Welcome to the Heavy Spoilers show! I’m your host, Paul, aka the guy who makes every shot hit like John Wick. Chapter 4 is now out, and throughout this video, we’re going to be breaking down where the film Keanu Leaves Things Off with the Future of the Franchise.
Throughout this video, we’re going to recap what happens in the movie, the post-credits scene, and also talk about where things could be leading in the sequels and TV shows.
Heavy spoilers ahead, and if you haven’t had a chance to check it out, then I highly recommend that you do so now. Please shoot that thumbs up button and also make sure you subscribe if you never miss our breakdowns.
With that out of the way, thank you for clicking this, I am Klaus.
John Wick Chapter 4 Breakdown
Now, I actually rewatched the first three John Wick movies this week in the lead up to today, and I think we have to start putting this franchise up there in the conversation of the best of all time because there are very few that have four bangers like this back-to-back.
In case you need a quick catch-up, the first movie picked up with ex-hitman John Wick, who had just watched his wife pass away from a terminal illness. Leaving him a dog so that he had something to love, John looked forward to the rest of his life. Unfortunately he was pulled back into the game after his car was stolen and the puppy was killed by Lily Allens brother. Launching a revenge mission against the mob, John got revenge and a new dog, but it wasn’t too long until his services were required once more. Owing a blood oath to gangster Santino DAntonio, he was tasked with killing his sister so that he could claim her seat at the high table. This left her forces against him along with Santonios who was trying to tie up loose ends. After putting a 7 million dollar bounty on his head Wick ended up killing Santino on continental grounds which left him Ex-communicado.
With the entire world out for him Wick escaped New York to Casablanca which is where he met back up with his friend Sofia. The High Table adjudicator went round punishing all that had aided Wick, which included the Bowery King and also the Director.
Whilst this was going on, Wick made his way to The Elder, who we learned sat above The High Table. He said he’d forgive him if he killed Winston and remained loyal to the High Table for the remainder of his life, which Wick agreed to by handing over his wedding ring along with his finger.
That was all a f**king like though and upon returning to Winston, Wick refused to kill him and along with the continental forces they made a stand against the assassin zero. After besting them, the adjudicator offered a parley to Winston on the roof of the Continental, and then he shot Wick, which sent him over the edge.
Wick was secretly delivered to the Bowery King, and together the two decided to team up against the High Table and all its organisations.
Now that takes us into Chapter 4, in which we follow the man who killed three people with a f**king pencil.
Now the movie begins with John Wick killing The Elder’s replacement, who tells him that the only way he will find peace is in death. This very much foreshadows the events of the ending, and it also explains why John has to participate in a duel. The High Table is described very much as being like a hydra in that if you cut off one head, another one will appear. Just in the same way that the Elder has been replaced, all the members of the High Table can be as well, and thus John will run out of bullets before they run out of heads.
In a way, the movie is very much about redemption and him diverting the fate that has been given to him. John is described as being someone who brings death to everything that he touches, but in the end he gives Caine a new life with his daughter. This is a similar sort of thing to what Sofia had in the third film, and in that film we discovered that she too had a daughter that she couldn’t have a life with due to the demands of the High Table.
John sees firsthand how much his quest for revenge is killing his friends, and in the end he realises that it all stops if he passes away, which we see happen in the final few scenes. Now I will be talking about whether I think the character is actually dead or not later on, but there is a lot going on in the movie that I think we have to talk about first to give context to those final few scenes.
Keanu Reeve has talked with the Hollywood reporter about what that ending really meant, and there is a lot to discuss in terms of symbolism and metaphor.
The John Wick series has always been laced with the idea of mythology, and this is seen in every film. Charon pulls from ancient mythology, Wick pulls rosary beads out of a book at the start of chapter 3, Dante’s Inferno is mentioned, and Winston is given seven days to get his affairs in order. John himself is based on John the Baptist, and a baptism is very much seen as a cleansing in which past sins are forgotten. The first movie opened with him trying to put his past behind him but being pulled back into it.
There’s also the idea that he goes on a sort of Jesus journey throughout the four films, with the first being his birth or rebirth after he’s found a new life. The second is his ascension, the third culminates with his apparent death, and the fourth deals with his resurrection before he finally passes away having become a saviour figure.
He also has his disciples, like his servant Winston, and even though Laurence Fishburne dresses like the pigeon lady from Home Alone 2, he’s seen as a king.
