John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum premiered in New York on May 9, allowing critics to share their takes on the third tale of Keanu Reeves' ridiculously competent and murderous assassin. The overall take seems to be that Parabellum fails to live up to the highs of the first two films while still being an incredibly enjoyable and slick film worthy of the current, Indonesia-led renaissance of action movies.
The third installment won't hit theaters nationwide until May 17, but critics are priming fans of the series to head to the cineplex for more of the same from Reeves' unflappable and legendary killer.
Brian Truitt of USA Today praised Reeves' performance as Wick:
Neo in “The Matrix” might have been Reeves’ most iconic action role for a while, but John Wick’s the real chosen one – at 54, the actor gives his laconic character the fitting gravitas of a life lived very dangerously, as well as all the necessary head shots, kung fu chops and other kick-butt moves that drive the franchise.
Karen Han noted that Parabellum follows an established formula for Wick movies and (mostly) does a great job of it. Via her review for Polygon:
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the Wick formula. The middle drags — particularly so in Parabellum, despite a fight scene with attack dogs and a pleasant guest appearance from Game of Thrones’ Bronn — but, gosh, are the beginning and end a total blast.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky said that the unstoppable force of John Wick may well be showing signs of fatigue in the latest movie. From his review for A.V. Club:
Though Parabellum delivers at least a couple of action scenes that rank with the best of the series—a throwing-knife fight in which the combatants keep having to pull blades out of their own arms and shoulders to toss back at each other, and a brawl that might set the record for the most times a character has been thrown through a glass display case—there’s a certain fatigue to its two biggest set pieces, both of which pit Wick and his allies against unending waves of faceless henchmen. Wick is unstoppable. Do the movies know where to stop?
Richard Roeper said that the latest Wick might be the greatest Wick in his review for the Chicago Sun-Times:
The third installment of the ultraviolent, operatic, blood-soaked and wonderfully askew “John Wick” franchise is the most outlandish, the most ambitious and maybe the most entertaining chapter to date.
It's good to see that the quality level of Wick movies remains fairly high, especially if you believe Ian McShane's proclamation that the movies will keep going for another decade. If the reviews have convinced you to jump into the latest John Wick flick—or you just need a primer on the absolutely bonkers mythology surrounding Wick and other assassins—take a look at our all-encompassing John Wick-lopedia.