It’s been 18 years since the end of The Matrix trilogy, a sci-fi franchise that has become iconic for its fascinating premise, insane action setpieces, and most importantly, bullet time. A co-director of that trilogy, Lana Wachowski, returns to the series to helm The Matrix Resurrections, the newest sci-fi actioner featuring the return of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss as Neo and Trinity. This film is set years after The Matrix Revolutions, where Neo and Trinity live separate lives inside the Matrix with no memory of their past until they find themselves sent back into the rabbit hole.
This movie was an exciting experiment for Wachowski, as she would have to tell a new story with now-iconic characters. At times, she even seems to voice her frustrations in the film, using the characters as a mouthpiece for what The Matrix means to people everywhere. This is a surprisingly meta film fully aware of its existence and the legacy of the original films. With her pure ambition and lack of a desire to appeal to audiences everywhere, Wachowski has crafted a film that works in some ways, doesn’t work in others, but still works in the long run.
As the green text drips down our screen again and our classic Matrix theme plays, Wachowski gears us for an unconventional blockbuster. This is a movie without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. This film is unapologetically unique while wrapping itself in a science fiction action reboot. The film’s self-awareness is very noticeable in the first act. We have Jonathan Groff’s character name-dropping Warner Bros. and Trinity, who calls herself Tiffany, married to Chad, portrayed by Neo’s stunt double in The Matrix, Chad Stahelski.
Resurrections spends a good amount of the first act reveling in the glory of the original before taking a left turn down a different route. Is this route the Matrix sequel we’ve been waiting to see for years? Some will wholeheartedly answer this question with yes; I will halfheartedly respond with “almost.” Because while I believe this is the weakest movie in The Matrix series, there’s so much to enjoy about what the film does with the franchise.
The film stretches the concept of the original trilogy so thin that it doesn’t feel like a natural continuation of the first three films. Instead, it feels like a reboot, but it is also just about as good as a reboot to one of the most iconic trilogies of all time can get, with the return of many characters, some in surprising capacities. Unfortunately, the action set pieces aren’t nearly as impressive as the originals, as Neo doesn’t wield a gun once in the entire film. Still, you also get the sense that Wachowski wasn’t aiming that high, wanting to focus on the love story between Neo and Trinity.
While Resurrections does an excellent job with the story surrounding those two and Reeves and Moss’s chemistry has aged like a fine wine, the movie doesn’t spend enough time on its other characters, making much of the film feel emotionally hollow. Despite their excellent performances, it can be hard to latch onto Yahya Abdul Mateen II as Morpheus or Jessica Henwick as Bugs.
Although the sci-fi concept can feel a bit diluted and the exposition is heavyhanded, this movie mainly works at bringing back what we loved about The Matrix. The transgender subtext works perfectly within The Matrix Resurrections, and the final act contains excellent action, complete with a practical jump off of a building. It’s great to see so many characters back, doing their thing, whether it’s kung fu or interacting with the machines. This is a blockbuster with many layers to unpeel and excellent returns from Reeves and Moss.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 6 equates to “Decent.”It fails to reach its full potential and is a run-of-the-mill experience