Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne are involved in The Matrix and John Wick franchises, both of which are planning sequels soon. This will be the fourth Matrix according to Hollywood Reporter, and it’s the fifth if one counts The Animatrix. Meanwhile, there are plans to make John Wick a trilogy in the relatively near future, according to Just Jarred.
The Matrix was obviously a very symbolic movie, which happened to have a lot of action, but far less has been made of the symbolic meanings of John Wick. Both films involve a call to fight back, with Keanu Reeves as the skilled if reluctant warrior.
Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne make a great team in both movies, though Fishburne’s role in John Wick 1 and 2 is much smaller and less grand than that of Morpheus in The Matrix.
The Matrix and John Wick are not that different in many ways. Still, as Forbes points out there is a high level of “reality” in John Wick not present in The Matrix, which is intended to appear artificial. Likewise, the symbolic meanings are more subtle and based in reality than those in The Matrix.
John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves, incorporates real places not sets, including a real art museum in Italy and actual ancient catacombs. Even the gunshot sounds are recorded from the actual weapons used by Keanu Reeves and other cast members in the film, according to Forbes.
Keanu Reeves famously chose the red pill in The Matrix, meaning that Neo wanted to know, wanted to wake up so to speak and join the fight. John Wick as portrayed by Keanu Reeves would like nothing better than to go back to sleep. In the beginning of both John Wick 1 and 2, John is dragged back into the fight. It isn’t a choice for Keanu Reeves’ character, especially in the second film.
While The Matrix obviously has a deeper meaning that has been theorized extensively, John Wick can be enjoyed simply as an action movie with Keanu Reeves as eye candy. Viewers aren’t required to delve into the symbolic numbers, exotic locations, and art involved. One doesn’t have to draw parallels to a conspiracy theory and spiritual symbolism that are less than apparent. It is interesting to try, though.
Keanu Reeves’ character in John Wick 2 is told about a 12-seat table from which the world is run. It sounds at first like just some sort of mafia council, but it also has overtones reminiscent of the old Illuminati conspiracy theory. There is also a scene that depicts Zeus plus 12 Roman gods behind him, six on each side. This feels symbolic of the table and its 12 members.
In the first John Wick, the organization Wick belonged to seemed like just an assassins guild, almost reminiscent of Assassins Creed in modern times, but in John Wick 2 it becomes clear the group Keanu Reeves’ character belongs to is just a subset of something huge that involves very powerful and wealthy people, as well as an inexhaustible number of foot soldiers and crowds of very ordinary looking operatives.
Keanu Reeves as Wick portrays the idea, just like in The Matrix, what if every paranoid idea that ever crossed a person’s mind were true?
In The Matrix, Keanu Reeves as Neo is one of the few who is in on the secret of a fake world. No one other than a select few know. In John Wick, it seems like an incredible number of people are in on the conspiracy. The message seems to be that nearly the whole world is partisan to the nameless cabal of 12’s unsavory activities which Keanu Reeves’ character is so repelled by.
In The Matrix, Keanu Reeves as Neo wakes up from a fairly nice dream world into a harsh reality, but John Wick knows the harsh reality and just wants to retire.
Keanu Reeves as John Wick, who was formerly an assassin, wants to have a marriage and family in the first film, but his wife dies, then he settles in with his beagle puppy and his car. He’s trying to be a good guy, but then someone kills his dog and steals his car. John Wick is swept back in.
In John Wick 2, he’s got a Rottweiler. John is back home storing his weapons under concrete, but then immediately his house is blown up because he refuses an obligation to work again.
The message is clear in both John Wick and The Matrix. One has to take the red pill to wake up just like Keanu Reeves as Neo. One can’t go back to sleep as John Wick would like to do. One has to fight back against overwhelming odds and play deadly games with those who seem to run the whole world.
The Matrix and John Wick are dark films that offer little hope in some ways. Their plots are reminiscent of conspiracy theory and also allude to spirituality.
Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne have brought the concepts behind The Matrix into popular culture, and one can only hope that the symbolism behind John Wick will be equally explored in the coming years. Perhaps it is too soon since not everyone has seen John Wick 2. There aren’t any huge spoilers here, but the film is worth further exploration.
RELATED REPORTS FROM THE INQUISITR
Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne could be appearing in another Matrix film as well as another John Wick.
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