By Jason Delgado
The Matrix Resurrections does the unthinkable: it gives us photographic evidence that Keanu Reeves is actually starting to show his age. There are multiple flashbacks to the first Matrix in this movie, which made me realize that the ageless wonder is finally starting to grow older, and that the original Matrix was such a revolutionary and entertaining film.
Reminding the audience of a superior movie may not be the best idea when you’re making a reboot/sequel. The Matrix Resurrections is better than the past Matrix sequels, but how can a copy ever live up to the original? There are some cool new characters, (including Jessica Henwick as the scene-stealing Bugs, and Neil Patrick Harris as The Analyst) and some twists, but the plot heavily borrows from the first movie.
Neo, aka Thomas Anderson, is back in the Matrix, but now as a video game programmer, living a dull life behind a computer screen for far too many hours, like so many of us in real life. The parallels between life in the Matrix and the audience’s increasingly virtual lives since the first film in 1999 is an interesting concept, but it’s only lightly touched on here.
The Matrix Resurrections tries to walk a tightrope between action and philosophy, but there’s not enough of either to truly satisfy audiences who are looking for one or the other. I did, however, enjoy the meta scenes that talked about how Warner Brothers was going to remake The Matrix (which is a video game in this movie) with or without the original creator, along with focus groups trying to decipher what made the original a hit. “What do you think of when you hear The Matrix? Bullet-time!”
The runtime of two hours and twenty-eight minutes feels a bit too long, but it’s better than an earlier cut of the movie that I saw, which was around twenty minutes longer. Did the world really need another Matrix movie? No, but studios will continue to bombard us with every IP that has ever been successful, because it’s guaranteed cash for them.
Carrie-Ann Moss is awesome as Trinity, who is also trapped in the Matrix, believing that she is a mother with a loving family, yet she is still inexplicably drawn to Neo. The character of Trinity takes on a larger role in the mythos of the Matrix here, which I had no qualms with, because she kicks butt. It’s also a lot of fun to see Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Watchmen) as a new version of Morpheus, because he’s such an excellent actor, and brings a fresh, new vibe to the role originally made famous by the great Laurence Fishburne.
Keanu Reeves still knows kung-fu (and is always a joy to watch), but the kinetic energy of the state of the art special effects and action of the original, along with the story concept of merging Alice in Wonderland with computer technology, just isn’t nearly as new and exciting twenty-two years later in The Matrix Resurrections. It’s difficult for any sequel to break new ground the way an original classic did, and next to impossible when said sequel is also a remake at the same time.
I give The Matrix Resurrections three out of five hot sauce packets. It left a better taste in my mouth than parts two and three, but couldn’t live up to the inferno of the original Matrix.