JOHN WICK 2
The original John Wick wasn’t just the story of a hitman seeking revenge for the murder of his dog; it was a grand tale of the greatest assassin in the world, being dragged back into a world of death and violence after losing everything he holds dear. That being said, John Wick: Chapter 2 was always facing an uphill battle – where do you go when John has already lost his wife, his dog and has been forced to return to the life he thought he left far behind?
With that in mind, Chapter 2 has a pretty clunky opening. It’s nice to kick things off right away with an action scene, but as cool as it is, it all rings a little hollow. It’s hardly compelling stuff and it doesn’t really tell us anything new or exciting about the world of any of the characters. A lot of the early scenes in Chapter 2 recycle certain beats and interactions from the original without really adding up to the new movie. It’s when John goes to Rome that things really pick up, as we start to get a much better sense of the scale of the assassin society. The mythology and the world-building is truly fascinating and the movie picks up on that as it unfolds more secrets before the viewer’s eyes.
The action is truly something to behold. Chapter 2 isn’t only more gory than the first one, it also offers a lot more variety and intensity. While the first movie spaced its actions scenes out, the second strings a lot of them together in a consistent flow. Chapter 2 compensates for the lack of an emotional arc for its main character with sheer forward momentum and it pays off beautifully. It doesn’t need to be cathartic, because at this point the action is just pure entertainment. This is a violent, hard-hitting movie that still manages to get quite a few really good laughs at times.
The ending sets up some very high stakes for the inevitable third movie and we are very excited for it. Chapter 2 got off to a bit of a rough start, but once it finds its footing, it becomes better than the first movie in all the ways that count.
Logan, directed by James Mangold, marks star Hugh Jackman’s final (and truly spectacular) turn as The Wolverine and the character’s final take does not disappoint. A world-weary Logan, a feeble and ailing Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and a young mutant named Laura (Dafne Keen) take a brutal, no holds barred road trip through hell that breaks the mold of the modern superhero movie and delivers the most visceral and hard-hitting X-Men movie to date.
Logan wastes no time in setting a striking tone. The very first line of dialogue is a drunk Logan swearing and within five minutes, the movies gives us more bloody violence than all of the previous Wolverine appearances combined. But Logan earns that adult rating not just through excessive violence or swearing, but by being set in an incredibly bleak version of the near future, one in which all nearly all mutants are dead and Charles Xavier suffers from debilitating seizures that hurt anyone that’s near him at the time. Everything about the setting, the story and the characters is unmistakably and uncompromisingly adult.
The action is visceral and gripping, with Logan and company leaving behind a trail of bodies large enough to give John Wick a run for his money. At times it feels like the movie is compensating for all those years of kid-friendly Wolverine movies, in the best way possible. The action scenes are mostly gritty and grounded, but there a few wonky CGI shots here and there: they’re quite rare but they can be a bit distracting.
The major problem with Logan is that it feels too relentless in its bleakness. Not so much because of excess, as it does not need to tone anything down, but rather because it doesn’t really hold on those moments that are supposed to let the audience breathe. Not that there are no laughs to be had. Logan has got quite a few good jokes up its sleeve, a lot of them courtesy of Xavier.
Overall, this is a great movie and fantastic final outing for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier. It goes for broke, and despite a few bumps in the road, delivers everything fans could have asked for and more.
By: Snezhina Piskova