Despite being one of the most successful actors of his generation, John Wick’s longevity and legacy is a real stand-out in Keanu Reeves’ career.

Keanu Reeves as John Wick and Neo from The Matrix


 John Wick franchise is Keanu Reeves’ biggest role, making over $1 billion and becoming one of his signature creations. Reeves has struggled to build consistently good franchises with other iconic legacy characters like Neo from The Matrix. John Wick is Reeves’ most consistent and thrilling franchise, surpassing the iconic status of The Matrix. Keanu Reeves’ performance in the John Wick franchise has cemented his status as one of the biggest action stars of his generation, yet the series’ success is something of an anomaly compared to the rest of the actor’s work.
Since bursting onto the scene in the early 90s, Reeves has been involved in some truly iconic movies. With the likes of Point BreakSpeed, and The Matrix on his CV, he is no stranger to crafting memorable characters. Despite these successes, however, John Wick has become Reeves’ biggest role. Starring the Canadian as a legendary hitman drawn back into a world of crime, the quadrilogy has made more than $1 billion at the box office. Not only has each film in the series been an unqualified financial and critical success, but the character of John Wick himself is now hailed as one of Reeves’ signature creations, alongside the likes of Neo from The Matrix. Such a level of notoriety would be an achievement for any actor. But for Reeves, whose record in building long-lasting, sustainable franchises is surprisingly mixed, the John Wick franchise represents an even more memorable milestone than may be immediately obvious.
The John Wick films and spinoffs have been released over a span of ten years. The In-universe storyline has a surprisingly shorter timeline.

Keanu Reeves’ Return To Iconic Characters Didn’t Pay Off

Collage of Keanu Reeves box office hits: Speed, John Wick, The Matrix Keanu Reeves John Wick Matrix Custom image of Keanu Reeves in The Matrix and in John Wick: Chapter 4. Keanu Reeves as John Wick in John Wick 1 and Neo and Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus in The Matrix John Wick 4 vs. The Matrix 4 Although Reeves’ career is filled with incredible one-off successes, he has rarely been able to build these platforms into fully realized franchises. His Bill & Ted saga, for instance, returned with a relative whimper in Face The Music, while later installments of The Matrix series failed to resonate with either audiences or critics. Other popular characters, such as his portrayal of John Constantine in the eponymous DC movie, have failed to kick-start their own franchises – despite general audience affection. All of this makes John Wick‘s sustained success something of an anomaly. Whereas some Reeves characters have either remained a source of untapped potential, others have been wasted in increasingly lackluster series. Without John Wick, it would be fair to say that Reeves’ legacy would be one of great standalone action movies and once-iconic franchise-starting characters that ultimately petered out. Neither is true in the case of John Wick. With each installment arguably improving over its predecessors, the series is proof that Reeves can indeed command a cohesive long-running franchise – bucking the trend of disappointing returns in The Matrix and Bill & Ted.

John Wick Is Keanu Reeves’ Best Movie Franchise By Far


Keanu Reeves as John Wick consoles the Unnamed Dog in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum's intro. Despite the iconic status of other Reeves’ projects, such as The Matrix, there’s no denying that John Wick is by far the actor’s most consistent franchise. With each installment categorized as “Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, the series is part of a rare group of movies that actually improve as the story expands. Compared to The Matrix, which changed cinema in 1999, before fizzling out with a collection of tedious sequels, John Wick is a genuine thrill from beginning to end. Judging actors by their ability to start and sustain franchises is a dangerous metric. After all, many of the most acclaimed actors of all time have deliberately avoided franchise work, instead preferring to focus on independent projects. Nevertheless, the fact that John Wick has definitively proven that Keanu Reeves is more than capable of sustaining a great action series and iconic character definitively cements him as a bona fide superstar.