"Somebody Get This Man...a Gun"
Hah! You thought this blog was only going to be for video games? You know me not, then! My endless consumption of pop-culture is like a black hole. It knows no end, no matter the genre or medium. On that note, I saw John Wick: Chapter 2.
I walked into John Wick: Chapter 2 (henceforth referred to as "John Wick 2") thinking that its existence as a sequel was unnecessary. "Surely the first movie exists well enough as a stand-alone title," I thought, as I threw myself into my theater seat. "Surely they couldn't top the action of the first film!"
I was wrong, dear reader. I was so wrong.
John Wick 2 takes literally everything that was great about the first film and cranks it up to 11. The fight scenes are more impressive, the world's lore is expanded upon, and by the film's end, my pulse was racing from the excitement. It is, without question, a "Very Good MovieTM."
The movie starts with a bang, with John working on getting his car back. I enjoyed the self-referential humor in this scene ("a pencil! How can anyone do that!?"), and it does well to establish the character quickly for viewers who haven't watched the first film 8 times over like I have. In case you missed it, John is back. Keanu Reeves is as great as usual - when given the right role, he shines. He excels at looking cool killing people in suits, and I found his stilted delivery of lines to work in favor of his character - John Wick doesn't strike me as the type to be very well spoken.
John is then once again reluctantly thrust into the criminal underworld he continues to attempt to move away from, to perform a mission based on a blood oath. "Do this, and you will be free," John's keeper says. Of course, things are never this easy.
What follows are a series of amazing acrobatic feats and "gun-fu" that will have you clenching your fists in anticipation. And I really want to emphasize the camera work here: Every shot in John Wick 2 feels deliberate, painstakingly crafted in a way that most American action films simply aren't. I marveled at the lighting in some scenes and was impressed with how busy the choreography got without ever feeling hectic or overdone. I knew what was going on every scene. Unlike, say...some films...
The music is also fantastic, and noticeable in the way it integrates itself into the narrative. From the pulsing club beats to the more restrained piano melodies, every note has its purpose, and buildup and breakdown are used to effectively establish the mood.
One moment in particular that stuck out to me: When John Wick is getting his car back, the music amps up. Near the beginning of the scene, he puts the car in reverse, and the music rewinds with him! I mentioned this to my roommate after we saw the film, and he said he didn't notice it. But I think that helps solidify how great the moment is - it didn't need to happen. And they did it anyways! That's craft, you guys.
That sense of careful consideration extends to the lore of John Wick's world as well. It's the small things, like finding out who's making the coins that are the assassins' form of currency, or who exactly runs the organization of killers, or finding out how targets are decided and bounties placed. There isn't some extended monolog describing all of these aspects of the movie's universe - they're just there, for you to consider as you'd like.
I'm trying not to get too entrenched in this film's plot devices, or describe its action scenes because I believe they should be seen and not described (it's also my first time writing a film review, so take that into consideration, heh). That said, you shouldn't hesitate to watch John Wick: Chapter 2, especially if you were a fan of the first film. It is more than worth the price of admission, and I can't wait to see what John does next.