John Wick Vs. I Am Legend: Trauma Scale

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.” – Bob Marley

· 3 min read
2 men playing with their dogs

Trauma is a recurring theme in many films, and John Wick and I Am Legend are two examples of movies that tell stories through trauma.

Both films explore how traumatic events can shape a character's behavior and motivation, and how they must confront their past in order to move forward.

John Wick's side of trauma

a severly injured  man laying on the floor with his dead  puppy

John Wick, released in 2014, stars Keanu Reeves as the titular character, a retired hitman who is forced to return to the criminal underworld after his wife dies and his dog is killed by a gangster's son.

The film is a fast-paced action-thriller that explores themes of grief, revenge, and redemption.

From the opening scenes, it's clear that John Wick is a man haunted by his past.

John is a former hitman who left the business to start a new life with his wife, but after she dies, he's pulled back into the violent world he thought he had left behind.

The death of his wife is a traumatic event that drives the plot of the film, and his grief over her loss is palpable.

man holding a young Beagle in his hands

But it's the death of his dog that really sets John on a path of vengeance.

The dog was a gift from his wife, and it's clear that John sees it as a symbol of their love and their life together.

When the gangster's son kills the dog, it's not just an act of senseless violence - it's a direct attack on everything John holds dear.

Throughout the film, John is a man on a mission, driven by his grief and his desire for revenge.

But as the body count rises, it becomes clear that his actions are also motivated by a need for redemption.

John is a man who has done terrible things in his past, and the violence he commits in the film is a way for him to atone for his sins and find a sense of purpose.

Robert Neville's side of trauma

man taking his German Shepherd out in a car

In I Am Legend, released in 2007, Will Smith plays Robert Neville, a scientist who is the last surviving human in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by vampires.

The film is a bleak, haunting exploration of loneliness, trauma, and survival.

Like John Wick, Robert is a character shaped by his past.

The film opens with a flashback to the day the virus that wiped out most of humanity was unleashed.

Robert's wife and daughter are shown dying in his arms, and it's clear that this traumatic event has left him a shell of his former self.

man hugging a German Shepherd while sitting on the floor

Throughout the film, Robert is haunted by the memory of his family.

He talks to mannequins and plays old recordings of his wife and daughter, trying to hold on to the last scraps of his humanity.

But his traumatic past also informs his actions in the present.

He's a man who has lost everything, and his drive to find a cure for the virus is motivated by a desperate desire to make things right and save what's left of humanity.

But as the film progresses, Robert's trauma begins to take a toll on his mental health.

He becomes increasingly isolated and paranoid, and his interactions with the infected become more and more violent.

It's a stark reminder that trauma doesn't just go away - it can consume a person and leave them unrecognizable.

Both John Wick and I Am Legend are powerful examples of how trauma can shape a character's behavior and motivation.

The films also explore the idea that confronting one's past is essential for moving forward.