John Wick: Chapter 4 is the second best John Wick film.
I'll say it, the first John Wick is a perfect film. It's premise is incredibly simple, it breezes through plot points like nobody's business and contains some of the best action sequences ever put to film.
The second and third films have moments of greatness, but for me exploring some of the world hinted at in the first chapter ruined some of the mystique. By the time the third film rolled around we were pausing the film for too long for expository dialogue and worldbuilding.
For the fourth film, the streamlined nature of the first film is back in sight. I don't think we'll ever see the highs of the first film again in this franchise, but that's simply because the first one is that good.
So with that in mind, please understand that it's a compliment to say that Chapter 4 is the second best.
Chapter 4 is kind of like the final boss of the John Wick franchise. After three movies of just being beaten down and having every assassin in the world after him, Wick is finally going after the High Table, the organisation behind the network of hitmen, to earn his freedom.
Of course that's not going to come easy to Mr Wick and there's going to be a substantial amount of bullets fired and blood drawn on his quest.
The quality control for the action scenes in John Wick is still second-to-none. Set pieces revolving around the Arc de Triomphe, and a seemingly neverending staircase hold up against the best scenes from the franchise, which means they hold up against some of the best action scenes ever.
The previous film frontloaded it's best action, so we were left with a film which couldn't live up to it's first half hour. Chapter 4 doesn't make the same mistake, but fear not, it still has a tremendous amount of fun sprinkled throughout, not just saving the best for last.
There are new characters along for the ride this time, a blind assassin played by Donnie Yen and Shamier Anderson as a bounty hunter chasing Wick. They fit into the world so well that I had to do a quick Google search afterwards to double check they weren't in previous films.
Chapter 4 is the last John Wick film before the series explodes with spin-off films and TV shows. Director Chad Stahelski has said that him and Keanu Reeves plan to take a break from the franchise for now, allowing the spin-offs room to breathe.
Up next is the spin-off Ballerina, directed by the man who brought us the Underworld franchise and whose last film was the Total Recall remake in 2012. So uh.. don't take too long of a break Stahelski.