I found this question about John Wick that stated that Marcus took the contract, but out of friendship he decided to help Wick. But couldn't he refuse the contract and help Wick anyway? Why take it, help Wick, and then have Viggo come after you for not killing him?
Because it was $2,000,000. ;-)– ibrahim mahrirApr 3, 2018 at 19:24
1@ibrahimmahrir - but he wasn't going to get the money anyway. He took the contract to watch over him, but he could have rejected it, and still helped Wick, without Viggo ambushing him.– user63044Apr 3, 2018 at 19:57
I was just kidding about the $2m. :)– ibrahim mahrirApr 3, 2018 at 21:38
2@ibrahimmahrir so was Viggo I guess ;)– VishwaApr 4, 2018 at 6:24
If he refused the contract, then Viggo would have just hired other people to kill John. Marcus, wanting to protect John, chose to take the contract, thus giving Viggo some reassuring and stalling John's assassination.
Helping John was going to get him killed anyways out of revenge from Viggo, so taking the contract or not won't change that fact. He only took it to buy John some time, allowing him to focus on his mission and reducing the chances of him getting killed by another professional hit-man (who would've been hired by Viggo if Marcus had rejected the contract).
Conversation between Viggo and Marcus when they first discussed the contract:
Viggo: It's a timely matter, it has to be handled quickly.
Marcus: Consider it done.
Viggo: Thank you, Marcus. I know I can trust you. Thanks for the drink.
Another point that needs mentioning is the fact that Viggo knew about Marcus helping John from Ms. Perkins who saw them together earlier. Marcus might have planned to secretly help John and let him kill Viggo's son, then tell Viggo later that he had failed. Viggo, knowing John's skills and what type of hitman he is, would understand and spare Marcus' life (for failing not betraying him).
1Problem is, Marcus asked if the contract was exclusive, and Viggo said No, it was a timely matter, or something along those lines. So Marcus wasn't the only one going after Wick, remember Perkins was notified about the contract as well. She is the one that spotted Marcus and Wick together.– user63044Apr 4, 2018 at 1:40
@AverageJoe 1. The contract being open or not is irrelevant, Viggo needed a pro hitman for the job, the kind of hitman that knows John's skills, the kind that won't take on an open contract. The rest of the hitmen are no match for Wick (as shown previously in the movie). Also, Viggo might have changed the contract to an exclusive one when Marcus agreed on taking it, to show respect and faith for Marcus (such change would've happened after Perkins involvement in it). 2. Totally forgot about this. I've added another crucial point to the answer. Thanks for reminding me. Apr 4, 2018 at 4:58
If the contract was switched to exclusive, then why did Perkins attempt to kill John at the hotel with Marcus watching? She even says Viggo will give her 4 million to break the rules, had it been exclusive she won't have been there. I think it was a matter of loyalty, Viggo was probably testing Marcus to see which side he would take and if money can change him. Perkins was obviously motivated by greed and choose Viggo over loyalty to Wick, or even respect for the Continental rules.– user63044Apr 4, 2018 at 14:56
@AverageJoe I said "such change would've happened after Perkins involvement in it". That means that Perkins was involved before Viggo asked Marcus. Also don't you think it's kind of unusual that no other hitman seemed to be interested in the $2m contract? => maybe because it went exclusive. Anyways, whether it went exclusive or not doesn't matter. No hitman will take the risk against John. Viggo had to hire a pro personally. He stopped scouting for pros after Marcus agreed, which is why Marcus agreed. Apr 4, 2018 at 19:24