If you’ve been following The Matrix series, at some point, you probably wondered if there would ever be a follow-up to The Matrix Revolutions. One of the most difficult decisions in a successful series is when to pull the plug. If you come to an abrupt end, your following will make you suffer. If you wait too long, you run the risk of ruining that special place you made in cinema history. That all brings us to The Matrix Resurrections, which would’ve faired much better theatrically had it been released 10 years ago.
If you’ve read other reviews, you’ve probably seen a large helping of negative feedback. That’s largely in part because:
A) It took so long (the last Matrix film debuted in 2003)
B) Neo is the “Chosen One” but the plot heavily revolves around Trinity
With solo direction from Lana Wachowski, the way Resurrections took shape was impressive. With only a few snags, the story as a whole seemed to fit. The writing steered more towards that classic Matrix dialogue that the series is known for while taking a John Oliver-esque jabs when available (characters in the film took shots at Warner Bros.).
#SpoilerAlert (To give a more in-depth review of this heavily anticipated film, there will be key points given away from here on which may spoil the experience for some viewers) Neo (Keanu Reeves) survives and exists as a high-ranking gaming studio executive credited for The Matrix online video game. While he should be happy with his life, he’s often alone, which leads to flashbacks and appointments with his therapist.
Neo soon gets a visit from Bugs (Jessica Henwick), a Niobe-like captain who saves him when his office building comes under fire. But how did Neo even get to this point? How did he survive and where did he go? We discover the machines saved Neo’s life and hid him. While existing in a fabricated world thanks to the matrix, in reality, it was over 60 years ago that Neo & Trinity flew to Machine City. Speaking of which, the machines kept both Neo and Trinity’s bodies in Machine City but kept them at a distance in order to balance their energies, and in that, powering the entire matrix.
Now, aside from the obvious fact that Resurrections came about 17 years too late, the biggest hiccups in this film were casting and plot. The film does an excellent job surrounding Neo and his “memory loss”. In this, he’s shown clips from the past Matrix films, giving audiences the opportunity to catch up, fill in plot holes, and reminisce along the way. The downside to this is showing audiences a very absent Laurence Fishburne, who played Morpheus in the first three films. Fishburne was replaced by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, which was met with mixed reactions, as was Jonathan Groff replacing Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith.
On top of this, if Neo is supposed to be “The One”, the film does a terrible disservice by rooting his strength in his connection with Trinity. Physically, more power to both Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss for being fit enough to do fight scenes after all these years, that was fun to watch. Literally the only issue with Trinity was in the writing, putting her on par with Neo.
All that aside, The Matrix Resurrections gets an 8 out of 10. Wachowski ran the risk of releasing a follow-up film 17 years later, in a pandemic, with limited theatrical access and a straight-to-stream platform that nobody asked for. It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely good.
The Matrix Resurrections is available now in theaters and HBO Max.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures