While The Equalizer 2 looks and sounds like its predecessor, it’s quite a different movie in a lot of ways. It plays out as more of a spy-thriller than a pure revenge tale like the first film, resting more on shocking discoveries and high-tension moments rather than ‘cool-factor’ fights. Don’t worry, though – the stylish and timeously-punctuated action sequences are there, but this is a much more diverse film with a slow-burn payoff rather than a straight punch to the face.
And due to that, Denzel Washington, who plays returning hero Robert McCall, has a far-more dynamic script to play with this time around, showcasing a broader range of emotions, although still resting his hat on the stoic portrayal we’ve come to love.
As for the plot itself, the sequel uses the mysterious death of one of McCall’s former associates to set the wheels in motion. As things progress, McCall begins to unravel a much larger conspiracy at hand, which proves to work well within The Equalizer universe, pulling back the curtain on some more interesting moments surrounding the cloak and dagger world of former operatives. The initial story points can be a little confusing to the initiated, and a bit disjointed due to some quick location jumps, but director Anton Faqua leaves enough breadcrumbs to allow the you to piece together what’s happening, allowing you to be more invested in what’s unfolding on-screening.
As a sequel, though, the film does a great job at building some momentum for the franchise. It does follow many of the same beats as the first outing, but manages to carve a somewhat different, more intense tone, and one which strikes closer to home for Washington’s character. Watching him go from embracing his talent after a life in hiding in the first film, to the sequel, where we see McCall acknowledging his past and learning to deal with who he has become is a great arc for a character we’re growing more and more fond of.