At the beginning of The Matrix Resurrections, we have Purabh Kohli’s character asking the others what made the Matrix so great. It wasn’t the slow-motion one-man show of Neo. It was the combination of its philosophy, metaphorical representations, and, yes, the stunningly choreographed set pieces. When it comes to The Matrix Resurrections, it managed to be okay in the philosophical part. But in terms of creating excitement in the viewer and also in developing the world, the film fails miserably. The people who screamed seeing the title on the screen never got the opportunity to do that again during the movie.
Spoiler Alert! Skip this paragraph if you don’t wish to know anything about the plot. So set in a time really long after the last events we saw in the series, we are shown that Neo is still alive and he has visitors from the real world. We are shown that Neo is living a life in the Matrix, and he believes that it is the reality until the visitors show him the truth. Neo’s reluctance to accept that truth and what he does after that is what we see in The Matrix Resurrections.
To look at the original trilogy as a different entity and present a new perspective feels like an exciting thing. Lana Wachowski is creating something that isn’t going to disturb the original. That’s perhaps the only good thing I thought about this attempt at a reboot. The depth we felt in the original is clearly missing here. It was almost like they wrote the scene order and never really bothered expanding it. I remember watching the original trilogy and getting excited to understand the film in a better way. But this one felt overly simplistic, and the glossier visual language really didn’t work for the movie.
Coming in his John Wick attire, Keanu Reeves as Neo is convincing, and like how others in the movie say, the guy hasn’t aged much. While the character arch is pretty much similar to the first Matrix film, Lana can’t really create a moment for Neo in Resurrections. Carrie-Anne Moss gets some screen time only towards the end of the film. As this new version of Morpheus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is a bit tough to digest for people who have admired the trilogy. Jessica Henwick as Bugs has a prominent place in the story as the character controls the narrative, but the scope to perform was minimal. Neil Patrick Harris as Anderson’s psychiatrist, is perhaps the only actor who got a character with some space to perform. Jonathan Groff’s version of Smith was forgettable. The decision to intercut his performance with Hugo Weaving simply showed how insufficient he was. Jada Pinkett Smith reprises her role as Niobe.
Lana Wachowski’s idea has this inclination towards being visually stunning. But the weird part is that the film frequently tries to achieve that and falls flat every single time. The talent of the Wachowskis to imagine set-pieces were one of the USPs of the Matrix franchise. In The Matrix Resurrections, that department was an utter failure. Extreme close-up shots of Neo and Trinity during a bike chase were a disappointing view. When technology had limitations, they pulled off stuff that still feels seamless. Now, when they have all the technology available, the design of set pieces felt lame. For some reason, even though the elements looked familiar, the newly created world was a bit different from the original, and it was a bit tough to feel that Neo came back to a place where he belonged.
On paper, the philosophy of The Matrix Resurrections has enough juice in it to make someone think about a sequel or reboot. But somewhere, I felt they should have tried to write about the concept in-depth and then shape a film from that material. When you finish watching each movie in the trilogy, you feel the vastness of that world, and Neo was like a rebellious leader. Even if you take out the absence of spectacular set pieces, The Matrix Resurrections is clearly missing that conceptual vastness.
Even if you take out the absence of spectacular set pieces, The Matrix Resurrections is clearly missing that conceptual vastness.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended