A reviewer for the British newspaper The Guardian just couldn't get past what he calls "John Wick: Chapter 2's" "obsession with weaponry [that] leaves a nasty taste in the mouth” to give it a thoughtful review as an action film. Instead, writes Heat Street, he "decries it with hypersensitive pearl-clutching commentary over its violent content."
Reviewer Jordan Hoffman got a headache from the film's intensity and violence, although Heat Street suggests it could have come from the intensity with which Hoffman was gripping his pearls over the action — including violence — in an action film. Hoffman, who was more forgiving of the first John Wick film, has recognized that desensitization to violence is a real thing:
In the first John Wick (which, yes, I awarded four stars back in 2014, back before I became so easily shellshocked, I guess) the big surprise was learning, as the picture progressed, that a larger, surreal underground of killers lived among us. The sequel leans into this to the point of absurdity; by the end it implies that nearly everyone in New York City is somehow tied into the criminal netherworld and its labyrinthine codes of conduct.
Heat Street, in a clever take-down of Hoffman's social justice warrior film review, recognizes a fatal flaw in the Hoffman's logic. While Hoffman laboriously details his feelings about the Second Amendment, even invoking real-life tragedies such as San Bernardino, Newtown, Aurora, and the Pulse night club in Orlando, he mentions that the violence inherent in movies such as the John Wick films have made him more sensitive to violence, in effect, turning him into a social justice warrior. From Heat Street:
[Hoffman] says that as others became more desensitized, he went in the opposite direction, directly contradicting his thesis that the abundance of gun violence makes people embrace violence. He argues that it’s a new development, however, and expects others to become just as sensitive as he is now. If that’s the case then wouldn’t John Wick 2 and similar action movies be a net good, according to his argument?
When your essay contradicts itself from paragraph to paragraph, there’s one simple explanation that fits the bill: he’s just virtue signaling.
The film, about a mercenary and remorseless hit-man in a dystopian killer-for-hire world seeking vengeance and played by Keanu Reeves, has been garnering rave reviews from other left-leaning sites.