28th Dec2021

‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Review – Second Opinion

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jada Pinkett Smith, Christina Ricci | Written by Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell, Aleksandar Hemon | Directed by Lana Wachowski

I still remember sitting down in 1999 to watch that first Matrix film and being blown away by just about everything this movie had to offer. The premise of life actually being a program we just inhabit was groundbreaking, the internet was in its infancy back then and this seemed like a possible future. The fight cherography was insanely beautiful in terms of how they shot the fights but they were made all the more brutal with the inclusion of bullet-time, a method of shooting action that revolutionised how we looked at action on the big screen. The Matrix changed cinema forever and the insane brains of the Wachowskis had changed Sci-Fi forever.

Even the sequels although somewhat hard to watch in 2021 were both pretty decent movies (dodgy CGI aside) they further built on the lore of man vs machine. Making superstars of Reeves, Carrie Anne Moss and Weaving along the way… But why the hell someone thought a fourth Matrix film would be a good idea I will never know but here we are!!!

Now there were rumblings for years that if the script was right we could see the return of Neo which makes me wonder how this movie slipped through. We are down a Wachowski sibling (I have to assume the brains of the operation after seeing this), we have a new Morpheus and a new agent Smith, a horrendously aged up Niobe, a completely sidelined Neo, a movie so self referential and and ham fistedly meta that it is completely devoid of any originality, heart or sense of self worth oh and we have a Neil Patrick Harris…

Seriously where was the fight choreography? Something that these movies excelled at is almost completely gone. While this movie is well shot, I have to say in terms of what we have come to expect from the franchise it actually looks pretty shit.

Ugggh let’s step into the Meh-trix!!!

After the events of the third movie the machines have jacked Neo and Trinity back into a new version of the Matrix. This time around though instead of hiding it’s existence a machine by the name of the Analyst has designed a world so that the last Matrix existed whereby giving the illusion of “could it be real, nah it’s too crazy to be real”. Meanwhile making Thomas Anderson the creator of a game trilogy called The Matrix (wink wink). A process that led him to breakdown after breakdown.

So essentially we are watching a movie that is sucking its own dick about how good those original movies were and gushing all over its own face, neck and chest. It’s an interesting concept at first but shortly the movie will drop that thread anyway to make way for the actual movie.

However Mr Anderson is semi self aware and when his co creator (played by Johnathon Groff doing a pretty good Hugo Weaving impression I must say) comes to see him about Warner Bros wanting to make a Matrix 4 the cycle begins again and it’s time to escape because how can you build on perfection (jeezo).

A Red Piller by the name of Bugs (get it bunny, “follow the rabbit”!) and her crew help Mr Anderson escape the Matrix into the real world. We get a huge exposition dump and meet the aged up Niobe where we find out that when the war of machines and Men ended the war of Machine vs Machine began… How poetic!!!

Neo doesn’t seem to give much of shit and convinces his new band of misfits to help him rescue Trinity, again showing us that Lana Wachowski was the action head of the duo because the writing and story of this movie is whack.

We get some re-hashing of some of our favourite scenes of the originals all the while showing us those scenes in this movie. Scenes that are still much better in the original trilogy than they are in this movie. I know they are going for this Meta thing but why would you show actual scenes from a much better movie in the bad movie you are currently watching.

Once in the real world we sideline Agent Smith completely and he turns up once towards the end for no real reason. I will say Groff does a great job but this character was butchered. Neo is running around with a way less interesting crew than the Nebacanezzer. We spend the bulk of the film in a cafe called “Simulatte” (oh fuck you movie), Neil Patrick Harris tries to steal the flick with some turgid monologues and fails, Merovingian returns looking pretty rough as does Sati from the train station platform in the second flick, before the good guys win due to the Power of Love… oh god I wish I was talking about the Huey Lewis song.

The Matrix Resurrections has no original concept to speak of; the “Movie within the Movie” has been done and it’s been done much better and the thing is that’s THE most interesting part of this movie because once we get into the real world the movie is a total snooze fest. Reeves may as well be sleepwalking through the flick, his minimal fight scenes are not even that great and essentially becomes Trinity’s guardian because guess why boys and girls “women can be the One too” (nudge nudge). On that I felt there was no chemistry between the two but they really wanted to force that issue.

On a positive note Jessica Henwick is a stand out of The Matrix Resurrections she was probably the only person in this movie that felt like she could of been from the original trilogy and I thought her performance was spot on, same with Groff. New Morpheus was decent but your not beating Fishburne. There is a ton of fan service but honestly it felt void of any real nostalgia as they try to savagely deepthroat you till you get the reference.

The Matrix Resurrections is a hugely divisive movie and I can see a lot of people loving while a lot hate it, I just want to put this out there and say I don’t hate this movie by a long shot but I was there the day the original hit the cinemas, I saw it on the big screen THREE times and everytime walked out having been blown away. I wanted The Matrix Resurrections to be that, I wanted at the very least an above average movie from a sequel to the groundbreaking piece of art we got in ’99. What we got was a stale retread, a far to eager to please script that more often than not is simply trying to retcon threads that the Wachowski sibling doesn’t really agree with anymore.

I would plead with WB, Wachowski or Keanu, don’t go back to this well. They sequel-bait the sh*t out of this movie but I really hope this is not a road we need to travel.

I can see myself watching The Matrix Resurrections one more time then I will put it away in favour of its far more superior predecessors and never talk about that time Lana Wachowski tried to sneak a Social Media Meta commentary under our noses in a concept they might have survived as it’s own thing but only really lives to diminish some quality movie magic from years back.

** 2/5

The Matrix Resurrections… while I don’t hate you, you do suck balls.

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