The Matrix Resurrections , the highly anticipated new chapter of The Matrix , is finally here. A lot of ink has already been spilled about this project before even 1 image was shown. From surprising casting to disappointing leaks, it was difficult for those who are already regularly on social media to settle down in the soft cinema seats without any prior knowledge. Warner Bros is aiming high by programming this one right against Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home , but even without that opponent I’m afraid Resurrections would still lose out.
Of course, it doesn’t help that only half of the original writing duo returned for this film. Lana Wachowski, however, was assisted by David Mitchell ( Cloud Atlas ) and Aleksandar Hemon ( The Lazarus Project ) to work out a new story. The end of The Matrix Revolutions was in fact quite final. Neo & Trinity flew kamikaze into Machine City to end The Matrix. The trio of writers had to deliver a feat to bring the franchise back to life. The result is a loose-hanging film, with very strange choices.
The first half of the film feels like a comedy parody of The Matrix , in which the characters just blink at the camera every 5 seconds. Thomas Anderson is the designer of a game called Binary in this new version of The Matrix . This game basically consists of the events of The Matrix trilogy. So there is regular talk about The Matrixas a piece of fiction, as is the case in our world. Thomas receives huge praise for his work and is touted as a genius. At the beginning of the film, he is ordered (from their parent company called Warner Bros.) to make a sequel to the trilogy, despite the fact that there is nothing more to tell and that they swore not to make another story. *wink*wink*nudge*nudge* Got it?
There’s an entire segment where various marketers give their take on what The Matrix really was. Is it porn for the brain? Or was it mainly the weapons and action? You could already feel the hatred towards marketing in the Unreal Engine 5 demo of The Matrix, where Neo says plainly to stay away from marketers. Should I interpret this as one giant middle finger to Warner Bros for forcing Lana to make a sequel? Is this whole meta-narrative a way of referencing The Metaverse, a concept strongly linked to The Matrix that is now more prominent with social media? Be that as it may, I was very skeptical before and this whole part failed to gain my trust at all.
In some form, Morpheus returns, this time played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Within the rules of The Matrix the necessary explanation is given, but this Morpheus feels like blasphemy. Neo’s mentor, whose grimace seemed set in stone, now has an unseen frivolity. The term ‘parody’ is never really far off during this part.
While there may have been some form of subtlety present in the original film, there is not an ounce of it left in The Matrix Resurrections . With the elegance of an elephant in a china shop, the same words are reused: choices, reality, authenticity. Entire sentences are repeated to force intertextuality.
After a good hour, the proverbial curtain opens and we get more context about how the fork really works. The tone shifts completely and they try to add some depth, but in my eyes it doesn’t get much further than a pedantic finger. The best science fiction tells us something about our society or about us as human beings, but I would have liked to have just seen it rather than heard it . As in the previous films, there is one character who extensively proclaims his cynical view of the world and The Matrix . Something like this may have been possible in 1999, but we are now used to something more. Not to mention that the character uses the word “Sheeple” without any hint of irony.
An attempt is also made to introduce a new concept as with the Bullet Time of the first film, but in these times it falls grossly short. Fortunately, there are some nice action scenes to keep us busy. However, at no point did I regain that sense of excitement and fascination that I felt with the first trilogy. Then go and see the new Christopher Nolan .
Who is this movie for?
That question haunts my upstairs room all the time now. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall writing this film because I feel an underlying anger and frustration in this film. Frustration towards Warner Bros as they want to revive the franchise again. Frustration towards society. Frustration towards the people who have adopted the concept of The Matrix to do something more or manipulate people.
It’s my theory that this movie was made purely for Lana Wachowski. She dropped in a session during Berlin International Literature Festival that the story grew out of mourning. Her father, mother and boyfriend all died in quick succession. The thought of bringing Neo and Trinity back felt very comforting. Within that session, she also let it be known that Warner Bros harassed the two ladies every year with the request to make a sequel. Mourning can be a wonderful starting point for any art form, but it is never a guarantee. Unfortunately, The Matrix Resurrections lacks some content and innovation for that.