Hitman: Exploring the Ambiguous Ending

While Hit Man’s conclusion takes some artistic liberties with the actual events of Gary Johnson’s story, it still delivers a thrilling experience filled with unexpected twists and turns for the audience.

Glen Powell is no stranger to portraying Gary in the cast of Hit Man. At the start of the film, Gary is depicted as a calm and collected college professor who frequently aids the local New Orleans police department by providing them with undercover technology for sting operations.

The conclusion of Hit Man is both dark and hilariously fitting, solidifying its place as one of Richard Linklater’s finest films. It also stays true to the unexpected twists of the real Gary Johnson’s story.

Why did Gary/Ron kill Jasper and how did they get away with it?

Throughout the first two acts of Hit Man, Gary never fully commits to actual murder, instead portraying various roles within the assassin industry. However, by the conclusion of the film, he ultimately crosses this line by taking the life of Jasper, a former member of the New Orleans Police Department with whom he had previously collaborated.

Jasper learned that Gary was involved in Madison’s murder of her ex-husband, Ray. Even though Gary was not the one who committed the murder, he was aware of Madison’s involvement. Jasper was determined to gather evidence against both Gary and Madison and threatened to have them arrested in order to regain his position on the police force.

Upon reaching the final scene of Hit Man, a surprising turn of events occurs as Jasper suddenly faints and Madison confesses to having spiked his drink with a sedative.

Remaining in character as the hitman Ron, Gary places a bag over Jasper’s head and suffocates him. This raises the initial question of how Gary and Madison managed to escape prosecution for Jasper’s murder.

In response, Gary brings up the fact that Jasper will likely end up in prison. However, his biased and bigoted views cause him to also mention that Jasper’s wife left him, suggesting that her departure could potentially be used to frame his death as a suicide by placing him in a car with drugs and a bag over his head.

The film heavily focuses on wish fulfillment for Gary, as he takes on an over-the-top and murderous persona to escape his mundane life and experience something different.

In the final scene of Hit Man, Jasper reiterates that Gary is a “tough guy”who refuses to take someone’s life, despite his previous statements about the blurred line between right and wrong. This further emphasizes Gary’s admiration for Ron’s personality, as he knows Ron is capable of killing without hesitation.

Despite Maddy’s involvement, it is possible that Gary’s desire to become Ron may have also motivated him to kill Jasper. Over time, he may have become resentful of those who constantly pointed out his lack of excitement and compared him to Ron.

Despite knowing that he was not an exciting person and agreeing with Jasper’s opinion, Gary may have wanted to prove both Jasper and himself wrong by committing a murder and becoming more thrilling than ever before.

The events that unfold in Hit Man are a natural progression of Gary’s perception of himself as Maddy’s protector. The film accurately portrays Gary’s actions and character, as he ultimately kills Jasper and transforms into the hitman, Ron.

Hitman Ending Explained
Glen Powell in Hit Man | Source: IMDb

Why did Madison kill her husband in Hit Man?

Madison, who has a history of killing, is implicated in Gary’s murder of Jasper. In a previous scene, Madison admits to shooting and covering up the murder of her husband Ray by falsely claiming it was a result of a drug deal.

Madison’s motive for murdering Ray is a means of self-preservation, as she discovered that he had conspired with Gary’s fabricated hitman identity to eliminate her.

Despite Ron declining the offer, Madison remains convinced that Gary/Ron is a legitimate hitman. She fears that if her vengeful ex-husband does not carry out the deed himself, Ray will eventually find someone else to kill her.

In addition, Hit Man provides additional justifications for why Madison desires Ray’s demise. Firstly, Ray exhibits severe abusive behavior. Madison is initially portrayed as reaching out to Ron to eliminate Ray because of his manipulative and cruel treatment towards her.

This may have been one of the factors that prompted her to murder him, in addition to the possibility of obtaining his insurance money. It was discovered that Ray had a significant life insurance policy which, as his wife, Madison would be entitled to even though they were in the process of getting a divorce.

Madison’s decision to kill Ray was likely influenced by these reasons, ultimately culminating in the finale of Hit Man.

The Final Twist in Hit Man Exposes a Disturbing Reality

Following Gary’s successful cover-up of Jasper’s death and the successful diversion of suspicion away from himself and Madison, the conclusion of Hit Man depicts the happy marriage of Gary and Madison, who now have two children together, several years later.

Nevertheless, one particular scene exposes the grim reality that Madison is still tormented by her actions.

When Madison is spotted with a friend and coworker, the coworker expresses disappointment in a girl named Gabby for flaking on her. This leads Madison to react strongly, saying she “could’ve strangled her to death.”Upon hearing this, Madison appears to disconnect, forcing a fake laugh while displaying a brief glimpse of horror.

This demonstrates that even after the time jumps in Hit Man, she continues to be deeply affected by the killings of Ray and Jasper many years ago.

Hit Man Ending Explained
Glen Powell and Adria Arjona in Hit Man | Source: IMDb

What Happened to the real Gary Johnson after Hit Man’s ending?

As mentioned, Hit Man is inspired by the true story of Gary Johnson. Johnson aided the authorities by playing the role of an undercover hitman, resulting in more than 70 apprehensions. Other authentic elements of Johnson’s life depicted in Hit Man include his unassuming nature and profession as a university professor.

Of course, in reality, Gary Johnson did not commit any murders. Hit Man explicitly states this to ensure it is understood by the audience, clarifying that his supposed killings of Jasper and involvement in Ray’s demise were fabricated for the movie.

5. Hitman’s Ending: Explained

Ultimately, the conclusion of Hit Man highlights the culmination of Gary’s character development. Throughout the film, Gary appeared satisfied with his mundane, happy existence, although there were subtle indications that he yearned for something more thrilling.

Throughout Gary’s life, there were even times when those close to him, such as Ron, would suggest or gossip behind his back about how he could be more interesting. These moments ultimately shed light on the true reason behind Gary’s decision to take his final steps and murder Jasper, solidifying his future with Maddy.

During the time jump in Hit Man, Gary addresses his class and shares his lecture for the day. He explains that he used to believe life was unchanging and that individuals were unable to break free from their circumstances.

Despite this, he discovered that his initial belief was not accurate. It became evident that people have the ability to change and ultimately become something better than before.

Gary urges his students to embrace the identity they desire in life, similar to his own transformation in Hit Man where he adopted the persona of Ron and found fulfillment with Madison, despite facing challenges along the way.

6. About Hit Man

The film Hit Man, released in 2023, is a romantic action comedy from the United States. It was produced and directed by Richard Linklater, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Glen Powell. The inspiration for the film came from the 2001 Texas Monthly magazine article titled “Hit Man,”written by Skip Hollandsworth.

The movie features Glen Powell, Adria Arjona, Austin Amelio, and Retta as its main cast and tells the story of an undercover contractor for the New Orleans police who takes on the role of a trustworthy hitman in order to rescue a woman in distress.

The highly anticipated premiere of Hit Man took place at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on September 5, 2023. It was later released in select theaters across the United States on May 24, 2024, followed by its streaming debut on Netflix on June 7. The film garnered critical acclaim from reviewers.

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