John Wick: Chapter 4 (Image courtesy of Paramount)

With less than ten days to go for the worldwide release, critics and select audiences with early access have shared the first reviews for John Wick: Chapter 4. The Keanu Reeves starrer had a surprise premiere at the 2023 South by Southwest Film and TV Festival. Fans, critics and journalists seemed to have a fairly positive response to the latest installment of Chad Stahelski’s action series.

The fourth part is the longest John Wick movie yet with a three-hour runtime. That makes it 40 minutes longer than Parabellum and almost twice as long as the first film in 2014. The new film features a majority of returning cast members alongside some exciting additions, especially the villains. All early reviews seem to rave about the massive action set pieces and fight sequences which are trademarks of the franchise.

First reactions to John Wick 4 at the SXSW premiere

Judging from the early reviews for John Wick: Chapter 4, it’s safe to assume that the Baba Yaga is back in spectacular fashion. The franchise has been expanding in size over the years and the hype around the new film never seemed to fade away.

IGN has given a 10/10 rating for John Wick: Chapter 4, stating that the film stands above its predecessors and other action blockbusters from the previous decade. Reputed media houses such as The Hollywood Reporter and Variety have praised the film for its conscious overkill action. 

Other outlets like Slant and Consequence had less kinder words for the film claiming that it has lost the original essence of the first film. The movie’s three-hour length also seems to be a major issue for some critics and journalists.

The hype around John Wick: Chapter 4 

Keanu Reeves made a surprise appearance at the SXSW screening of the film. The star appeared in a striking black suit in honor of his character. Fans cheered Keanu throughout with a standing ovation as the beloved star thanked them all gracefully for their support.

John Wick Chapter 4 early reviews reactions SXSW
Image courtesy of Variety

Considering the hype and the influx of positive reviews from the premiere, the fourth installment is on its way to have a record-breaking opening weekend. Box office analysts predict the film to have a $60-70 million domestic opening weekend

The franchise has always been successful in its marketing and promotion. John Wick: Chapter 4 has been marketed internationally as a high-octane action thriller. The trailers and posters have emphasized the intense action sequences and the unique world that the movie is set in.

How did John Wick become a massive action franchise?

The John Wick franchise has become a massive success due to a combination of factors, such as Keanu Reeves’ intensity, the unique world-building and memorable characters, and the elaborate action sequences. 

The franchise has resonated with audiences around the world, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With the fourth film, it seems that Keanu Reeves’ John Wick will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the action movie genre.

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SOURCES: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety