2014's John Wick was the little film that could. It was a reasonably low-budget action film that no-one expected much from, but it did extremely well and has now spawned a beloved and highly successful franchise that's not only among the most acclaimed Hollywood franchises today, but one that pretty much relaunched the career of its star, Keanu Reeves.
But is this deserved?
It is undeniable that the John Wick films have plenty going for them. The world-building is superb, the cinematography is brilliant, the sound design and soundtrack are strong and they are well-made, but it's also arguable that these movies are considerably less strong than their critical reception suggests.
Obviously, this won't be a popular opinion and each to their own, but it does feel like the franchise has got away with a lot of mistakes that other Hollywood films get criticised for all the time, which makes the popularity of these movies feel surprising to say the least.
As the franchise continues to expand, with both a spin-off and a TV series lined-up, hopefully it'll soon fix these mistakes and fully earn its lofty critical standing...
8. The Tone Is Very Inconsistent
Firstly, what is the tone that franchise writer Derek Kolstad is going for? It's often very confusing.
A lot of the time, the John Wick trilogy is very dark, especially with John Wick losing his beloved wife shortly before the first film starts... but then, the movies are also frequently very silly and are filled with dark humour.
After all, this is the franchise where a man kills tens of people over a murdered dog, a stolen car and his house being burnt down and there are lots of ridiculous moments, especially in Chapter 3 (John Wick falling from the roof of a tall hotel and surviving lingers in the memory).
There's nothing particularly wrong with being over-the-top, but this franchise doesn't have a hint of self-awareness. It plays everything straight and po-faced and the films are ludicrous without ever being charming in a thoroughly jarring manner. Speaking of silliness, that leads right onto the next point.