This is the worst ‘Matrix’ by miles—a tediously talky, muddled mess of meta-recursive ideas that dilutes the mythology that made the trilogy, flawed as it may be, such a blast.
Dir Lana Wachowski
2021 | USA | Action/Sci-Fi | 148 mins | 2.39:1 | English & French
PG13 (passed clean) for violence and some language
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jonathan Groff, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Jada Pinkett Smith
Plot: 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.
Distributor: Warner Bros
Subject Matter: Moderate – Reality; Existence; Destiny
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Pace: Slightly Slow
Audience Type: Mainstream
Viewed: In Theatres – The Projector
David Ehrlich of IndieWire calls The Matrix Resurrections an antidote to Spider-Man: No Way Home. I can’t disagree any more vehemently—this fourth Matrix is the worst by miles, a neurological poison that is best left to expire quickly in the lab.
I’ve been a fan of the Matrix movies for as long as I can remember. The first one was a masterpiece of sci-fi action, a cultural touchstone in every way; and as flawed as Reloaded and Revolutions were, one can’t deny they were entertaining and visually spectacular.
Move forward nearly two decades later, Lana Wachowski (in a solo directorial outing) revisits the legacy of her earlier pictures and fashions what appears to be, at least for the first twenty minutes or so, a setup for why a fourth film could be conceptually fascinating.
As a fanatic, I was thrilled at the prospect of a possible way to get plugged back into a familiar world that had spawned multiple social, political, even religious allegories.
But surprisingly, Resurrections became tediously talky—the scenes with Neil Patrick Harris playing The Analyst didn’t work at all for me, and so were the extended segments with returning side characters from the earlier films as they plan a very risky ‘heist’ with a new team of renegades.
“I fly or I fall.”
Resurrections is once again framed as a love story between Neo and Trinity (both roles reprised by Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss respectively in rather rote performances), a cosmic force that rendered some of the conceptual imperfections of the earlier films bearable, but I couldn’t buy into this new destiny that might await them.
The fact that the most interesting character to me was Bugs (Jessica Henwick in a memorable turn leading our protagonist down the proverbial rabbit hole once more) speaks volumes of how disconnected I was to the muddled mess of meta-recursive ideas, propagated by characters whose characterisations Wachowski might have naively assumed would be deeply affecting for the viewer on the pretext of nostalgia and legacy (this was also a problem I had with No Way Home).
The action is borderline good but not truly outstanding; more significantly, there is something clearly lacking in the soundscape of Resurrections (composer Don Davis is no more involved) as it accompanies the action. Revisit the last 20 minutes of The Matrix, or the pulsating freeway chase in Reloaded, and you’ll get what I mean.