The Monitor is a weekly column that covers everything in the WIRED world of culture, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter.
As a plot, John Wick's "hitman comes out of retirement to avenge the death of his dog" seems as morbid as it is unbankable.
When Keanu Reeves first expressed interest in John Wick, many people were concerned that killing a puppy would be too extreme.
However, after Reeves enlisted the help of directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, the film—and its three sequels, including this week's John Wick:
Chapter 4—went on to demonstrate just how popular that premise could be. Also, how feasible was it to create an entirely new franchise from the ground up
Starting from scratch, albeit with spare parts. Nobody could accuse the Wick franchise of being derivative, but its amalgamation of influences contributes significantly to its appeal.
It's a franchise made for midnight moviegoers who enjoy the genre. Reeves and Stahelski, who directed all four films, wear their influences proudly: Sergio Leone;
South Korean cinema; Bullitt; and the Wachowskis, who first teamed them up as an actor-stunt double combo on The Matrix.