To re-enter ‘The Matrix’, 19 years after the original trilogy ended doesn’t sound all that surprising nowadays, considering everything else is getting resurrected. The idea of the legacy sequel sounds superficial, using nostalgia to bait movie-goers to get a nice looking box-office result, that being said, when it works, it works like magic. With ‘Star Wars’ delivering four one-billion-dollar movies in the span of four years, it surely gave Hollywood the incentive to see what other franchises they have lying around. However, the legacy sequel has proven quite divisive with a lot of the fans driving the conversation and most times, it’s not a pretty picture. Considering how much nostalgia is pumped into these movies, it’s very easy for them to backfire by trying something new. If it’s too familiar, it’s a cash-grab, if it’s too new, it has ruined the franchise. There is a very fine line that these movies have to walk and ‘The Matrix: Resurrections’ walks that line better than most even if it isn’t the new ‘Blade Runner 2049’.
major spoilers for ‘The Matrix’ Trilogy and ‘The Matrix: Resurrections’ are featured in this review.
When all is said and done, ‘The Matrix: Resurrections’ is definitely a movie that belongs to ‘The Matrix’ franchise. It looks and feels like a ‘Matrix‘ movie and the philosophy and romance is still at the forefront, even if the action sequences suffer. ‘Resurrections‘ feels like the true sequel to ‘Reloaded‘, in the sense that it delivers a new side to Neo and Trinity’s romance that wasn’t really explored all that much in ‘Revolutions‘. With the way the original trilogy ended, ‘The Matrix‘ left the pop-culture sphere tarnished and damaged and honestly, this movie came out a few years too late. However, now that it is here, I have to say that ‘Resurrections‘ is one of the greatest uses of the legacy sequel. For a franchise to survive, it needs to adapt and what better franchise to adapt in the 2020s than ‘The Matrix’? It’s the same reason why ‘Scream‘ is doing so well, it has more to say because times have changed so much. However, in this case, it’s less of wanting to say something but rather comment on it and get another chance at telling the story of these beloved characters.
Reuniting with Thomas Anderson 19 years later was one of the elements ‘Resurrections‘ nailed on the head. Making Thomas a video-game developer who envisioned his life as Neo in The Matrix as inspiration for a video-game trilogy was genuinely clever and fun to work with. The blue pill portion of the movie was genuinely fascinating and trippy. Seeing people develop and brainstorm ideas for a fourth Matrix while watching said sequel in a theatre was trippy, to say the least. Keanu Reeves gives in my opinion, one of his best performances as a troubled Neo, I genuinely cared for him as well as Trinity who is once again played by the iconic Carrie-Anne Moss. Although she didn’t get as much time as Trinity, she used up every second to its fullest. They have become characters that I not only love and am invested in but they retained that effortlessly cool vibe that they had in the original trilogy which really is a testament to both Reeves and Moss.
To me, ‘The Matrix’ was always a story about freedom and love covered in shades of cyberpunk, epic sci-fi and lots of latex and capes. It was never about Zion or the Sentinels or even Agent Smith, it was about the human experience and how we long to feel in control and to feel loved. Neo and Trinity’s love has always been the core of this franchise. Skipping ‘Revolutions‘ and the utter mess that movie is, every movie ended with an act of love. Trinity saving Neo in the first movie. Neo saving Trinity in ‘Reloaded‘ and then eventually their bond and trust in each other saving not only their lives but granting them control of The Matrix in ‘Resurrections‘. The entire journey to getting Neo and Trin back together was well worth the wait. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss’s chemistry hasn’t aged a day since 2003 and honestly neither have they. The love and trust between them is so palpable, it genuinely radiates off the screen. It made for one of 2021’s most satisfying climaxes, in fact, it’s one of my favourite moments from the entire franchise. When Trinity thanks The Analyst at the end for giving her and Neo another chance, it’s as if she was thanking Lana Wachowski for giving these two the ending they deserved, even if it feels like the beginning of a new story, one that will hopefully be continued.
As someone who just recently watched the original trilogy for the first time this very month, I couldn’t have been any more excited to watch ‘Resurrections‘ in theatres. I bought the ticket, sat in a sadly empty theatre and immersed myself in this movie. I refused to watch it at home, in fact, I make it an effort to watch these legacy sequels on the big-screen because it makes them all the more special. I honestly felt lucky getting to watch this in theatres because it is such a rare thing, to watch a ‘Matrix‘ movie in theatres. When ‘Revolutions‘ came out, I was two years old. When will I ever get the chance again? Despite its flaws, ‘Resurrections‘ was still a blast to watch. It left something to be desired and I actually want to see the story continue, maybe in a second trilogy. In fact, another movie is warranted considering how much this movie left on the table, it needs to be continued.
As much as it gets right, ‘Resurrections‘ is still a flawed return. At times, the movie feels feels unenthusiastic about the journey and wants to get to the third act right away. The entire reason for this movie’s existence is to give Neo and Trinity that second chance and it treats everything else with a different enthusiasm. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Morpheus and Jonathan Groff’s Agent Smith are sidelined and honestly forgotten about at times, it’s actually quite bizarre, especially for Morpheus who is one of the key characters of the franchise. The actors do a great job stepping into such scary shoes but it’s admittedly disappointing how underutilized they were. The introduction of the new crew was honestly one of the least interesting parts of this movie. I genuinely do not care for anyone in this movie but Neo and Trinity and I think that goes for the movie as well. Lastly, the action is nowhere up to par with the original trilogy. I honestly don’t watch these movies for the action but seeing people mention the disappointing action really made me think about how this movie didn’t have the one standout action sequence unlike the other three. Not to mention the lack of martial arts fighting which in a ‘Matrix‘ movie is almost sinful.
Overall, ‘The Matrix: Resurrections’ acts almost like a semi-return to form for the franchise with a sharper focus on Neo and Trinity and less about… The Matrix. While it lacks the signature action and sidelines key characters of the franchise, ‘Resurrections’ focuses on one of the greatest strengths which is the romance and the bigger picture regarding Neo and Trinity. It isn’t as focused as the original and it isn’t as crowded as ‘Reloaded‘, it sits in a gray area between the two waiting to be continued. It isn’t entirely successful in resurrecting this franchise, in fact it couldn’t have come out at a worse time but it’s here and I appreciate it.
‘The Matrix: Resurrections’ is in select theatres now.