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The Matrix Resurrections

I’m not sure how many folks there were out there clamoring for a new MATRIX movie, but when Warner Brothers announced that the groundbreaking franchise was getting another chapter, buzz began to build.

Upon its release in 1999, THE MATRIX became a cultural phenomenon. The “bullet time” effect blew everyone’s collective minds, and from that second forward, it (or some variation) was utilized in virtually every action movie for years to come. Though this particular effect was revolutionary, the wonderment didn’t stop there. The trilogy itself was chock full of dazzling sequences (including one of the great car chases in cinematic history) and deep, often confounding philosophical musings. Its conclusion seemed
to provide a fitting end to the story, so I don’t think a continuation of the saga was on anyone’s radar.

Released simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters, THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS certainly does not provide the same game-changing thrills as the original, but does emerge as a welcome return to a world that I hadn’t realized that I had missed.

As RESURRECTIONS begins, Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) works as a video game developer. He had struck gold with his Matrix series, which had become one of the most popular franchises of all time. With this, we learn that the events of the original trilogy were little more than his professional creation, though admittedly, he had inserted portions of himself within the character of Neo. He struggles with crippling nerves and anxiety, constantly questioning what is real and what isn’t. With the help of his therapist (a delightfully cast Neil Patrick Harris) he takes blue pills days in an effort to keep himself grounded in reality.

The whole “the events of THE MATRIX were just a video game” revelation would normally serve as the surprise twist in most productions, but here, it’s the foundation of the entire film. Little does Neo know that the life he is currently inhabiting isn’t real, and what unfolded in his video game actually occurred. This blurred line of reality is about to dissipate, and Neo will once again be called upon to be “the one.”

Those who can’t recall the specifics of the original trilogy need not fear that they’ll be lost this time around. RESURRECTIONS doesn’t simply recap important moments, it features clips (particularly that of Trinity’s death) in abundance. It happened so frequently, in fact, that it was almost confounding. I’m not sure that I can ever recall a time when a new film featured so many clips from an old one. At times it felt as if “The Matrix’s Greatest Hits” was being interjected throughout this new installment, and though I appreciated the reminders, I found the sheer volume of these moments to be somewhat off-putting.

Director Lana Wachowski follows the same formula and plot points that worked so well in 1999, yet does so in a way that keeps the audience engaged and entertained. It hits all the right notes of nostalgia, while delivering a number of thrilling action sequences that aren’t quite as innovative as their predecessors, but still exciting enough justify their own existence. New iterations of characters such as Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and Smith (Jonathan Groff) were stand outs in this regard.

The true delight of RESURRECTIONS is watching Reeves and Carrie Ann Moss back together again. The chemistry between the two is as strong as it has ever been, and there is a genuine comfort in seeing them share the screen.

Once Neo realizes the true nature of his existence, he will stop at nothing to save Trinity from forever flailing in the Matrix. As Thomas Anderson, the two had struck up a relationship of sorts after meeting in a coffee shop. She is aware of his video game, and though she is married with children, she can’t help but find an inexplicable link between herself, and the character of Trinity within the game.

Though at this point there is no plan for future MATRIX films, RESSURECTIONS lays down a foundation to build upon, and Reeves is already on record as saying he’d absolutely return if asked. It seems hard to believe that this is the last that we have seen of Neo and Trinity, and admittedly, I’m far more interested to see where it goes now than I expected to be.

(Now showing in theaters, no longer available to view on HBO Max)

RUN TIME: 2h 28min
GENRE: Action, Sci-Fi
STARRING: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
DIRECTOR: Lana Wachowski
WRITERS: Lana Wachowski

Brian Miller