Unpopular Opinion: Only John Wick #1 was good.

Avatar image for monkeyking1969
#1 Edited by MonkeyKing1969 (7610 posts) -

I actually like only the first John Wick movie. I know unpopular opinion, but it’s true. The first movie was simple, direct and just gave a tiny glimpse at a world that has some rules...but they are not rules to show the underworld has some ‘values’ and structure...so just sit back because it’s still a revenge flick.

However, all the subsequent movies go crazy with the ‘secret society of assassins’ world building - the world has too many rule. You cannot fight or kill here, here or here; but you can fight here on alternate Thursdays after cocktail hour.

... Of course unless otherwise specified by a 'ruling elite' who the anarcho-syndicalist commune you could fight on a Wednesday. Because the elected officers of the ‘secret assassins guild’ take turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week. : But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting. By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,--

SHUT UP!

The world of John Wick is just dumb, because they try to explain it more or fill out the world unnecararrily. What was so wrong with an ex-hit-man comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that killed his dog and took everything from him? The first rule in the first movie is easy...you don't fuck with someone who was 'made' or part of the system. John was retired, but he was not to be fucked with like civilians (i.e. Common people, normie) - "Organized crime- 101" level stuff. John says, "You gotta fix this" and they say fuck off. So, he kills everyone. However, as soon as the second movie they lay on the "wacky-weird world" on too thick and it ruins the other movies. Suddenly, everyone is a "character” out of a 1990s David Lynch film - it is world building gone amuck. The producers/writers think it is all very clever; but, it is just dumb.

Avatar image for the_greg
#2 Posted by The_Greg (543 posts) -

Both of those films are fun. They don't need to be clever to be enjoyed. I wouldn't get so worked up about it, either way.

Avatar image for humanity
#3 Posted by Humanity (18846 posts) -

I agree in that John Wick 1 was a right action movie that made jus enough sense to be fun and not think about it too hard. In contrast I thought John Wick 2 went way too far into that secret society stuff and suit jackets blocking submachine gun fire etc. the sequel definitely had its moments but I do enjoy the first film more.

Avatar image for liquiddragon
#4 Posted by liquiddragon (3447 posts) -

What if they're all not good?

Avatar image for bladeofcreation
#5 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1367 posts) -

I liked the second one more, because of the action and the world-building. To be sure, a secret society of assassins IS absurd (there simply aren't that many assassinations that occur to support such an economy!), but this movie goes for it in a way that's entertaining. The choreography of the fight scenes is just incredible, and that's the main reason I'm here.

Avatar image for deathstriker
#6 Posted by Deathstriker (1175 posts) -

Isn't there only one other movie besides the first one? The third one isn't out yet. It's not like you're saying there's only one good James Bond or Marvel movie. John Wick is all about the action and style, both are good action movies to me. Both of them helped change and save action scenes from the lame Bourne style that's too close up and has a bunch of cuts.

Avatar image for fear_the_booboo
#7 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (1087 posts) -

I found the second one to have a better visual aesthetic. The story’s dumb in both movies but I appreciate the more fantastical take on assassins over just plain Russian gangs and stuff.

The real hot take for me is that John Wick movies are totally fine, better than most even, but in a world where Mad Max: Fury Road or the Raid 2 exist, John Wick is not the second coming of action cinema it was praised to be.

Avatar image for hassun
#9 Edited by hassun (10002 posts) -

Even more unpopular opinion, John Wick 1 is good but not great. What it does have is 2 amazing action sequences. 1 being the home invasion early on and 2 being the entire nightclub sequence from Kevin Nash to Wick walking out the front door. You could add a third if you include the Perkins stuff at the hotel. Nothing after it even comes close to living up to the choreography and style of sequence 2 and the film just kind of peters out.

The second film never even comes close to reaching the peak JW1 reached with sequence 1 or sequence 2 and I don't like the tonal shift the film made to almost full-on video game instead of the mysterious and tacticool stuff from the first film. It's a very different thing. Some people like it, some don't. The climactic action scene in the hall of mirrors was also a letdown.

Sequence 2 from the first film deserves to be in the action film hall of fame though. No question.

Loading Video...

Avatar image for imhungry
#10 Posted by imhungry (1130 posts) -

I mean I'll agree that 1 was better than 2 but why are you talking as if there's an entire series of movies that were somehow ruined by 2? There's been 2. You can have the opinion that 2 was worse because of the world building sure but it's pretty hard for a movie to be so bad that it ruins imaginary movies I'd think.

Personally I thought the world building in 2 was great. It is ridiculously dumb and you can tell the writers know it and are leaning into it with the air of complete seriousness. The highs in the second movie were definitely not as high as the first but I wouldn't go as far as calling it bad.

Avatar image for pappafost
#11 Posted by pappafost (230 posts) -

I thought it was decent, but the shooting parts in 2 were very silly to me. He's just going to town with 9mms, with a perfect killshot every second, for far too long. Perhaps the best way to describe it is "overly choreographed."

Avatar image for cikame
#12 Posted by cikame (2856 posts) -

The final fight in the first film almost ruins it for me, it makes no sense given the events of the film up to that point and feels like a compromise in order to create some kind of tension.
Similarly it tries to include some tropes from mafia films, namely killing major or otherwise sympathetic characters without hesitation or sometimes reason, which is something i hate.

I definitely like the 2nd film more, but if you're not me i can totally see why you'd enjoy the first more.

Avatar image for killem_dafoe
#13 Posted by KillEm_Dafoe (2639 posts) -

Yeah, no.

While I find the emotional weight and payoff of the first movie's story to be superior to the story of the second, literally everything else about Chapter 2 is better. The direction, cinematography, sound, and most importantly, the action scenes. Not to mention the expanded world-building is a lot of fun. Who cares if it's silly. That's kind of the idea. It's still INTERESTING and it handily sets itself apart from other action movies because of this. John Wick as a franchise definitely has its own identity, and Chapter 2 solidified what that identity is. I think you think it's trying to take itself more seriously than it really is. If you don't like it, fine, that's on you. But this shit is awesome.

Avatar image for justin258
#14 Posted by Justin258 (15671 posts) -

I agree that the first one is best but I like the second one as well.

The real truth here is that The Raid 1 and 2 are flat-out better action movies. John Wick's action is perfectly executed but too clean and technical, like a tech-death band that can outplay everyone in a hundred mile radius but can't make a fun song to save their lives. Meanwhile, every fight in The Raid seems a little messier, but much more interesting to watch.

Avatar image for uhtaree
#15 Posted by uhtaree (951 posts) -

I didn't even think the first one was worth getting too worked up over, but the second one, while not outwardly terrible, was boring and forgettable and I kept thinking to myself "how are they fucking this up?" Is the third one even out yet....

Avatar image for frytup
#16 Edited by frytup (1326 posts) -

Agreed. They took an implausible but fun action movie concept and made it actively ridiculous in the second movie.

Avatar image for jesus_phish
#17 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3889 posts) -

I actually like only the first John Wick movie. I know unpopular opinion, but it’s true. The first movie was simple, direct and just gave a tiny glimpse at a world that has some rules...but they are not rules to show the underworld has some ‘values’ and structure...so just sit back because it’s still a revenge flick.

However, all the subsequent movies go crazy with the ‘secret society of assassins’ world building - the world has too many rule. You cannot fight or kill here, here or here; but you can fight here on alternate Thursdays after cocktail hour.

... Of course unless otherwise specified by a 'ruling elite' who the anarcho-syndicalist commune you could fight on a Wednesday. Because the elected officers of the ‘secret assassins guild’ take turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week. : But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting. By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,--

SHUT UP!

The world of John Wick is just dumb, because they try to explain it more or fill out the world unnecararrily. What was so wrong with an ex-hit-man comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that killed his dog and took everything from him? The first rule in the first movie is easy...you don't fuck with someone who was 'made' or part of the system. John was retired, but he was not to be fucked with like civilians (i.e. Common people, normie) - "Organized crime- 101" level stuff. John says, "You gotta fix this" and they say fuck off. So, he kills everyone. However, as soon as the second movie they lay on the "wacky-weird world" on too thick and it ruins the other movies. Suddenly, everyone is a "character” out of a 1990s David Lynch film - it is world building gone amuck. The producers/writers think it is all very clever; but, it is just dumb.

I don't know where you got all this from. There's a very limited number of places people who are in the organisation are told not to "conduct business" in and there's no if's and's or but's about it. The hotels are off limits and so Perkins who a) "conducts business" and b) murders on the grounds gets punished. There's zero if, else, then statements to it. John does the same thing in 2 and so the bounty on his head is doubled.

The criminal underworld/assassins thing is fun and not in anyway serious. The idea that there's a chain of hotels that service nobody but assassins and that there's maybe 100's of assassins in one building at the same time is fun.

Additionally there's no rule that placed John Wick "off limits" because he was retired. The whole point is that Alfie Allen's character Iosef has fucked up royally by crossing John Wick, killing his dog and stealing his car.

Avatar image for boozak
#18 Posted by BoOzak (2615 posts) -

I found the second one to have a better visual aesthetic. The story’s dumb in both movies but I appreciate the more fantastical take on assassins over just plain Russian gangs and stuff.

The real hot take for me is that John Wick movies are totally fine, better than most even, but in a world where Mad Max: Fury Road or the Raid 2 exist, John Wick is not the second coming of action cinema it was praised to be.

I agree, it's been a long time since Fury Road though and Gareth Evans said he has little to no interest in making The Raid 3. In terms of hollywood action movies I would say the John Wick movies for me are far more entertaining than anything Disney/Marvel has churned out in the last decade. Granted there are plenty of great action movies outside of hollywood, Iko Uwais helped make some of them, but none of them are up to the same quality of The Raid movies.

So yeah, they're not great in the grand scheme of things but they're the best thing hollywood has going at the moment when it comes to action.

If I had to compare 1&2 though I would say 2 had better action, but 1 was a more satisfying revenge movie. They're both stupid. (and thats fine with me)

Avatar image for nutter
#19 Posted by nutter (2187 posts) -

John Wick one is good.

I only saw John Wick 2 once, but it was mediocre. I think a cut where the story was at least 85% Common would have been a much tighter and better film.

I’m WAY more into those bananas amazing Indonesian films that have been regularly amazing in recent years (Merantau, Headshot, The Raid 1/2, The Night Comes for Us). I think those all make John Wick look pretty bland.

Avatar image for oursin_360
#20 Edited by OurSin_360 (6183 posts) -

1 was the best but 2 was great as well, both different pretty different movies to me. I thought one had the kill bill vibe but about a dog, and 2 was pretty surprising since i didn't expect all that assassin society stuff going on. Both are just excuses for really good action scenes.

Avatar image for fear_the_booboo
#21 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (1087 posts) -

@boozak: That’s true, and I agree with you in that I’d rather watch the John Wick movies than most of the super hero stuff that comes out.

Avatar image for fisk0
#22 Posted by fisk0 (6931 posts) -

What if they're all not good?

I wouldn't go that far, the first one was fun, but it really wasn't anything spectacular either. I could maybe agree that it's one of the better in the 2010s, after quite the drought of that kind of vigilante action movies, but you only have to go back to like 2004 to find low budget Dolph Lundgren movies that are considerably better.

Moderator
Avatar image for sweep
#23 Posted by Sweep (10600 posts) -

I was thinking today that the irony of the John Wick movies is they're actually at their best when they're focusing on the characters surrounding and reacting to John Wick rather than John Wick himself.

I think John Wick is going down the same path as the Fast & Furious films; They're all dumb, fun movies that require a suspension of disbelief in the name of enabling increasingly ridiculous stunts. You're right, each franchise becomes increasingly drunk on its own worldbuilding in a way which is obviously bananas but enables a succession of scenes which are enjoyable to watch. So yes, you're right that the subsequent films are not as "good" in a traditional sense, but I'm still really glad all those sequels exist anyway.

Moderator
Avatar image for humanity
#24 Edited by Humanity (18846 posts) -

@fisk0 said:
@liquiddragon said:

What if they're all not good?

I wouldn't go that far, the first one was fun, but it really wasn't anything spectacular either. I could maybe agree that it's one of the better in the 2010s, after quite the drought of that kind of vigilante action movies, but you only have to go back to like 2004 to find low budget Dolph Lundgren movies that are considerably better.

I think that is largely underselling John Wick, which at it's heart is a basic action movie, but there is a lot more care and detail that went into it than any of the 90's era popcorn action flicks. The choreography alone is worthy of praise as a lot of the fights are exciting to watch without being incredibly over the top. This is all John Wick 1 I'm talking about which was exaggerated but not ridiculous in the way the sequel got. There was a balance in the first one where Wick used hand to hand, fire arms and some grappling all in a seamless yet well measured manner. Watching John Wick 2 I couldn't believe it but I started to get bored by a lot of the encounters, especially since it seems like in every single fight he was going for these intricate ground tackles and then proceed to worm around with one bad guy awkwardly trapped between his pinky finger and big toe while disaptching other baddies coming in one at a time.

All that and of course there wasplenty of great cinematography at work there. The night club encounter is a great sequence from the first film and it was also the moment where I realized this wasn't just another dumb shooty-shoot-shoot movie with barely acting Keanu Reeves. Don't get me wrong, Keanu Reeves was still barely acting but miraculously it helped more than it hurt for this role.

Avatar image for shindig
#25 Posted by Shindig (4948 posts) -

Having not seen any of them, the rate of them churning out sequels has me thinking it's wound up like Taken. Those two films could've been left to stand alone like Point Blank or Dead Man's Shoes.

Avatar image for militantfreudian
#26 Edited by militantfreudian (686 posts) -

Realizing the third movie is just around the corner, I decided to see the first two over the weekend. I think the second movie is markedly better than the first. There was plenty of bad acting – really bad acting – and writing in the first, and even though it was shorter, I felt like it dragged toward the end. I thought the world-building of the second movie was more engaging than the trite revenge tale of the first. Also, the music during the action set-pieces were less offensive in Chapter 2. I'm kind of curious where Atomic Blonde ranks. I've only seen it the one time, but I remember thinking it was better than the first John Wick.