When the original John Wick hit theaters in 2014, the world was blown away. An action movie with world-building? A revenge flick with mythology? It was a compelling mix that immediately captured our attention — and quickly spawned a franchise. Across four movies, director Chad Stahelski and series writer/creator Derek Kolstad built a universe that was as mysterious as it was cutthroat, a sleek underworld presented to us through the eyes of a perpetually stoic Keanu Reeves.
To celebrate the release of John Wick Chapter 4, we’ve ranked every entry in the John Wick franchise from worst to best. Let us know what you think!
4. John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Let’s get this out of the way early: John Wick Chapter 3 isn’t necessarily a bad movie. It’s just a boring one (mostly). An especially strong first act quickly gives way to a meandering and forgettable chase across continents, one that ultimately leaves us wanting a bit more.
But it’s the absence of compelling villains that really bogs down this third chapter. Sure, we get fun sword fights and a lengthy shootout at the New York Continental, but none of the bad guys feel particularly interesting or threatening. Mark Dacascos’ Zero is campy and formidable, but he isn’t established enough for viewers to remember him or respect his prowess as a fighter.
3. John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2 is excellent. It doesn’t reach the heights of its predecessor but it does benefit from a nice emphasis on consequences. The closing minutes of the movie put John in a tough spot; having just committed a very serious crime on Continental property (sacred ground for hitmen), John finds himself with few resources and even fewer friends.
The action remains top-notch, and we actually get a handful of adversaries who can hold their own against John. Among the movie’s most noteworthy introductions is that of Lawrence Fishburne’s Bowery King, a powerful figure in the criminal underworld who plays a pivotal role in John’s war against the High Table.
John Wick Chapter 2 isn’t the best the franchise has to offer but it’s certainly one for the books.
2. John Wick
Nearly a decade after its release, the original John Wick still holds up. It’s brutal, shocking, and emotionally satisfying to an almost overwhelming degree, leaving us with a burning need for expansion. The world that Kolstad and Stahelski build is so unique, so interesting, that it practically begs for further exploration. Add an ass-kicking Keanu Reeves to the mix and you’ve got the formula for an action classic.
You only need to watch (or rewatch) the movie once to understand what all the fuss is about. It’s clear from the get-go that this franchise-starter is special, and it only gets better with every rewatch.
1. John Wick: Chapter 4
It’s insane that John Wick: Chapter 4 is as great as it is. Yes, the criticisms about its bloated runtime and over-indulgent action are there and they’re valid, but the franchise has never embraced what it is — imperfections and all — as fully as this latest chapter. It’s everything we loved about the other three movies dialed up to eleven; more violence, more car chases, more gun-toting baddies than you can wave a sword at.
As phenomenal as the action is, what really elevates John Wick: Chapter 4 is its supporting cast. Donnie Yen is an absolute legend, and his turn as the blind assassin Caine will almost certainly go down as one of the actor’s most memorable performances.
John Wick: Chapter 4 has no business being this excellent.