. Yeah, he does feel more like the son rather than the father, though he has respect and a lot more competent people working for him at least. He is really effective at being a personal bane to John, though.
There are still a bunch of beautifully shot scenes in the film. A lot of the background and set design is stunning, the Rome scenes in particular. Everything is still really clean, crisp and sharp. This movie still has a lot going for it. It just cranks thing up a bit too far from the original. Still, I enjoyed it, and the film kept up a good pace. Keanu Reeves is still great as John Wick. Most surviving characters return for an appearance. I think the bartender is the only one that doesn’t return.
Hoping for a John Wick 3.