MOVIE REVIEW: “The Matrix Resurrections” stars Keanu Reeves (John Wick, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), Carrie-Anne Moss (Memento, Fido), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Get Down [TV series], Candyman), Jonathan Groff (Frozen, Hamilton), Jessica Henwick (Love and Monsters, On the Rocks), Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl, How I Met Your Mother [TV series]), Jada Pinkett Smith (Collateral, Scream 2), Priyanka Chopra Jones (Baywatch , Don 2), Christina Ricci (Speed Racer , Casper ), and Lambert Wilson (Catwoman, Timeline). It is directed by Lana Wachowski (Bound, Jupiter Ascending), who also wrote it with David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas, Sense8 [TV series]) and Aleksander Hemon (Love Island, Sense8 [TV series]).
The war between man and machine continues when a new rebellion discovers that Neo (Reeves) is alive.
Everything we’ve believed to be true is a lie… much like how we thought the Matrix franchise ended at three films. Only question is, was it deserving of a fourth installment?
Neo’s back and sporting that new-age Keanu beard and long hair in “Matrix Resurrections.” Say hello again to black dusters, slow motion, and space-time jargon. I reviewed these flicks a long time ago; somewhere in my second year of the site. Sixteen year old me enjoyed all of them, including the critically disappointing sequels. Would I change my mind upon rewatch? Perhaps. There was a point where the line between intriguing-complex and convoluted-complex fringed with the storytelling of these. With “Matrix Resurrections,” the cast and crew decided to make amends of what they did by jumpstarting the series… and sending us on a long stint of exposition for the majority of the picture.
Don’t let that line confuse you. I thought this outing was solid. But it’s safe to say that “Matrix Resurrections” is an expository piece. Since Neo is brought back, we have to be explained why. Much like the rest of this world and the state it’s in. Almost all storytelling revolves around catching the audience up, while explaining the mechanics of why things are the way they are. It’s not that convoluted, per say, but it can be humorous. Think of “Resurrections” as either the epilogue of the previous trilogy, or the prologue to a new one (and Lord help us all if we get several more of these).
Lana Wachowski goes solo on this installment, picking up the franchise almost twenty years after it initially concluded. “Revolutions” left the book open for more story, but it wasn’t like fans were clamoring for a new movie. After all, what more could be said? Suffice to say, “Resurrections” proved to hold something worth coming back for. Where we pick up and the journey we take is an interesting one, tied into the bond shared between Neo and Trinity (Moss), who both return for this adventure. Sure, it’s a shame that Laurence Fishburne didn’t come back as Morpheus (or Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith), but the story lent itself to decent enough explanations of these cast changes to keep me invested.
From start to finish, I was engaged with this movie. As a fan of the franchise, it was awesome to see Keanu kick butt again, with the only downside being it took until the halfway point for us to get any Neo action. Most fighting is given to the new characters, who are trying to pull Neo back into reality. The first act of setting things up is stretched to where we don’t really hit the ground running until we’re almost done with the second act. It’s strange… but I kind of liked it. Having this much set-up for such a big story is nice to have, and eases us into things rather than gliding past story elements with a gloss of coincidence. Neo’s decision to wake up is a slow burn, much like him finding/pursuing his mission. Though we don’t get to see him fight much, we at least get a well-paced movie that prides itself in letting the world/characters breathe.
There are plenty of other things to admire about this installment. The cinematography is great (though there aren’t really any bullet time shots in this), the performances are solid, and there are plenty of memorable moments that make the movie-watching experience worthwhile. Is it the best? No. There’s a different theme expressed in the chemistry between Neo and Trinity (which doesn’t make it feel too much like a repeat), but the process to get there can wane from time to time. And though they seek to explain everything, I found myself still lost on a few details. Guess that technical jargon is still going strong.
“The Matrix Resurrections” stands tall amongst the sequels. It’s structure works in easing us back into the world, and the chemistry shared between Reeves and Moss is amazing. They are clearly the best parts, though Wachowski manages to make everything else at least interesting. By the end of the journey, I left satisfied. It’s not a film we needed, but the filmmakers did a good job in giving us a well-balanced story that felt right in the end (and less confusing than the other sequels). If you’re a fan of this franchise, you’ll surely enjoy it. FINAL SCORE: 80%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: