Written by: Mirella Barrera-Betancourt
Content warning: contains spoilers for “John Wick: Chapter 4”
The “John Wick” movie universe returned on March 24 with the release of the fourth installment, “John Wick: Chapter 4,” which left audiences reeling with unexpected shock. Here are all four movies in the franchise — ranked from worst to best, by the News Editor — as audiences question whether or not to mourn the beloved protagonist.
4 — “John Wick: Chapter 2” (2017)
Ranking on Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
The second installment of the franchise continues right after the violent events of the previous movie, which arrive to haunt John Wick and permanently kick him out of retirement. As far as sequels go, I thought the movie was good. There were significantly fewer action sequences than in the first installment, which was disappointing. Frankly, the middle of the movie left me on the brink of snoring. However, I have to give them credit for the fight sequence in the mirror cabinet, as well as the shocking and bleak ending that plagued me for weeks.
3 — “John Wick” (2014)
Ranking on Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
The inaugural movie which introduces the audience to the character of John Wick received mixed critic reviews. This was the film that established John Wick as the bada–, titular character known as “Baba Yaga,” successfully managing to instill fear amongst audiences and the assassin underworld. Even though it was the lowest-rated movie in the franchise, the movie was heavily packed with both action and emotion, which I believe makes it a strong contender for the position as one of the top three movies in the series.
2 — “John Wick: Parabellum” (2019)
Ranking on Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
This movie cements the legacy of the John Wick universe as possibly the best action or neo-noir film series. In my opinion, the most daring and unrestrained movie in the series — “John Wick: Parabellum” goes heavy with gore and violence, which functions well in adding to the thrilling intensity of the stakes at play. This was the film that truly left me terrified for John Wick’s survival.
1 — “John Wick: Chapter 4” (2023)
Ranking on Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
In the alleged “final” installment of the franchise, “John Wick: Chapter 4” follows John Wick on the run from the villainous “Powers That Be” — the High Table. The movie put to rest a long-standing debate regarding the shocking betrayal by the character of Winston Scott, the manager of The Continental Hotel, in the third film. This was the perfect movie to wrap up the beloved franchise, as well as the story of the weary and heartbroken but formidable assassin — even if, at times, I felt the long runtime to be excessive. Moreover, the fight scenes and long-range shots were excellent, appearing straight out of a video game.
Keanu Reeves is a fantastic actor, and a perfect casting for a character in a franchise that grew with time in size, scope and success. I am content with the ending of the series. However, if Keanu Reeves decides to return with the mantle, I will happily line up to watch him in theaters once again.
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