After practically 20 years, moviegoers lastly have the change to revisit the imaginative cyberpunk world of 1999’s The Matrix with the fourth installment within the sci-fi franchise: The Matrix Resurrections. It is not an ideal movie, however there’s sufficient of the outdated magic to thrill longtime followers. The celebs nonetheless radiate chemistry, there are many cameos and sly nods to the franchise all through, and the acquainted themes have been subtly up to date to make them extra related than ever.
(Some minor spoilers under, however no main reveals.)
As I’ve written previously, it is tough to overstate the deep cultural influence of The Matrix. It redefined the sci-fi movie style and formed a complete technology of followers—plus, it raked in $460 million worldwide, garnered a number of Oscars, and despatched star Keanu Reeves’ already wholesome profession into the Hollywood stratosphere. Cyberpunk writer William Gibson known as The Matrix “an harmless delight I hadn’t felt in a very long time,” and he named Neo as his all-time favourite sci-fi motion hero.
We nonetheless consult with taking the “red pill” when trying to find a metaphor to signify selecting between an unsettling, life-changing reality or blissful ignorance. Who can neglect Reeves’ meme-worthy utterances (“Whoa!” or “I do know kung fu”) or Laurence Fishburne’s fabulous sunglasses-wearing Morpheus? That is additionally the movie that gave us “bullet time”: a particular impact—used for the rooftop scene the place Neo (Reeves) dodges bullets fired by one of many Matrix’s Brokers—through which the shot progresses in sluggish movement whereas the digicam seems to maneuver at a traditional velocity by way of the scene.
That is a tough act to observe, and the 2 subsequent movies by no means fairly reached the identical heights, regardless of their field workplace success. The identical may be stated about Resurrections.
The movie opens with Bugs (Jessica Henwick), captain of a insurgent ship known as the Mnemosyne, stumbling upon an odd program operating on outdated code in an remoted node of the Matrix. It is operating a recreation of the unique movie’s famous opening scene through which Trinity takes out a gaggle of armed officers and should flee from Brokers. However sure key particulars are all flawed—together with the presence of an Agent who seems to be the digital embodiment of Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Bugs frees Morpheus from the node and so they crew as much as monitor down Neo within the Matrix.
Neo, again in his Thomas Anderson persona, is working at a sport design firm known as Deus Machina, together with his boss and companion Smith (Jonathan Goff). Thomas is legendary for designing the corporate’s most profitable gaming franchise: the Matrix. However he retains having vivid desires that appear like recollections, and may’t shake a nagging sense that he actually is imprisoned inside a faux pc actuality. He frequently sees a therapist (Neil Patrick Harris), who retains Thomas nicely provided with prescription blue tablets.
Thomas can be unusually drawn to a married mother named Tiffany (Carrie Ann Moss) who frequents the identical cafe (aptly named Simulatte). After all, Thomas’s instinct seems to be appropriate, and it is not lengthy earlier than Bugs and Morpheus monitor him down and determine tips on how to rescue him from the Matrix as soon as once more.
The movie’s premise is ingenious: the idea of the Matrix, and the One who can management and manipulate it, is so highly effective, that the system had to determine tips on how to dilute it. What higher means to take action than by trivializing it, remodeling a heroic delusion into leisure? It supplies the right alternative to work in intelligent fan-service nods to the unique trilogy in some surprising methods, similar to a black cat named Deja vu. And Wachowski has provide you with an particularly cool twist to “bullet time” that I am unable to focus on in depth with out spoilers.
There have been some technological updates, too. Bugs and her fellow human rebels go out and in of the Matrix utilizing mirrors as portals somewhat than telephone traces; Brokers can don “skins” to mix in higher with the simulated people within the Matrix; and Morpheus may be embodied outdoors of the Matrix through one thing known as the “Exomorphic Particle Codex” (mainly swarms of nanobots).
It is well-known that the Wachowskis did not initially intend to make one other Matrix movie after Revolutions in 2003. Lilly Wachowski went as far as to call the prospect “a very repelling concept in these occasions” in a 2015 interview—a pointy critique of Hollywood’s desire for sequels, reboots, and diversifications. Nonetheless, Warner Bros. formally introduced the fourth movie in August 2019.
In Resurrections, Deus Machina’s father or mother firm forces Thomas to work on a fourth installment of the Matrix sport, giving Lily Wachowski, as director, a first-rate alternative to skewer the studio franchise system’s obsession with focus teams and advertising and marketing. (“We want a brand new bullet time!”) As the sport growth crew argues about which components are most vital, and what the true which means of the Matrix is, it is not onerous to think about the scenes as reflections of the director’s personal frustrations.
Look, no sequel will ever come near the visible pyrotechnics and breathtaking originality of the primary movie, and The Matrix: Resurrections has some points. Most notably, the complete second act is poorly paced and muddled, though the third act finds its ft to carry us to a satisfying conclusion. The dialogue is usually stilted, or bordering on pretentious—at all times a high-quality line to straddle in terms of the Matrix franchise. And there’s some fairly heavy-handed moralizing at occasions that might have benefited from a extra refined strategy.
However these points aren’t sufficient to sink what’s in any other case a really entertaining movie that offers longtime followers of the franchise just about precisely what they need. It is received placing visuals, emotional resonance, dry wit, sufficient conceptual and thematic depth to spark some intriguing dialogue, and loads of battle scenes—even when the choreography is not fairly as electrifying as the unique movie. In brief, it is a stable addition to the franchise that works extra typically than it would not.
The Matrix Resurrections is now taking part in in theaters and can be streaming on HBO Max. We strongly advocate solely going to see motion pictures in theaters in case you are totally vaccinated and boosted, and put on a masks at some stage in the screening.