I, like many others, thought that after seeing Neo defeat Agent Smith and establish peace between the humans and machines at the end of The Matrix Revolutions, believed the story had come to a satisfying conclusion. However, Lana Wachowski gives us the proverbial “red pill” to show us that the story was not yet over.
After 18 years since Revolutions, Lana Wachowski, Keanu Reeves, and Carrie-Anne Moss have come back in the latest installment of the franchise, The Matrix Resurrections. Lana comes back to direct the film with Reeves and Moss reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity, respectively.
We are brought into a world where the Matrix franchise is represented as a fictional pop-culture phenomenon created by Neo’s civilian persona, Thomas Anderson. This world is a representative of our own utilizing a plethora of meta-references and Easter eggs to the franchise that longtime fans will recognize and enjoy such as “Bullet Time”.
Neil Patrick Harris serves as the film’s primary antagonist, The Analyst, serving as the architect of this new Matrix. What is refreshing about his character is that The Analyst comes across more like an ambitious businessman, rather than a “by the book” bureaucrat. And Jonathan Groff gives a standout performance as Smith, the new incarnation of Agent Smith originally portrayed by Hugo Weaving. Providing a fun level of charisma and gravitas to the character with his own motives.
While exceptional, the film is not without its issues. The uneven pacing and excessive jump cuts between scenes are distracting and make the film a little difficult to follow. My main issue with Resurrections is that it struggles to establish the overarching story throughout the first half of the film being buried by multiple side plots and concepts before we get to the main story.
This, in turn, causes the supporting cast of characters to suffer from no time to have them fleshed out but instead given a surface-level backstory as to why they are there. Due to this, I had a hard time remembering most of the characters’ names outside of maybe 2 or 3 at most.
Overall, The Matrix Resurrections provides an interesting story bringing back the franchise that helped define the early 2000s. It creates a good balance trying to appeal to both long-time fans and newcomers to the franchise by introducing new ideas, while also calling back with references to previous films. However, in doing so sacrifices some character and world-building the previous films have accomplished so well. If I were to describe the film in one word I’d quote Reeves from the first film, “Whoa”. Because this film is quite an interesting ride.
About THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS
Synopsis: Return to a world of two realities: one, everyday life; the other, what lies behind it. To find out if his reality is a construct, to truly know himself, Mr. Anderson will have to choose to follow the white rabbit once more.
Director: Lana Wachowski
Writers: Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell, Aleksandar Hemon
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Runtime: 2 hours, 28 minutes
Releases: December 22, 2021