The Matrix, directed by Lana and Lily Wachowski, revolutionized the way we watch film, especially action cinema. How do you reinvent what you invented? This question is at the heart of The Matrix Resurrections. Lana Wachowski makes smart choices that to the naked eye might seem a bit nostalgic, but are more so intentional. It’s a way to introduce a new generation to the old Matrix films while ushering in a new narrative that course corrects some of the issues with the first three films.
Tom Anderson aka Neo (Keanu Reeves) is back in the “real world.” He’s the world’s most famed game designer and creator of The Matrix video games, which are a rehash of “dreams” and “memories” that consist of the same things from the previous films. He meets Tiffany aka Trinity (Carrie Anne Moss) at a coffee shop and there is a spark between them. As if they have met before but not sure where. Both of them have been trapped in this fake world with their memories of events and each other erased and had another life built for themselves by another entity.
Tom takes blue pills to help with the delusions and intrusive thoughts that wrack his brain. He sees a psychologist nicknamed The Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) who helps him work through the trauma that the Matrix has caused him. As he stops taking the blue pill, the two worlds begin to merge and he isn’t sure what’s real and what isn’t. Just in the nick of time he meets Bugs (Jessica Henwick) and Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who vows to free Neo’s mind and make him remember who he was before this life. And that’s just the beginning.
Trying to sum this all up is challenging as explaining it would do a disservice. Resurrections is the ultimate film-watching experience as the textile nature of The Matrix is still ever present even 19 years after the original. Bravo to Lana for grounding this film and making it more accessible than Matrix Reloaded and Revolution was, but also adding comical scenes and general moments of levity to break up the technical elements of the film.
As for the action scenes? They are choppier, and the camera is shaky as hell. While this makes the action scenes less appealing, I remember everything Wachowski does is purposeful as there has to be a reason it’s like this. And the answer is because Resurrections isn’t focused on being groundbreaking in any way, rather it focuses on telling a heartfelt story that rings as true to reality as possible. This may cause hard-core Matrix lovers to loathe the direction that’s been taken, but it’s a breath of fresh air for me.
As Neo was the center focus of the last three films, it is Trinity who is of the utmost importance and Resurrections’ real hero. This is what the Wachowski’s neglected before — giving the character her own autonomy and purpose. In fact the women are what makes this movie worth watching. Henwick and Moss are charismatic and charming, while Reeves provides laughs and doesn’t take himself too seriously this time around.
What’s most fascinating is the blatant way that Wachowski expresses the fact that she didn’t want to do this film at all. It is even said in the film in a particular scene. A bold move to say something about the studio financing your work, but she did what she had to do to preserve the integrity of the series by keeping it in the family so to speak.
This feeling of nonchalantness transfers over to the work, but it’s a good fit for a fourth film that comes nearly 20 years later. Will there be more adventures for Neo, Trinity and the new Matrix gang? Well, Resurrections is left open ended, so maybe. Bigger question is does Lana Wachowski want to do another film? Guess time will tell.
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