Keanu Reeves isn't really that good of an actor. That's it. That's the worst thing you can say about him. There are very few men in the halls of celebrity and fame as well liked as Keanu Reeves. He is the answer to the question: What if the Dalai Lama knew Kung-Fu?
Keanu Reeves is the magnificent answer to the aspirational question. In lieu of the John Wick 4 announcement, TBS shall rank and celebrate some of the best versions of Keanu Reeves in pop culture.
Ted (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure trilogy)
Powers: Time travel, sick guitar solos, beautiful bowl cut
Weakness: Marijuana (Probably)
Verdict: Totally Tubular!
Ted is excellent. It says so right there in the title of the movie. Not only does he manage to finish his history homework like the true idiot savant he is. The band he founded goes on to protect universal galactic peace. The man is a multitasker, the right hand knows not what the left does and neither does his brain for that matter. But that's why we love him, dude.
Fun Fact: Keanu Reeves was in a band called Dogstar whose name inspired British post-hardcore outfit Fightstar, a synthesis of their favourite book 'Fight Club' and their favourite band.
Neo (The Matrix Trilogy)
Powers: Bullet time, kung-fu, self-belief, bullet/kung-fu proof hair
Weakness: Bad scripts
The One. Computer Jesus. Knower of Kung-Fu. Inventor of slow motion and thus Zack Snyder. Talking about it is redundant and required at the same time. The Matrix has been watched to death for good reason so let's not retread ground that is well worn.
Fun Fact: In the famous dojo scene where Neo fights Morpheus, you can see Keanu grab the wires when he runs up the wooden beam for a long distance backflip.
Another Fun Fact: Keanu slipped and fell on the debris during the first take of the famous lobby shootout sequence. It took a while to reset due to the use of practical effects.
Frank (Destination Wedding)
Powers: Nihilism, cynicism, dark one liners, majestic mane of a prince of darkness
Weakness: Emotional availability
Verdict: Keanu Reeves was in a romcom with Winona Ryder?
Yes he was, back in 2018 a film called 'Destination Wedding' came out to very little fanfare and middling critical acclaim. Keanu and Winona's chemistry is everything in this film. He's a curmudgeon and she is just done with everything. They quarrel constantly, disagree on everything and are totally meant for each other. This movie is worth a watch just to see what Keanu is like when he's not the coolest man in the room, which honestly is immersion breaking, because there is no room where Keanu isn't the coolest.
Fun Fact: Keanu is a part owner in a motorcycle company.
John Constantine (Constantine)
Powers: Agent of God, the greatest crossbow in all of Christendom, sick tattoos, demon proof hair
Verdict: In the name of christ I compel thee
Whoever says Constantine wasn't a good movie is just wrong. Sure it is not true to the source material but in its defence can you even imagine a blonde Keanu Reeves?
As a standalone story it is up there in horror comic adaptations. Especially considering the fact that it came out in a time where comic book properties were not handled with such care. Constantine remains a great movie with brilliant performances and an absolutely loaded cast. Shia Lebouf dies, Tilda Swinton is Gabriel and Keanu Reeves delivers one hell of a neo-noir performance.
Not So Fun Fact: Keanu wanted to make another Constantine film. The studio said no.
Powers: He is Keanu Reeves
Weakness: The munchies
Verdict: A true role model to aspire to
In a grand twist of fate the strongest Keanu is from a meme. It is the version of Keanu Reeves in the Sad Keanu meme. That's just a man. A real down to earth guy and he stays that way because of gravity, as he himself puts it. This life is weird. Fame and money, more often than not ruins a person, it exalts them and in the process dehumanises them simultaneously. That man on that park bench, the avatar of a generation, an embodiment of a very specific type of reserved, stoic masculinity, that man is the best version of him, because he's the real Keanu.
Readers can google him and dig out all the salacious and tragic details of his personal life. You shouldn't. It is enough that he reciprocates effusive compliments at E3, the fabric of all our lives can be enriched by that one quote from Late Night with Stephen Colbert.
"What happens when we die?" asked the host.
"I know those who love us will miss us," he replied.
You can tell by his kinaesthetic response that it was heartfelt, nothing practised or rehearsed and like we established he isn't that good at acting.
In a world where we all are in a never ending chase to earn money we lack, to buy things that we do not need, Keanu Reeves is proof that fame and money only amplifies who you are, it doesn't change you and that tragedy doesn't have to break you. We all can 'win' something from observing his example.