From visionary filmmaker Lana Wachowski comes The Matrix Resurrections, the long-awaited fourth film in the groundbreaking franchise that redefined a genre. The new film reunites original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in the iconic roles they made famous, Neo and Trinity. Can this sequel live up to the long awaited hype? We’ll talk about that in this review.
The Matrix Resurrections Trailer:
The Matrix Resurrections Video Review:
The best thing about The Matrix Resurrections is having Keanu Reeves back in the role of Neo. Thanks to a lot of nostalgia baked into the movie, experiencing Neo’s character again felt like riding a bike after a long period of time. Although he is a bit older and little stiffer, it really doesn’t matter as Reeves pretty much owns this role. It was an unexpected treat to see some of the supporting cast step up more than anticipated. Jessica Henwick (who played “Bugs”) was a definite highlight.
Her action scenes were some of the best moments in the film, and I could easily see a spinoff movie or series being built around her character. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was also great as “Morpheus”. He really brought to life his version of the character and completely made it his own. I will say, however, that it was a bit disappointing to see the visual choices made with his character for the majority of the film.
The Matrix Resurrections doesn’t want to be a traditional sequel, and you can tell from the plot of the film. What I liked about it was the unique approach to be self aware and very meta in different scenes. There are a lot of references and jokes thrown into the film that only the audience will understand. One can appreciate these callbacks, not just as a fan of the Matrix, but also for the play on the philosophical theme the franchise is based on. (Simulation theory) It was really intriguing to learn about the aftermath and relationship between both the machines and humans. This was one of the few moments in the film that felt like the essence of what was always intended in the innovative science fiction this franchise touted.
I wanted to really like the action scenes, but I just couldn’t get there. The fight scenes came off to be more of a rehash of what we’ve seen so many times before. Given the vast amount of possibilities that come along with downloading various fighting styles or techniques, The Matrix Resurrections barely bothered to tap into anything that would expand the fight scenes. Sure, we get some explosions, lots of guns, and super powered punches being thrown; but is that all this film has to offer?
To make matters worse, when you really look at what this franchise setup, it seems like even Neo has reached his limit. Every Matrix movie introduced some sort of new ability for the character. This time around, we get a slight variation of a known ability. The first time I saw it, I was happy to see his minor upgrade. Then after the fourth and fifth time of usage in the film, I realized that this Neo hasn’t really grown much at all. For a character who literally could do almost anything they want, this was a missed opportunity to dazzle audiences.
One other issue is the overly saturated themes at play. Don’t get me wrong, the “power of love” concept is an oldie, but a goodie. It makes perfect sense (on paper) to make this concept the biggest difference maker between humans and machines. However, The Matrix Resurrections gets extremely heavy handed with this to a fault. This theme would’ve worked better as a secondary (rather primary) focus of the film. It almost gets a bit corny with how literal it’s taken by the end of the film too.
The Matrix Resurrections is an ambitious sequel that trips up on its own trailblazed path. It’s full of bold ideas with poor execution. Maybe it’s a victim of time, whereas we should’ve gotten this movie at an earlier time. It’s not out of the question to suggest that Hollywood has sucked everything out of the Matrix franchise, and thereby leaving nothing much else for audiences to be wow’d by. Maybe the lack of the other Wachowski sibling could be to blame too. Either way, The Matrix Resurrections took a swing and a miss. It totally gets an A for effort, but it lacks the “it factor” that put the franchise on the cinematic map.
As a HUGE Matrix fan, I have to fully admit that my expectations could play into my viewing experience here. I rewatched the trilogy before going into this film. I saw how the first film still maintained the magic even though it’s been over 20 years. I didn’t care about the outdated and crappy CGI in the second Matrix because I loved how it threw everything at us full bore. I still give a pass to The Matrix Revolutions, because aside from the boring Zion battle, I appreciated Neo’s journey coming to an end. So naturally, I was hoping that The Matrix Resurrections would learn from it’s long hiatus. Maybe the Wachowski’s would see what’s been done, and give us something fresh and new from a visual standpoint. Alas, I didn’t think this stuck the landing, and as a result, I can’t say I’d even care to give this movie a second viewing.
I know expectations are a personal issue and/or bias, but I don’t think we can completely rule it out either. The Matrix franchise is, and was, a big deal. It literally created a new playing field for action and sci-fi movies that still borrow from it to this day. I think that if viewers can go into this movie with lowered expectations then this will be an OK watch. Don’t expect to be blown away, and you’ll avoid potential disappointment. Either way, I’d still say that if you’re a Matrix fan, The Matrix Resurrections is worth the watch. It’s available in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day.
Director: Lana Wachowski
Writers: Lana Wachowski & David Mitchell & Aleksander Hemon
Stars: Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Christina Ricci, Telma Hopkins, Eréndira Ibarra, Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt, Brian J. Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith
THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS is in theaters and on HBO Max December 22, 2021. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!
- Acting - 7/107/10
- Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7/107/10
- Plot/Screenplay - 8/108/10
- Setting/Theme - 4/104/10
- Watchability - 6/106/10
- Rewatchability - 4/104/10