Philip Carroll’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Whoever comes, I'll kill them. I'll kill them all."
John Wick 2: Wick Harder, finds our antihero being forced out of retirement and then double crossed with a bounty on his head. It's not much but man, does it work.
Most action sequels always try to up the action and this one is no different. However, this movie also expands the universe and gives us a bigger glimpse into just how big this world of assassins is. It almost reminded me of Harry Potter in how normal people don't really see any of it but the witches and wizards (or in this case, assassins) see a whole other world around them. They even have their own hotel where the head guy known as the manager, lives and welcomes any assassins as long as they obey his house rules. I love that this movie basically glorifies the lives of assassins and turns it into a fantasy world.
Keanu is still great in the role and is still doing probably 90+ percent of his own stunts, but I think his acting range was a little bit stronger in the first film, since his character had more at stake, personally. I'm not saying that the stakes weren't higher in this one, just that in the first film, it affected his character more on an emotional level with the recent death of his wife and dog that she gave him. This movie was more about survival. Though, this is chapter 2, so it does take place immediately after the first film. So there are a few personal touches here and there of him still mourning his wife. So I appreciated that. The returning cast were great as well. The reunion of Morpheus and Neo on screen was fun, even though Fishburne's character was kind of a cliché. As for the rest of the new cast, I didn't care for them too much. But that's one of the perks of a John Wick movie, if there's a character that you don't like, more than likely they will get killed off at some point. And believe me, the body count in this movie is so much higher.
Along with having the bigger, longer action sequences, this movie also increased it's suspension of disbelief factor. Now the first film for the most part, felt pretty grounded, except for a few moments. This movie went over the top with it. Keanu's body takes such a beating in this that any normal person would have either been dead 5 times over or paralyzed. Don't get me wrong, it was fun to watch, but it kind of takes away some of the tension when our antihero is practically immortal and unstoppable. On the other hand, the movie gets us to root for his character and we want him to be unstoppable and get his vengeance on everyone who wrongs him so, I'm ok with it. Afterall, these movies were never meant to be realistic. I just hope they don't push the immortal envelope too much in future films like killing him and bringing him back to life or something.
I don't think we could have asked for a better sequel to an already fantastic first film. This movie did just about everything right that a sequel should do. The only few complaints I have were that as awesome as the action scenes are, there were so many of them this time that I did start to get a little gun battle fatigue towards the end. And some of the new characters annoyed me. I think that's about it. I'm not sure if I liked it better than the first film, but I would say it's on the same level of quality filmmaking. This was a great time at the movies.