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The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

Over the Christmas break I reluctantly watched a film that has been the centre of a lot of buzz for the last year or so.

The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

Why “reluctantly” you ask?

Well, because I was scared of disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I love the first film! I think it’s one of the best sci-fi movies of my generation (if not of all time), but I’ve always thought they should’ve left it alone and not made any sequels.

The following two films, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (both released in 2003), in contrast are far inferior films. Sure they’ve both got some good visuals and a few decent action/fight scenes between them, but in my opinion they got too complicated for their own good, and for the most part are pretty forgettable compared to the first one.

It’s almost like the Wachowski brothers (now sisters) spent years coming up with a great story which turned out to be a surprise smash, only then to have to follow it up with two sequels in a short space of time due to its success and to satisfy the demand for them.

I’m not saying that’s what happened but it’s what I’ve told myself all these years to explain why there’s such a vast difference in quality between the first film and the following two sequels.

In case you somehow weren’t aware, The Matrix Resurrections is the fourth film in the Matrix series and is a sequel to The Matrix Revolutions.

It’s co-written and directed by Lana Wachowski (no Lilly Wachowski this time), and stars Keanu Reeves (John Wick), Carrie-Anne Moss (Memento), Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman), Jessica Henwick (Love and Monsters) and Jonathan Groff (Frozen) among others.

This is what it’s about according to the internet:

To find out if his reality is a physical or mental construct, Mr. Anderson, aka Neo, will have to choose to follow the white rabbit once more. If he's learned anything, it's that choice, while an illusion, is still the only way out of -- or into -- the Matrix. Neo already knows what he has to do, but what he doesn't yet know is that the Matrix is stronger, more secure and far more dangerous than ever before.

This movie is pretty much what I was expecting, unnecessary and disappointing. It’s not terrible, but I probably could’ve walked out half way through without ever being the slightest bit curious about how it ended (I kind of wish I had).

Considering the first film was so groundbreaking, not only in terms of visual effects, but in the whole concept of the story, this latest sequel unfortunately doesn’t take any of the same risks.

I read an article a couple of months back where the actor who plays the younger “Morpheus”, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II said that this movie has a lighter tone than the original trilogy, and that’s definitely true. There’s a bit of comedy in it, it’s “self aware” and it definitely seems brighter visually. Whether that’s because in this film the matrix itself is a newer version of the one we saw in the previous films I couldn't say, but this one doesn’t have that greenish tone that made the others so “Matrixy”.

As good as it is to see Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss back reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity (respectively), the movie suffers a little from the absence of Hugo Weaving who played Neo’s nemesis, Agent Smith in the previous films. That’s not to say the new guy, Jonathan Groff (who essentially plays the same character just in a different form) isn’t one of the films better points, he’s just no Hugo Weaving.

In fact, in this film Smith isn’t even technically the bad guy. This time around that title goes to Neil Patrick Harris who at least does a good job with what he’s got to work with.

The story’s ok but it doesn’t really bring anything particularly new to the table.

The movie does introduce some new characters and also brings back an aged Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith), but in my opinion none of them are enough to really justify resurrecting the franchise.

Call me suspicious and a little cynical, but I couldn’t help but pick up on a few things hidden within the film, particularly in regard to references to the whole "gender thing" and also female empowerment (it would make sense what with the Wachowski’s now being trans women). I have my own thoughts and opinions on all of this as I’m sure we all do, and I very much am an “each to their own” kind of guy - however, it grates on me when these things are seemingly forced into movies when they bear no relevance to the plot.

For me the last ten minutes of the film completely undermines the whole thing that drove the story of the original trilogy (you’ll have to watch it to see what I mean), and I just felt like it undid everything it was about. Whether the motives for this were pure or whether it was to tick the "girl power" box I honestly don't know. What I do know is that by this point in the film I was barely hanging in there anyway. Sadly that bit was the final nail in the coffin for me.

All in all The Matrix Resurrections is a little bit better than I was expecting, but regardless is still an average and forgettable shadow of what the franchise once was (and that’s being kind to the other two sequels).

It attempts to replicate some of the same style as the original, just unfortunately with a lot less substance to back it up.

I read recently that Lana Wachowski has no intention of making anymore sequels. If that’s true I’m a bit confused as to why she revived this series to tell such an average story. It hardly seems worth it. I can only presume it was to capitalise on Keanu Reeves’ current John Wick success.

It’s a real shame when a sequel to a movie that redefined a genre becomes just like any other forgettable film from that genre, but this movie is just that.

If you’ve only ever seen the first film I suggest you leave it that way. If you’ve seen all three originals and feel like me, that they should’ve left it alone after the first film, I’d still give this one a miss. If however you love The Matrix and everything to do with it, knock yourself out and see for yourself. Who knows? You might just love it!

Already seen it? Let me know what you think.

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