Let me start by saying that I am a colossal Matrix fan. The Matrix Resurrections was my highest anticipated movie for the year, so when I tell you it pains me to write this review, know that it is because I left the theater feeling let down, and I was not alone.
The movie was lacking in multiple areas that have thrived in the franchise in the past such as the cast, action scenes, and story. The Matrix became part of the zeitgeist with a story that is still discussed to this day as being mind-blowing. While Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss slipped effortlessly back into their roles as Neo and Trinity, everything else felt forced. Trinity gets a much-needed transformation away from the standard “behind every man is a woman there supporting him to his greatness.”
The Matrix Resurrections steps out of the zeitgeist, and the story is modernized in a way to capture a new generation among the gaming and zombie obsessed. Warner Bros. goes as far as to poke fun of itself and the franchise that almost felt like it was breaking the third wall. They have turned the fame and notoriety of the franchise into a punchline. Maybe this was Lana Wachowski’s way of showcasing how WB threw this reboot at her, but it doesn’t fit the narrative. For this reason, I felt like rebooting the series was a terrible mistake if this is the direction they planned to take.
The film’s beginning starts slowly, with too much time being spent explaining the world that Thomas Anderson now lives in. During this time, you realize that everyone around him isn’t trying to keep him from remembering his past, but rather to embrace the genius that is The Matrix in his altered reality as a game he designed. The young faces around him joke about the abilities and highlights like “Bullet Time.” While you get the sense right away that Neo and Trinity are fed lies and even different faces, the cycle of callback to the original trilogy became tiresome.
New faces to the franchise include Jonathan Groff as Smith and Neil Patrick Harris as The Analyst, both of whom have the ability to make you smile even when you’re trying not to. Because of this, they didn’t fit into the aesthetic of calm and confident characters. Their ability to make facial expressions and jokes felt exaggerated and very foreign to the film.
Unlike the addition of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Morpheus, Jessica Henwick as Bugs, or Priyanka Chopra Jonas as grown-up Sati. These new characters brought some of the redeeming qualities back to the film. They are passionate and focused surrounding the ultimate vision of what the Matrix means to humans and machines, like holding the peace that Neo and Trinity fought for in the first place.
Rejoining the cast is Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe, but she is much older as 60 years have passed in the real world. Seeing where humans and machines have evolved during that time is the type of storytelling that fans will appreciate, and how the real world has learned how to hack the Matrix in new levels that make it easier to enter and exit the Matrix.
One of the reasons fans loved the franchise was the epic action scenes that defied logic and gravity. While some of that still exists, none of the fights really wowed me. In fact, they used the method of shaking the camera during filming for the fights, so it left me feeling motion sick and that I could have mastered Kung fu and had the same fight myself. “Swarm Mode,” which turned humans into mindless mission-focused zombies, is the new fight scenario, and it just felt off. I guess that is the theme of my review, The Matrix Resurrections was lacking the original Matrix magnetism and felt off and forced.
While the film has lots of callbacks and familiar faces from The Matrix franchise, it just didn’t feel like a continuation of that legacy, but instead a chance for Warner Bros. to make some easy money off fans with a story that lacks ingenuity. Will I watch it again? Yes, I probably will (at home on HBO Max). As a fan, I do owe the story another chance to see if it appeals to me on the second watch now that my expectations aren’t so high.
Does The Matrix Resurrections have an end-credit scene? Yes.
Yes, if you stay to the end, you’ll be granted an end-credit scene. Whether you should stay because you may miss a chance at a possible follow-up movie, then no. The end credit scene is another moment to feed you a terrible joke that doesn’t fit or belong. The end of the film leaves the story open to more from the franchise, but I’m assuming box office numbers and the cast will drive that conversation.
The Matrix Resurrections is in theaters and streaming the same day on HBO Max on December 22.
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.
The Matrix Should Have Stayed A Trilogy