22 years after the first Matrix movie, The Matrix Resurrections finally hit theaters and is available to stream on HBO Max. Directed by half of the Wachowski sisters, Lana Wachowski, the film features Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss reprising their legendary roles as Neo and Trinity.
One of the most anticipated films of the year, The Matrix Resurrections, however, received mixed reactions from critics and viewers. One verdict is unanimous across the board, however, that the franchise’s fourth installment isn’t quite as iconic as the first.
The Matrix Resurrections includes exciting new additions to its cast. Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Priyanka Chopra, and Jessica Henwick are among the sequel’s other prominent cast members.
Sixty years after the events of The matrix revolutionsthis reboot mixes nostalgia and self-referential reminders along with fun, self-aware commentary on the pointlessness of this sequel.
‘The Matrix Resurrections’: Already seen indeed but at what price? [spoilers ahead]
Where are they now?
After Neo successfully brokers peace between humans and machines at the end of The matrix revolutions in a disappointing ending, the trilogy left no room for a sequel so far. The Matrix Resurrections begins with a recreation of the very first scene from The matrixwith the addition of Abdul-Mateen’s Morpheus acting as lead agent and Jessica Henwick’s Bugs watching the fight unfold.
When viewers first meet Keanu Reeves’ Neo/Thomas Anderson in The Matrix Resurrections, he is not the only coder of the first film, but a famous video game designer. Interestingly, the video game he created is entirely based on his life and adventures in the Matrix realm.
In this latest version of the Matrix simulation, Thomas and Tiffany (Trinity) have no memories of themselves and are just casual acquaintances. Additionally, Neo also has a billionaire boss (Jonathan Groff) and a therapist (Neil Patrick Harris), who attempt to help him deal with visions and memories of previous Matrix events.
The heart of the Matrix films has always been the love saga of Neo and Trinity. In The Matrix Resurrectionstheir romance becomes the focal point of the plot, so much so that Neo seems either amnesiac or indifferent to everything else.
The focus on Neo and Trinity reuniting as lovers takes away crucial opportunities and plot points that could have been better explored. Their bow looks disjointed at best. Additionally, Trinity’s role was given little prominence until the film’s eleventh hour.
The choice, as revealed, is only an illusion and Neo already knows what to choose when the familiar red and blue pills are presented before him. “I’m back where I started,” Neo says, when he’s led down the rabbit hole again by a new version of Morpheus.
After Neo once again escapes the simulation, The Matrix Resurrections features various flashback scenes from previous films, reminding viewers of what they need to know to make the required connection while watching this one.
Not only does this seem like a lazy effort to introduce uninspired nostalgia, but it also makes the plot all the more chaotic. The convoluted plot feels like a simple pile of events and themes that, while great ideas, lack proper execution.
Unimpressive Action, Villains, and Other Additions
Introduced as supporting characters in Neo’s life, Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris are ultimately revealed to be the villains of The Matrix Resurrections. While impressive as individual actors, their roles lacked the charisma of previous Matrix villains.
Additionally, Groff and Abdul-Mateen II had huge shoes to fill, with their roles as Agent Smith and Morpheus, which were previously played by legends Hugo Weaving and Lawrence Fishburne. Besides these three, the other new characters in the movie seemed to serve a singular purpose of worshiping Neo.
Let’s not even start with the fight sequences featured in The Matrix Resurrections. After stylized action and distinctive stunts in previous episodes, as well as Reeves’ jaw-dropping action work in John Wick movies, the action sequences in this movie seem bland and thought provoking.
In addition to Keanu Reeves’ apparent aging, his character’s demeanor and attitude also seem capitulated. Additionally, the cardinal real-time action sequences of the Matrix films were also absent from this one.
In all, The Matrix Resurrections does the trilogy a great disservice, which had already started to gradually deteriorate after the first film but still managed to stay afloat. The third movie was where the franchise fizzled out, and the Wachowski sisters’ initial plea about not making a sequel seemed justified in hindsight.
The latest Matrix movie opens with a fantastic early run, including a fun meta reference to the nature of the sequels and Warner Bros. However, it quickly escalates into disappointment and lasts a tedious two hours.
In 1999, The matrix introduced the world to a stunning cinematic universe that delved into the debate between humans and the advancement of technology. Prescient for its time, the film sparked a volcanic discourse on the subject, giving rise to several pop culture offshoots based on this Matrix-esque phenomenon.
The innovation and insight that popularized the mix of science fiction, cyberpunk, and action genres back then lacks distinctiveness today. This is probably one of the main reasons for The Matrix Resurrections land flat for Matrix fans.
The Matrix Resurrections was released in theaters and on HBO Max on December 22, 2021.