Spoilers will take the blue pill.
Another nostalgia vehicle, and my hopes got up just a little bit. Chances are you can guess how my experience turned out. There was a progression through the original three films, and it was left a little open ended. However the title and trailer already gave me a bad feeling about the plot to this one. If you’re really invested in this one, you might want to stop reading. When I like a feature, I try to tell you very little. When I don’t, I don’t really watch my step.
Matrix Resurrections (2021) was directed by Lana Wachowski who co-wrote it with David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon. Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a programmer known for his work on a legendary game called “The Matrix”. He’s smitten with a woman he notices at a coffee shop named Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss). He also routinely sees a therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) who eventually will be revealed to be “The Analyst”, the creator of this new iteration of the Matrix that has re-inserted both Neo and Trinity and given them new identities separate from each other.
We do have returning character Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith), a former captain and now a General of the new human city Io. There are returning characters played by new actors. Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is now an artificial construct and Agent Smith (Jonathan Groff) has been “recasted” as Neo’s boss. We are also introduced to the crew of the hovercraft Mnemosyne led by her captain, Bugs (Jessica Henwick). Bugs is the audience surrogate in the beginning, but eventually we’re back to Neo and Trinity while most of the new characters fade into the background.
The plot is basically about breaking out of the Matrix, first Neo and then Trinity. Which still feels not only like a callback but a rehash of the original first film. The problem for me is that this has been done before, and the filmmakers acknowledge this. You even get iconic scenes from the original film playing in the background, on the walls and just showing up randomly just to ensure the audience remembers them from the original film. It’s just frustratingly patronizing how the movie has put rails to make sure you only interpret each scene in parallel to the original story.
It didn’t work for me. I was keeping my hopes up in case we would get a reveal that both characters were in some inner sanctum of the machines so they could finally take down the whole Matrix. I wanted a progression on the original plot, not a regression to the beginning. What we get is not something new, but just basically a forced remake. Not having the original casting of Larry Fishburne as Morpheus or Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith made it also obvious we’re not there.
Not recommended. I know fans will want to take a look at some point. There are some engaging characters, but it always feels you’re waiting on the film to get somewhere else. There are a couple of moments built for fans, but they feel forced. Ancillary characters that appear just to make references to the original Matrix or inside jokes are the most painful to watch. Scenes of the original showing up on the walls are just a reminder of a much more interesting film. This new iteration feels unnecessary and not worth a watch. If you must watch it I’d wait until it appears in an online streaming service you already have.
That will do for now.