Now Caine is a really interesting villain, and he’s basically like Stick from Daredevil. Like John he got out of the life but he had to give up his eyes in order to do this. Once the high table threatens his daughter’s life, he’s brought back into it, and symbolically, he blindly follows the high table’s orders without question. Caine has a deeper layer to it as well as Caine killed his brother Abel in the bible similar to how Caine here kills his quote unquote brother Shimazu.
Lance Reddick In John Wick Chapter 4
Now John’s deeds haven’t gone unpunished, and early on, we see Winston being summoned to the Marquis, played by Bill Skarsgard. The Continental is destroyed, and Charon is shot dead because the Marquis doesn’t want Winston to become an example. The High Table controls the world through rules and regulations, but John is an affront to this because he refuses to follow them and he stands up to all that they stand for. Therefore, the Marquis very much wants to destroy the idea of John Wick, and he does this by killing all those who aid and help him.
Honestly, watching Lance Reddick’s character get killed early on hit me differently, and as I’m sure you know, the actor unfortunately passed away last week. I can’t imagine what it was like for the creative team seeing that happen and then having to promote this movie and watch it back seeing him die at the start. It adds a real layer of sadness to the film, and the movie ends with a line dedicating it to him.
Anyway, this idea of all those helping getting harmed is reflected in the Osaka Continental, which is attacked by the high table for aiding John. The henchmen kind of cracked me up a bit, and when they were introduced, I felt like it was that scene from Dodgeball.
Anyway Wick manages to make it out of there but the attack is not without it’s casualties. Akira swears to get revenge on her father’s killer, and this very much plays into the post-credits scene with my girl Rina. She did think John was a bad friend, and there is the potential that they could spin off with her in the future.
My mate Greg Alba from Reel Rejects actually attended a Q&A for the movie with the cast and creative team, and in that, they discussed the scene and what it could be leading to. This is a Heavy Spoilers exclusive spoiler unless Greg makes a video on it, but if he does, then block him and just pretend I was the one who went to the Q&A.
Now, funnily enough, at that, Keanu actually said that he thinks that scene should’ve been put in the movie itself and that Akira should’ve killed Caine instead of leaving it open-ended. I actually liked that it was done this way, and the fact that it was does hint at what could be coming down the line.
Now let me mansplain to you the post-credit scenes, mate. You probably don’t know this because you’re a chump, but they’re actually used to tease something coming down the line, which is why they’re often not in the movie itself and are stuck on at the end.
I think Donnie Yen completely killed it in the role, and my girl Rina did a great job too, so there could potentially be a spin-off movie that involves the two. Rina is very much your John Wick archetype in that she lost someone she loved and is now getting revenge for what the infrastructure of the high table did to her. Caine fits the mould too, and potentially it may be his daughter thats killed in this scene accidentally, and then the pair have to face off against each other. Thats a very nihilistic way to look at it, and I can imagine that she will survive, but that’s just how things could be set up if we look at the John Wick mould.
Akira lost her father, and if Caine loses his daughter, then we have two opposites who are trying to stand against someone who lost their counterpart. It’s sort of like poetry; they rhyme, and I think both these characters would be great to base a spin-off movie on.
This franchise isn’t against doing spin-offs either, and we know that we have the Ballerina coming along with The Continental.
At the Q&A, the creative team confirmed that the former will take place in between John Wick 3 and 4, and it will likely have moments of the Ruska Romo family that we meet in the movie. Keanu has been confirmed as appearing in it, but the fact that it’s somewhat of a prequel to this movie means that I think he is dead.
If he was still alive, then they could have set this after, but they’ve confined the show to this specific timeline for his cameo because he can’t show up after the events of this movie. They can, however, expand on the newly introduced characters like Mr. Nobody and his dog. I think we will probably see him again, as he was great, and I’d love to learn more about his backstory.
Now the continental could play into this somehow, and that will likely be the next big release, and that’s due to drop later on in the year.
In november it was annouced that this will stream on Peacock in the US and on Amazon Prime Video everywehre else. Along with this, we also got some plot details.
As it turns out, this series will be set in the seventies, and it will actually work as a prequel to the events of the movie. In it, we will follow a young Winston who will be trying to take control of the titular hotel. Winston will be played by Colin Woodell, and we’ll watch as he tries to navigate New York and gain a foothold in the world of the assassins.
Now we also know that this won’t be your typical TV show, and it will actually only have three episodes to give the production a more cinematic feel. They have some big names attached to the project, and we know that Mel Gibson will be playing a character called Cormac. Katie McGrath will also play this decade’s version of the adjudicator, and Ayomide Adegun will play Charon.
This was the character that Lance Reddick played, and unfortunately the actor passed away last week, which is too bad because he brought so much to the role. I know he wouldn’t have played him in the 70s anyway, but yeah, knowing the guy died just before the release of this film adds such a layer of sadness to it.
I doubt we will see John Wick due to him just being a kid at this time, but they may potentially bring in a younger version of him that explains more of his backstory. We know that he was born in the Soviet Union in 1964 and that he was orphaned at a young age before being taken in by a friend of his father. This man became John’s mentor, and he was then recruited by the Ruska Roma organised crime group. Trained by the director in New York City, they could potentially tease at this point in the series, with us still keeping the focus on Winston. I imagine that the director will appear in some form or another even though she isn’t on the cast list, but I think that would make a lot of sense.
Anyway, after escaping, Osaka Wick gets back in with his family after killing Scott Adkins Killa, who looks unrecognisable in the role. Through this, they’re able to formally request a duel with the Marquis, which gives Wick the opportunity to win back his freedom. The settings are agreed to, and the terms are laid out, with Winston getting back his position and hotel if Wick wins. The Marquis nominates Caine as his champion, and Clancy Brown’s Harbringer says that if Wick fails to arrive, he’ll be executed along with Winston. It’s all set in place, but The Marquis isn’t someone who plays by the rules, and he constantly increases the bounty on John Wick’s head as he makes his way to the church where the final showdown is scheduled to take place.
During this, we get a clear reference to the 1970s movie The Warriors, in which the radio announcer gives coded messages to assassins in the city. They even play nowhere to run, which is a song that also appeared in that film when the Warriors were on the run.
We get an amazing scene at the Arc du Triumph in which Wick gets hit with cars like it’s the like button, a top-down shoot ’em up, and lastly, a mountain climb up the steps of the church. It all comes together perfectly and leads into a duel between the two sides.
Now In it, Caine and Wick have to take 30 paces, take a shot, and then move ten paces closer to each other. They eventually get within ten and raise their guns, which sends John flying to the floor after he’s hit by Caines bullet. In his arrogance, the Marquis takes over Caine due to him sponsoring him as his champion for the game. He wants to be the man to personally put an end to John Wick’s legends, and he takes the gun so he can finish him off himself. However, John never fired his gun in that last shot, and in the end, he kills the Marquis right after he swears that Caine and his daughter are now free.
Bleeding from his wounds John asks Winston to be taken home and this has an extra layer to it as he means he wants to be taken back to where his wife was laid to rest. Early on in the first movie, we saw her funeral, and John ends up getting buried beside her. He passes away on the steps after saying her name, and this represents his freedom and peace finally being achieved.
Earlier in the movie he stated that he wanted the words loving husband put on his grave stone and we see that this is the case in the final shot. John had many nicknames, like the boogeyman and Baba Yaga, and these all helped to cement his reputation. However, what he really wanted to be remembered for was being a loving husband, as that’s truly what meant the most to him. In the other movies, he talks about why he keeps fighting and states that as long as he stays alive, Helen will be remembered. In the end, though, he accepts that death and peace bring their own freedom and that he can be with his wife again. He did say in the church that he doesn’t know if she can hear him, but him believing that he might be wrong means that he keeps talking to her. I think this could be the case with his final words in the end, and he may be believing that he can see his wife again, having found redemption in allowing Caine to have a new life.
Winston and The Bowery King ponders whether he’s in heaven or hell, but I think that his death on the steps kind of gives the idea that he’s in neither. The church at the top represents heaven, and down the steps could be hell. His going in the middle could symbolise that he’s in neither place nor time; he’s just with his wife somewhere in the afterlife. You might be reading too much into that, but Reeves has talked about what the ending means and what they tried to do with it.
John Wick Chapter 4 Ending Explained And Rating
Way back when the movie was announced, it was said that there would be a fifth film and that this would be shot back-to-back with 4. However, Ryan Arey did the research for me, and he found that the director had said that they realised when they were making it that they’d be putting their efforts into two films instead of just one.
