All the ‘John Wick’ Films Ranked From Worst to Best

in Movies & TV

Keanu Reeves as John Wick

Credit: Lionsgate

Somehow, there are already four John Wick films — how did that happen?! What started out as a sleek, straight-forward, noir-esque action thriller quickly became an explosive, globe-trotting franchise that could quite easily turn into Fast and Furious if it isn’t careful.

All four films in the series, John Wick (2014), John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017), John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum (2019), and John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023), were huge box office successes that wowed audiences and critics, but how do they compare against one another?

Well, here are all the John Wick films ranked from worst to best.

Related: Keanu Reeves Will Return to John Wick Soon as ‘Ballerina’ Spinoff Sets Release Date

4. John Wick: Chapter 4

Keanu Reeves in John Wick 4
Credit: Lionsgate

When you reach the fourth film in almost any series, it’s perfectly normal to be a little sceptical before going in. If history has taught us anything, it’s that even the best film series can outstay its welcome, but when it comes to John Wick, in hindsight it seems we may have all gone into the long-awaited John Wick: Chapter 4 with blinkers on.

The third entry ends on such a cliff-hanger that there is nothing but excitement going into the fourth. And the first three John Wick films are so solid — Chapter 3 has a few minor wobbles — that we assumed, without question, that the fourth was going to be just as good. John Wick taking on the High Table? This sequel seemed like a safe bet.

Caine talking to John Wick in Chapter 4
Credit: Lionsgate

Oh, how wrong we were. John Wick: Chapter 4 undoes everything that made the John Wick films so special. Razor-sharp choreography, compelling action sequences, straight-forward narratives, believable villains, and some semblance of realism: all gone. Even John Wick (Keanu Reeves) himself looks exhausted. Four films in, who can blame him?

The soundtrack by Joel J. Richard takes just as heavy a beating as Wick’s opponents, with the gritty, melancholy signature title-track reworked into an out-of-place gunslinger theme that’s designed to fit around the film’s incredibly underwhelming third-act Mexican stand-off, towards which our hitman makes his way like a character in a video game.

Donnie Yen as Caine in John Wick 4
Credit: Lionsgate

And therein lies Chapter 4‘s biggest problem: none of it is in any way, shape, or form believable. Wick has to get from A to B, fighting hordes of enemies as he goes, but luckily he has a bullet-proof blazer, infinite ammo, invincibility mode, and a pretty darn good player on the other side of the screen. And then there are the stakes: zero.

The action sequence at Paris’ Arc de Triomphe is a perfect example of the film’s unrealistic and drawn-out brawls (not a single car stops as a gazillion hitmen have it out in the middle of the road). Over time, this scene alone will likely have fans convinced that the John Wick film series really does take place inside the “Matrix”, just as that theory suggests.

Related: ‘John Wick’ Officially Passes $1 Billion, Could Force Keanu Reeves into Returning

3. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum

Lance Reddick as Charon in the John Wick franchise
Credit: Lionsgate films

As the ending of Chapter 2 suggests, with John desperately trying to leave New York City before he’s listed as “ex-communicado”, John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum should have been what Chapter 4 became: enemies crawling out of the woodwork to take on the “Baba Yaga”. Instead, the film takes a sharp turn into some unnecessary mythology-building.

There’s no denying that the John Wick lore is pretty compelling (at least where the first two films are concerned), whether it’s the Continental and all its rules, or the history between the many interesting characters. But we can’t help feel that Parabellum starts to get a little cocky, delivering to the audience in spades what they only really wanted in spoonfuls.

Parabellum would have been a fitting conclusion to the trilogy had it not ended on a cliff-hanger, but this is where all the warning signs start to show, from the overuse of mythology-expansion to John Wick’s invincibility. The third chapter certainly delivers some mind-blowing choreography and action sequences, but sadly it’s all style and no substance.

Related: Dark and Gritty ‘Last Ronin’ Trailer Proves ‘Ninja Turtles’ Is the Next ‘John Wick’

2. John Wick

Keanu Reeves in John Wick
Credit: Lionsgate

The first John Wick is what we call a “sleeper hit” — no one expected it to become a massive success, let alone the enormous franchise it is today that’s four films deep and with two spin-offs on the way. One of the many great things about the 2014 film is simplicity; its less-is-more approach is just as much a secret weapon as John Wick himself.

Casting a widely beloved actor like Keanu Reeves into the role of a retired hitman, who’s strangely more empathetic than most protagonists in Hollywood action movies who aren’t former-contract-killers, was a genius move. And having the audience meet the widower slap-bang in the middle of his grief was equally smart.

What’s smarter than both those things combined is having his late wife posthumously gift him an adorable pooch, which serves as the main catalyst; the poor canine’s death sparking a series of events that see John don his finest tailor-made suit as he dishes out relentless vengeance within the hitman underworld as he hunts down those who crossed him.

Related: John Wick Spinoff Series Has Revealed Its First-Look Image

1. John Wick: Chapter 2

keanu reeves looking battered john wick 4
Credit: Lionsgate

John Wick: Chapter 2 has fought its way to the top of our list of John Wick films, but the truth is that it wasn’t really that arduous a battle (save for a short-lived scuffle with the first film in the series). Chapter 2 finds John Wick trying to pick up the pieces of his life (again), when a ghost from his past emerges and drags him back into the hitman underworld.

If there’s any film in the series that should have marked the end of John Wick’s journey of vengeance, it’s this one — at least for a few years. It might end on a massive cliff-hanger, but it’s oddly satisfying to watch the hero hobble into an uncertain future, while the High Table declares him “ex-communicado”, meaning he’s open-game to every hitman on the planet.

Everything about this film is perfect, from characters such as Winston (Ian McShane) and Charon (the late Lance Reddick) to the beautifully gritty-noir score by Tyler Bates. The fight sequences are also the wildest in the series, although the moment that will have you punching the air is when John actually kills on Continental grounds.

Ballerina

Ana De Armas in No Time to Die
Credit: Universal Pictures

The first John Wick spin-off is Ballerina (2024), which will see Ana de Armas in the lead as the titular ballerina who goes on the hunt for those responsible for killing her family, while under the tutelage of Angelic Houston’s The Director, as seen in Chapter 3 — Parabellum.

Keanu Reeves is also reportedly involved in the film, while it will also be the last performance from Lance Reddick, who plays Charon in the films and sadly passed away before Chapter 4 was released. Ballerina will release in theaters on June 7, 2024.

The Continental

The Continental is a John Wick television series that’s currently being developed for Peacock. The series will explore the titular hotel which, like many others around the world, serves as a secret hub for assassins.

It will follow Winston Scott in the 1970s, and how he became the manager of the titular hotel. Ian McShane, however, will not be reprising his role, with a younger actor taking up the mantle instead. The Continental will reportedly premiere on Peacock in late 2024.

Chapter 5 

John Wick: Chapter 5 (TBA) was recently confirmed by Lionsgate, however, no release date has been given. Whether or not it will see Keanu Reeves return as John Wick remains to be seen, as his character is apparently killed off at the end of the fourth film.

How would you rank the John Wick films? And are you excited for any of the spin-offs? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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