Was Keanu Reeves the Villain All Along in John Wick? One Scene Gives the Answer

Was Keanu Reeves the Villain All Along in John Wick? One Scene Gives the Answer
Image credit: Lionsgate

Sorry, folks, but the anti-hero mask must be dropped: John Wick was a bad guy.


  • Keanu ReevesJohn Wick is largely seen as a hero or an anti-hero by fans.
  • One scene shows John’s real nature: when he demands Viggo’s son.
  • Despite fighting bad guys, John Wick was a bloodthirsty villain himself.

The John Wick movies are so action-packed and focused on ridiculously cool-looking sequences that it’s easy to keep track of your moral compass when watching them. From the start, we know that Keanu Reeves’ character is the guy we’re rooting for, meaning that everyone who gets in his way is a villain — but that just isn’t true.

The truth those badass scenes hide from you is simple and ugly: John Wick is not a good man. He’s a villain in his own right who happens to be fighting other villains.

One John Wick Scene Proves His Nature

Don’t get us wrong, Viggo was a terrible man, and you were correct to be wanting him to fall. That hasn’t changed since your first watchthrough. But ask yourself one thing the next time around: when John Wick demanded that Viggo hand over his son Iosef or “die screaming alongside him,” what does that say about him as a person?

At that point, John Wick is a bloodthirsty maniac who’s so caught up in his lust for revenge and violence that he doesn’t see reason or humanity anymore. His “moral compass” — the thing that he presumably had and that differentiates a good man and a bad man — was long gone, and there was only rage and sadism left.

Why Did We All Root for John Wick?

At the start of the franchise, we don’t see John for the highly skilled assassin that he is. We see him walking his dog first. We learn that he’s a grieving husband. We immediately assume that this sad man who looks uncannily like the best human being in the real world, Keanu Reeves, has a heart of gold and deserves it all.
His dog, his late wife, his eternal sadness — what more do you need?

Was Keanu Reeves the Villain All Along in John Wick? One Scene Gives the Answer - image 1

By the time action kicks in, we’re already convinced that John Wick is a good man. This automatically means that the ones he kills are bad men. We don’t feel sorry for them or even consider them worthy of living. They wronged John, so whatever John wants to do to them is righteous and he has the moral right for it. That’s it; the amazing action sequences prevent any further judgment from developing.

But ultimately, they don’t take away John’s insatiable bloodlust, lack of reason, and sadism. They don’t make him a hero or even an anti-hero: John Wick was a villain who just so happened to be fighting other villains over his personal reasons.