John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick: Chapter 2 ★★★★½

Ballet with a bang.

Right from the very start, John Wick: Chapter 2 let's you know exactly what you're going to get: action with a humorous wink, amazing stuntwork, and sounds that get your adrenaline pumping. And what we're getting is not just one of the best action sequels ever made, not just one of the best sequels ever made regardless of the genre, but an action movie that most likely will go down in history as one of the most well crafted films in its genre.

Rarely have I seen a film that has zero dull moments. Rarely have I seen a film that makes the many actionless scenes after its opening action scene still riveting to watch. Rarely have I seen a sequel going into a more noticeably over the top and comic-booky direction with its tone, without it feeling like a betrayal to the first film. And yes: John Wick: Chapter Two gets silly. Really, really silly. Although, honestly, I think it's for the better. I mean: hitmen paying each other with giant golden coins? Really now, does that sound even remotely realistic to you?

And Chapter 2 is an improvement on the first film in many aspects - story, cinematography, dialogue, acting, pacing, scope - save for a few. The action scenes are once again magnificently done, though I will say that none are as memorable or as carefully done as the very first action scene and the club scene in the first film. The emotional drive that fueled John Wick's revenge in the first film is also present here, but this time in bits and pieces, and definitely not the driving force of his actions in the film. He's left no choice in this film, and while that makes for an extremely fun action movie, it does make you care for the main character a little less. You're still very much rooting for him throughout the entire movie, however.

People praise Mad Max: Fury Road for being a religious action experience, but this was mine. My dad and I came out of the theater laughing at what we just sat through, It is utterly ridiculous in the coolest, most bad-ass way possible. It is pretty much what you picture in your head when people who love the Timothy Dalton James Bond films describe those films to you; you picture dark, gritty revenge movies with still a semi-cartoony edge, but in reality they're actually mostly clunky and stupid. Stahelski and Kolstad know exactly what makes these films so appealing and have laid the perfect groundwork for the third film and - perhaps - even more future installments. The ending leaves you wanting so much more, yet at the same time it's also an ending that fits the rest of the film like a glove; it does not leave you disappointed by how it all ends, only that it ends. I haven't been this satisfied with an ending in a long time.

Plus, that cliffhanger...Chapter 3 can't come fast enough.

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