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Movie Review: The Matrix Resurrections (2021) *Some Minor Spoilers*

The Matrix Resurrections One Sheet

I'm am a fan of the Matrix trilogy. Even the second and third movies, which were not as strong as the first but did a lot to expand the world and bring cool, new visuals to the screen.

So I was looking forward to a fourth film, since it was announced. Unfortunately I didn't get to see it in theatres thanks to the pandemic, and it has taken too long for it to reach a streaming service that I'm subscribed to, so I finally decided to rent it through Amazon Prime.

I knew going in that The Matrix Resurrections had not been well received and kind of faded away in theatres. Having now seen the film I'm not really surprised. In theory it sounds like a home run. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss returning as Neo and Trinity, a new, rebooted Matrix reimagined as a video game, and all new cast members who, maybe, could carry the mantle into another trilogy?

What it ends up being, feels like a checklist of what people would expect to see in a Matrix movie, loosely tied together with a narrative about finding love and a lead character, kind of just reacting to everything without really understanding any of it. Much like me watching actually.

Red and Blue pills - check. Black Cat/Deja Vu - check. White rabbit tattoo - check. Liquid mirrors - check. The Construct - check. Dojo fight scene - check. Bullet Time - Check. Motor cycle chase - check. Disconnecting human batteries - check. People sitting in chairs taking damage while plugged into the Matrix - check. Black Helicopters shooting copious amounts of bullets from mini guns - check. Neo stopping bullets - check. Being pursued by Agents who could be anybody - check. Neo and Smith - fighting in a subway bathroom (I think) - check. Neo and Trinity in matching black coats with super powers - check... wait what?

Yes, Trinity finishes this movie wearing the classic 'Neo" black coat and sunglasses look, right alongside Neo wearing his classic look... what a cute couple huh? I think it had something to do with showing Trinity to be equally as powerful as Neo but I never saw Trinity as being any less powerful in the original films. She's fine (and kick ass) as Trinity. She kind of loses a bit of herself by dressing like Neo and having similar powers.

The new cast are all fine but largely forgettable since many of them are playing new versions of characters from the original series. For example, when you think of Morpheus you'll always think of Lawrence Fishbourne before Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. 

Yahya is not bad by any means but the character is mostly meaningless in this film. He guides Neo back out of the Matrix and then doesn't have any other motivation after that. He's not at odds with anyone, he's not going rogue particularly. He's just along for the ride.

The return of Jada Pinkett-Smith as Niobe is largely a cameo role with no real agency. She's some kind of de facto leader of a new human city for Jessica Henwick's, Bugs, to bump up against but that relationship never really goes anywhere, and we never really care much about Bugs anyway.

Possibly the most interesting part of the movie is Neil Patrick Harris' role as the Analyst. It's the Analyst's role to help Thomas Anderson discern what is real and what is his mind playing tricks on him. 

Neil's incredibly good at playing authority figures that understand the power they wield with no insecurity about their position. It felt like more could have been done with this angle if the film wasn't as obsessed with getting all the Matrix tropes crammed into the runtime.

I struggled to watch The Matrix Resurrections because the video game hook wasn't big enough to draw me into the mystery of why I kept getting shown actual footage of the first movie and being told it was just game footage.

I didn't really understand why this new Matrix was going bad, or why the new team were hoping to find Neo, and why they were happy to let him go about finding Trinity rather than do anything much to help their cause - though I guess he does help in the end?

It felt like we were just going from action sequence to action sequence and I wasn't altogether sure why or how we got there? At one point both Neo and Trinity end up on top of a skyscraper roof top with four helicopters shooting rounds at them because... the agents are after them I guess?

I don't know. It all ended up being a bit of a mess for me. There was a story to be told but it just got lost in the checklist of things people expect to see in a Matrix movie.

Possibly the most disappointing is that it really didn't give us anything particularly new or groundbreaking. It's essentially the first movie updated and retold with a few tweaks.

(Not unlike the Ghostbusters reboot actually).

It's maybe worth a rewatch but honestly, I'd be surprised if we ever got another Matrix movie after this. It could have been amazing but instead it's mostly nostalgia.


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