November 30, 2023

Forward of the debut over the weekend of Peacock’s extremely anticipated John Wick prequel collection The Continental, I let curiosity get the higher of me and did a dumb factor: I made a decision to take a look at the early critiques on Rotten Tomatoes earlier than watching the primary episode of the three-part collection. “Yikes” was my first response. That’s as a result of the $1 billion John Wick franchise that’s already spawned 4 characteristic movies, plus a derivative film coming subsequent yr starring Ana de Armas, has apparently simply launched its first misfire. As of Monday morning, the present was caught with a “rotten” 50% Tomatometer rating on the overview aggregation website (it’s since improved to “recent” standing, at 65%).

What occurred? On paper, no less than, it appeared like The Continental had every thing going for it. The present is filled with Excessive Desk lore and dives deep into the origins of the John Wick universe’s lodge for assassins. Plot-wise, it’s constructed across the character of a younger Winston Scott (the lodge proprietor performed by Ian McShane within the films). The motion and gunplay, no less than what I noticed within the first feature-length episode, are ample, bordering on satisfying. To this point, so good, proper? It’s after we transfer to a dialogue of the forged, although, that issues turn into an issue.

Mishel Prada as KD in Peacock’s “The Continental.” Picture supply: Katalin Vermes/Starz Leisure
The Continental on Peacock
Marina Mazepa as Gretel, Mark Musashi as Hansel, and Colin Woodell as Winston in “The Continental.” Picture supply: Katalin Vermes/Starz Leisure

For one factor, there’s no Keanu Reeves right here — an comprehensible omission, provided that The Continental is a prequel that’s set many years earlier than the films. Nonetheless, I can perceive how some individuals suppose Keanu’s absence handicaps the present from the outset. He’s in all probability 95% of the explanation why followers cherished the John Wick films within the first place. What’s extra, an absence of Keanu isn’t even the one main situation with the forged of The Continental. For most of the critics I’ve seen who’ve been dumping on the present, their beef may be summed up with simply two phrases: Mel Gibson, who performs a villain right here named Cormac.

The disgraced actor’s presence alone makes the collection “unwatchable,” snarls a Each day Beast overview, which then proceeds to nitpick each single factor concerning the present within the service of an argument that it doesn’t reside as much as the films. That the battle sequences, for instance, aren’t ok. That the needle drops insist upon themselves. That the lighting is just too dreary. And on and on.

All of that leads us again to the present’s disappointing 65% rating from Rotten Tomatoes critics. For comparability, Netflix’s exceedingly dumb Is it Cake? actuality collection, by which individuals attempt to guess if objects are made out of (you guessed it) cake, has a virtually an identical Tomatometer rating of 67%. Go determine.

The Continental on PeacockPicture supply: Katalin Vermes/Starz Leisure

Pay attention, I’m not going guilty anybody who decides to not watch this present due to the presence of Mel Gibson. There are superb causes to go that route. A part of me, although, looks like when a critic is dumping on The Continental as a result of the director (or whoever) forged Mel Gibson, the critic is nearly reviewing … Mel Gibson, extra so than they’re reviewing the present as an total entity. That results in a nuanced and sort of fascinating dialogue that I don’t suppose journalists ever sufficiently grapple with: Can a present be ok to beat the luggage of a forged member, significantly one who’s stated and executed some fairly heinous issues?

On a associated notice, at any time when an individual watches one thing, is that particular person giving their tacit approval to every forged member’s life story and previous deeds or statements merely on the idea of having fun with a present in its totality? Many viewers of The Continental, for what it’s value, appear to be they’ve already answered these questions: The present at present has an 83% viewers rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Continental on PeacockPicture supply: Starz Leisure

It kind of looks like a lot of critics ripped The Continental aside for causes that actually don’t make numerous sense. On the finish of the day, it’s a prequel collection we’re speaking about right here. If you would like a direct extension of the John Wick films, all you must do is simply sit tight till John Wick 5. Within the meantime, two issues may be true directly. Mel Gibson is terrible. And Peacock’s The Continental, to this point, is entertaining and simply advantageous for what it’s.