‘The Matrix Resurrections’- Film Review

Considering how we’ve been blessed with what Keanu Reeves has been taking part in around Hollywood, it was only a matter of time until the world was ready for The Matrix Resurrections to become a reality. Of course, most might’ve remembered when a fourth installment in the popular sci-fi franchise was rumored ten years ago, which had many of us thinking how it would continue now after it originally ended 18 years ago. But whether you’ve been a fan since the beginning or newly fresh, it’ll go about the way it needs to be.

What’s the Story: To find out if his reality is a physical or mental construct, Thomas Anderson (Reeves), aka Neo, will have to choose to follow the white rabbit once more. If he’s learned anything, it’s that choice, while an illusion, is still the only way out of — or into — the Matrix. Neo already knows what he has to do, but what he doesn’t yet know is that the Matrix is stronger, more secure and far more dangerous than ever before.

The fact we actually got a brand new Matrix movie is astounding. Anybody who grew up in 1999 must’ve been obsessed with how much the original film became a cultural phenomenon. Still to this day, I consider it a deep and philosophical piece of cinema that can’t replicate. Everybody was blown away by how the Wachowskis pulled everything together to create a masterpiece in its Oscar-winning visual effects and mind-blowing action that’ll never be dated. And I just watched the 2003 sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, for the first time recently since there was never any rush to watch them before. The indecisiveness of wondering if I should watch these was hard, but it was a completed task. Truthfully, I’m not too crazy about them like everyone else said since those were nowhere near the level of greatness as it was from the beginning.

All that said, I was pretty excited for The Matrix Resurrections, despite only watching the first movie at the time. With Lana Wachowski now the sole director without the help of her sister Lilly and co-written the screenplay with David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon, this had to be a legacy sequel that had to justify its existence to continue after the original trilogy wrapped up on an anticlimactic note. Just a week before it came out, and even now, it doesn’t shock me the slightest that we have ourselves one of the most divisive blockbusters recently. The reaction were that people either love or hate it. Everything was all up in the air in how I’d react to this. And to be perfectly honest, it’s nowhere near a great movie, but I’ll go as far as to say there’s more fun to be had here than its previous installments.

Anything Wachowski goes with here goes for a bold vision that doesn’t seem like she was forced to make this after being asked dozens of times in the past. With her in the director’s seat, this was her way of showing off the creativity and imagination she wanted to bring new ideas to the table and give what fans loved before. Essentially, Resurrections is about a rescue mission for Neo to save Trinity, trying to set her free from her reality, in an almost role reversal way when I looked at it. Not only that, but it seems like the world of “The Matrix” has evolved much more as time passes. Even this explains reasonably how Neo and Trinity are alive after they didn’t make it in the last one. Was there enough in here to have it process more accessible for me? That’s always been the thing in trying to comprehend everything in a nearly two-and-a-half-hour film. Everybody has been talking about how this goes towards meta, and I didn’t know what they mean. The first act would replicate scenes done before or insert scenes from the past three movies that’ll jog Neo’s memory and ours, too, acknowledging how self-aware it’s planning along. The attention of what they were trying to go for made me skeptical since it was too much noise, but I guess it worked for a while where I would’ve bought it more if they went along with it. I’ll say this; it was a smart move to rewatch the trilogy as a whole.

Of course, the two biggest names to make their return to the franchise are Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne-Moss as Neo and Trinity, respectively. Their love for each other was always the best in the first three movies, and seeing them on-screen together once again was almost like they didn’t forget where they came from or where they left off in nearly two decades. I love any scene with the two despite not knowing who they were in their past lives. It’s their connection to getting back to each other was the most substantial part throughout I personally cared about. Acting-wise, this is the best we’ve seen from Reeves in a while, and though there should’ve been more screen time for Moss, she crushes it again as Trinity. And I’ve forgotten how beautiful she is. Then you also have Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as an alternate version of Morpheus, who was good though it was an imitation I felt mixed on whenever he’s on-screen. I’m surprised to say I also enjoyed Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris in where their characters fit and the return of Jada Pickett Smith as Niobe, the general of Io, which used to be Zion, was nice, but the unconvincing makeup wasn’t. But out of the new additions of characters, I flat-out love Jessica Henwick as Bugs, who’s the captain of this ship Mnemosyne. She really does remind me of a new Trinity in a good way where she ensues charm with her character that I wouldn’t mind seeing again in the future.

Since I’m not the most intelligent person in the world, I’ll admit trying to understand the concept of “The Matrix” beyond the original does get needlessly complicated. However, I love how the first movie made me think hard about our state of reality, wondering if everything we come across is real or a part of a simulation. Wachowski respects its audience, but the story has a hard time engaging around the second act because it gets caught up in over-explaining everything, causing the energy to take a back seat and having some underdeveloped characters like Bugs’s crew. So threw so much ambition at the wall that not everything lands right. It was around that where I needed to take a quick nap to recharge myself. But it mostly bounces back during the final act.

As for the action to be one of the selling points, they were entertaining to look at, but it wasn’t as perfectly executed or mind-blowing as we’ve been before. Not a lot of it was great since none of the styles that people tried to imitate for years didn’t capture the sensation of its effects and fight choreography. This sequence on a train being used as a moving portal was my least favorite out of the bunch. Not enough in-camera shots of the fights with minor edits that couldn’t make them impactful or one that stood out as the definition of iconic.

Overall, The Matrix Resurrections doesn’t have the most flawless storytelling, but it’s perhaps the most watchable sequel to come from the sci-fi franchise. Did I want to love it? Of course, though not to the expense of calling it one of the best movies the end of the year had to offer; let’s calm down about that. A decent enough return for long-time fans to travel on a nostalgic trip. But seeing Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss back again was great. Much like any film that requires heavy thinking, I wouldn’t mind giving this another go-around in hopes of liking it more. After it was over, would I want to see a fifth movie down the road? That’s a strong possibility if a more creative output is fantastic.

Grade: B-

The Matrix Franchise Ranked:

  • The Matrix
  • The Matrix Resurrections
  • The Matrix Reloaded
  • The Matrix Revolutions

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