***UPDATED*** MOVIE REVIEW - THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS (2021)
Updated: Dec 31, 2021
RUNNING TIME: 2 Hour 28 minutes
RELEASE DATE: December 22, 2021
DIRECTOR: Lana Wachowski
WRITERS: Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell and Aleksander Hemon. Based on characters created by Lana & Lilly Wachowski.
Keanu Reeves: Neo/Thomas Anderson
Carrie-Anne Moss: Trinity/Tiffany
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II: Morpheus/Agent Smith
Jonathan Groff: Smith
Jessica Henwick: Bugs
Neil Patrick Harris: The Analyst
Jada Pinkett Smith: Niobe
Priyanka Chopra Jonas: Sati
Christina Ricci: Gwyn de Vere
WARNING: THIS REVIEW WILL MOST LIKELY CONTAIN SPOILERS. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
It's been 22 years since we were first introduced to The Matrix (1999). It was then that we were introduced to the idea of "the red pill" and brought into a world where the fate of humanity would rest on the shoulders of "The One." I will not rehash the story of these films. The only way someone would not know about them would be if they had literally lived in a hole for the past quarter century. The original trilogy would be remembered as an incredible influential film series where many would find multiple meanings behind each entry into the series.
This review is not about interpretation. It is solely about the film itself. I did provide a spoiler warning above. If you do not wish to be spoiled, now is your chance to take the blue pill and close the window. However if you do not mind being spoiled and have a thick skin to the honesty that I will type. Then by all means, the red pill is all yours.
The Matrix Resurrections is set 60 years from the end of The Matrix Revolutions. Although we do not find that out until later in the movie, we are reintroduced to a new and upgraded Matrix with a Thomas Anderson who is very different from what we remember. The film does give a lot of questions. What exactly happened within that 60 years? Why is Yahya Abdul-Mateen II being refereed to as Agent Smith in the beginning of the film while we know he was cast as Morpheus? Why is there another Smith also? How the hell is Niobe still alive? How does Neo have eye balls again? The list goes on and on. The thing is this. Each question that seem to be thrown our way does get an answer. This movie is very good at explaining the why behind everything, all you need to do is pay attention because you will miss it if you aren't.
Take Thomas Anderson. In the original trilogy we find out that Neo was not the first "The One." In fact he is one of many, many who have not succeeded before him. At the end of the first trilogy, Neo did succeed and even worked out peace with the machines. He just did not account for The Analyst breaking the peace and learning to take better control of humanity through Neo and Trinity. This lead to some hard medicating for Neo as he was seriously blue pilled for the better part of the 60 years due to the fact that there was a part of him that still knew who he was even after being placed back into The Matrix. I won't really get into that because it's a fun part of the movie when this is all revealed.
For those wondering what I said above about Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, he does not play the true Morpheus but a hybrid personality which is a large part Morpheus. At first I wasn't a fan of it but this new version of this character did grow on me. I just prefer the original Morpheus more. Lawrence Fishburne, you were seriously missed.
Notice that there was another Smith in the character list above. Yes there is. Think Agent Smith with a crazy upgrade. Jonathan Groff actually did capture some of Hugo Weaving's mannerisms and Smith like charm, but he made it his own. This was essentially another new character built over the actual other character in my opinion. Either way, both Smith's did not give me the Agent Smith edge that I had looked for.
Jessica Henwick won me as a fan with Iron Fist, she was the best part of that series. I also enjoyed her as Bugs. She along with her belief in Neo's abilities as The One did fulfill the Morpheus hole in the film. I was welcome to it since I felt that Jada Pinkett Smith was my least favorite actor in the entire movie. I always find her to be corny and just a bad actor especially lately. Niobe was great in the earlier films. I just don't think that she was needed here. I would have welcomed a new character.
Neo and Trinity, I have nothing bad to say about Keanu Reeves or Carrie-Anne Moss. They still had the magic. Watching them act alongside Neal Patrick Harris as the film's big bad was pretty exciting as The Analyst brought a whole new layer to The Matrix story especially when Neo and Trinity's resurrections are explained. I found myself happy about how they ended the film.
Was this installment of The Matrix needed? I don't think so but I sure do welcome it into the fold. Is there anywhere a new trilogy can take us? I honestly would not be disappointed if there was not another entry into this franchise but I would still welcome more. It's an odd place to be in as I say that. As a viewer, you can definitely feel that Lilly Wachowski was not involved with this film. I would hope that if another Matrix is made that they could figure a way to get her involved. She was half of the magic that brought us the first trilogy.
With that said, I do recommend The Matrix Resurrections to all. This film is a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars. I do plan on watching it again before it leaves HBO Max. Maybe I will find a different way to look at it after. Enjoy!
***UPDATE*** I did attempt to rewatch The Matrix Resurrections after posting this review last night and unfortunately I could not sit through it. I rarely go back into a review and change my rating but I simply need to based off of the rewatch factor. I change my score of the film from a 3.5 to a 2.5. yes I know it’s the most dramatic change I’ve ever done but my initial score turned out to be made more from nostalgia than anything. Once you get past the nostalgia, there really isn’t anything there. This movie was one Wachowski short for it to be a hit.