Directed by Lana Wachowski
Starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathon Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Jada Pinkett Smith.
The Matrix was the last movie that truly blew my mind. When my friends dragged me to it in the spring of 1999, I had no idea what I was getting into. As many others have written, it turned out to be one of the most revolutionary sci-fi films of our time. It spawned two sequels that were “good, but not great,” but I still have fond memories of the whole trilogy. The hype for the sequels among my friends at that time was insane. As much as the Star Wars prequels, The Matrix fills me with a fond nostalgia for the early-2000s when I was figuring out what the heck to do with my life. Rumours of a fourth have circulated, well, ever since the third film came out. But it was in 2019 when it was announced that they’d finally signed a deal with one of the Wachowskis — the creators of the whole franchise — to come back for the long awaited fourth film. I waited an extra month to see it at my local theatre…was it worth the wait?
Thomas Anderson is a highly successful video game designer. 20 years ago, he created a video game trilogy called The Matrix that took the world by storm. But, it came at a cost. The stress of creating the trilogy led Anderson to have a psychotic break. He started believing that he was within the world of The Matrix and that he was Neo, the game’s protagonist. Years of therapy helped him back to himself. But now, as the studio is pressuring him to make a fourth Matrix, Anderson starts having the delusions again…that he is Neo, and he is trapped with in the Matrix. As the delusions increase, Anderson begins wondering. Is he really Neo? And if so, why is he still alive and within the Matrix once again? It’s a mystery that a few familiar friends wearing new faces will help him solve.
What I Liked
Firstly, it’s just great seeing Neo and Trinity together again. Something about seeing the two of them fighting side by side once again just feels right. One thing the Wachowskis have always excelled at is world-building, and Lana does a stellar job of adding some new corners to the world of The Matrix. In doing so, some new villains are introduced that have fascinating motivations. As you can tell by my above plot description, the film does get very self-referential as the characters themselves try to figure out what a fourth Matrix should be.
What I Didn’t Like
I wish the film had the courage to stick to its premise, and really make it ambiguous as to whether Anderson is Neo or if it’s all just a delusion. It does eventually choose a concrete path. The kung-fu that made the original trilogy so distinct has been abandoned for our more modern shaky-cam fights. As strange as this sounds, it all came across as a little too polished. It lacked a certain grit that the original trilogy had. And hey, it has the same problem that Reloaded and Revolutions had: the original was so groundbreaking, that it just can’t live up.
The Matrix Resurrections gave me something that the other nostalgic hits of this holiday season (e.g. Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Spider-Man: No Way Home) didn’t: a sense of hope. If Neo and Trinity get their second chance, maybe I can get one, too. I really enjoyed it.