“Matrix Resurrections” comes back full circle as many of the cast and crew from the original “Matrix” ‘trilogy’ return. The ‘trilogy’ has become a ‘quadruplet’ of movies (is that even a thing?) with this recharged version of Man vs. Machine. Sit down in a comfy leather chair and then take the Red Pill to come along…
Thomas Anderson (played by Keanu Reeves) is a successful game developer many years after the first “Matrix” trilogy. He has made himself believe that it was all a mental breakdown, but he turned around and made three video games from his trauma. His days now consist of working with his business partner, named Smith (played by Jonathan Groff). He also goes to get regular psychiatric help from The Analyst (played by Neil Patrick Harris). Of course, he prescribes Blue Pills.
All of that stuff of Thomas being someone called ‘Neo’ in a place called “The Matrix” is all behind him. Until one day he meets a woman in a coffee shop. She says her name is Tiffany, but Thomas knows her as Trinity (played by Carrie-Anne Moss). But she is also convinced that this real world around them is reality. Tiff is probably also a fan of the Blue Pills.
But in the Matrix, there is a strong and brave captain named Bugs (played by Jessica Henwick). She is able to get to Thomas in the Matrix and let him meet up with Morpheus (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). This is not the same Morpheus that Thomas once knew before, back when Thomas was known as Neo. Confusion clouds reality in the mind of Thomas. Until one day the unleashed rogue program known as ‘Agent Smith’ takes over the body of Thomas’s business partner. Morpheus finds a way to wake up the real Thomas, who is being held captive – once again – by the Machines Who Rule The World.
Thomas is free in the ‘real world’, and he knows that Trinity is also there. Her body is being held captive, and the new ‘Neo’ will stop at noting to get her free. He meets up with Niobe (played by Jada Pinkett Smith), who is an original ally of Neo in the first War Against the Machines. But in this current reality, there are some Machines who want to live in peace with the humans. Niobe is afraid that Neo will start a new War, with his plans to try and free Trinity.
Another wise sage in the real world is named Sati (played by Priyanka Chopra Jonas). She is the grown-up girl that Neo met in the earlier conflict. She knows that the key to future success is getting Neo and Trinity both free from the Machines. But to do that would be a very dangerous mission and could cause the end of the human peaceful existence. The Analyst is out to get Neo at every turn, and he can outsmart him on every level. The deadly Agent Smith is another obstacle, and you never know how he will react.
So, they plan an elaborate heist and hostage release. At all costs, the crew will go and try to release trinity. They will be led by Neo, Morpheus and also by Bugs. Sati has developed a plan, but all the odds are against them. But if Trinity and Neo were to finally join forces again, could this mean the end of the Machines? Would the Matrix be shut down by the actions of these two people? I mean, shut down again, for real…
“Matrix Resurrections” gets a strong sense of its own importance, even while it pokes fun at the idea of rebooting an idea that might be past its prime. It plays it both ways, by being goofy about the concept of a forced sequel – even as it digs into the logic and consistency of what would need to happen in that sequel. There are valid explanations for the recasting of several characters, yet there are multiple flashbacks using the original characters and actors.
All the acting is pretty good, but the real meat on the bones is in the action sequences. But these set pieces are fine, and have no ground-breaking features. This is unlike the original “Matrix” movie years ago. Back when “Bullet Time” was invented and perfected, it is used now as almost a weak punch line. At any point in the movie where they can reference its own existence in the “Matrix”, you know they will do so.
“Matrix Resurrections” takes a new perspective on an existing movie series, mostly by calling attention to the fact that is part of that movie series. They try and almost succeed in breathing new life into something that was fresh around twenty years ago.
Directed by: Lana Wachowski
Written by: Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell, Aleksandar Hemon
Based on: Matrix characters (by The Wachowskis)
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jada Pinkett Smith
Cinematography: Daniele Massaccesi, John Toll
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date: December 22, 2021
MPAA rating: R for violence and some language
Genre: Science Fiction