If they focused on just this film, they could make it the best movie possible, and I think that the results here speak for themselves.
Now, as for what Reevs said when discussing it, the actor stated:
“We had the opportunity [to do another film] because of the audience’s response to Chapter Three, and we were like, ‘What was the why?” And when Chad and I were talking, the why was death—and it was John Wick’s death. For him to get his peace, or freedom, in a way … that was the reason to make the movie. It can’t just be, ‘Let’s do another one.’ It was really about death, or a way of dying. We were really inspired by the Hagakure…
Now, in case you don’t know, this is a Japanese code of ethics dedicated to the practical and spiritual guidance of a warrior. When talking about death, this says that if you are prepared for death at any moment, you will meet it with acceptance rather than fear. The code also states that the warrior’s way is death, so it makes sense that this movie would culminate with that as a theme.
In the movie, they also mention that in order to die well, you have to live well. John lived well with his wife, and thus, he can find peace in his final moments thinking about her.
Now there’s also the possibility that hes still alive, and there are some clues in the dialogue that hint towards this.
We have the line about how those who cling to life die and how those who cling to death live. In this final moment, John is clinging to death, but not being afraid of it gives him a chance to finally live. He’d amassed hundreds of enemies around the world, and by potentially faking his own death, he can now be reborn and find the freedom he’d been seeking.
There’s also that “heaven and hell” question that the bowery king asks.
We don’t really get an answer to whether he’s in either, and the fact that he’s not might be because he’s not actually dead.
Now I do think that the character is probably gone, and I think it would be a shame to bring him back out for a fifth chapter that undoes all this and then probably just sends him on a path with death anyway. It’s clear that death is a big theme in this movie, and I think it would be a shame to go back on that, but then again, Hollywood is Hollywood.
When rewatching the movies in the lead up to this, it even crossed my mind that this could be some sort of dying man’s fantasy, and the movie has this weird thing where it’s pretty much like a Harry Potter story, but instead of wizards, we have assassins completely unknown to muggles.
I’ll not bore you with that s**t, but in the end, this does feel like a fitting way to close off the story of John Wick while leaving the door open for other people to come in.
Now as for my thoughts on the movie, I think this was a brilliant final film with Keanu at the helm, and it was a showcase of how much the creative team has learned since that first movie. This was the culmination of all the techniques, set pieces, and cinematography that they’ve built up over the years to deliver an amazing action movie. To me this felt like it was part of the Raid Universe and when I say that I mean it really is a masterclass in stunt work, choreography and dynamism.
You have brilliant moments with the whole scene, where you pass over the top of the rooms and have a downward point of view towards John, that blew me away. Then theres the step scene that immediately follows it, which is then topped off with one of the tensest duels ever put to film. That last hour especially is an incredible achievement in pacing and stuntwork that it was difficult not to just smile along with the movie as it all got crazier and crazier. Just watching John fall down the stairs for 2 minutes showed how much theyre really thinking about the dynamism in scenes and its difficult to think of a recent film that’s topped this in terms of action. It also feels like a work of art at points, and the galleries, locations, and way that scenes are shot really elevate the feel of this movie. The cinematography at points is outstanding, and it’s nearly impossible to hate it when the action is hitting this hard and looking this good.
Now, as I said earlier, I have rewatched all of the movies this week, and I still think that 2 is my favourite. It’s got a lot of big elements in it, but I don’t think that it has the issues that this one does, which is its length. I had a wild ride, but clocking in at almost 3 hours did have me checking my watch a couple of times around the midpoint just to see how much we had left. It did keep me engaged though but I think that that just knocked it below two for me in terms of where this one sat in the franchise.
Now this is a great swan song for Keanu and maybe Donnie Yen should just keep playing blind characters cos he knocked it out the park in both this and rogue one. Caine is by far the most interesting antagonist we’ve had in the film, and I’m hoping that we get more with him after that post-credits scene.
Anyway, this was a brilliant film that I absolutely loved, and in the end, it gets a little cheesy.
Now, obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, so make sure you comment below and let me know.
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If you want something else to watch, then make sure you check out our breakdown of the perfect scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming. We break down the entire thing, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you want to know more.
With that out of the way, thank you for sitting through the video; I’ve been Paul, and I’ll see you next time. Take care. Peace
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