Blu-ray Review: The Matrix: Resurrections
Directed by: Lana Wachowski
Written by: Lana Wachowski & David Mitchell & Aleksandar Hemon
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathon Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jada Pinkett Smith
Reviewed by: Eric Joseph
Thanks go to WB for the free review copy.
In The Matrix: Resurrections, return to a world of two realities: one, everyday life; the other, what lies behind it. To find out if his reality is a physical or mental construct, to truly know himself, Mr. Anderson (Keanu Reeves) will have to choose to follow the white rabbit once more.
If Thomas…Neo…has learned anything, it’s that choice, while an illusion, is still the only way out of – or into – the Matrix. Of course, Neo already knows what he has to do, but what he doesn’t yet know is the Matrix is stronger, more secure, and more dangerous than ever before.
Truth be told, I’m not sure what will be the length of this review as I begin typing it. The reason I say that is because The Matrix is one of my favorite film franchises of all time, and I could probably talk about the subject for weeks. Taking that into account, I could rant endlessly or keep this succinct. I guess we’ll go down that rabbit hole together.
For me, the memory of 2003 is quite vivid. Not only did I see both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions in theaters, but I also endlessly played Enter The Matrix on my Playstation 2 console and collected nearly the entire line of action figures that complemented the aforementioned sequels. Hell, I even bought the same sunglasses and long coat Keanu Reeves wore in Reloaded.
Then we got pretty much nothing on this front for nearly two decades.
Thankfully, that’s all changed with The Matrix: Resurrections. Though it’s not my favorite in the series (you can’t top the original), I quite enjoyed it. I loved taking another journey with Thomas Anderson/Neo as the world around him is revealed to be a false reality, different from how the narrative played out in 1999. Well, it’s less about the twist and more about giving the hero of the story his groove back. And the power of love, apparently.
Depending on whom you ask, The Matrix could represent a variety of things: It could be a retelling of ancient Greek allegories and tributes to various world religions to some, or it could be an examination of systems of control in our society to others. Or it could be a metaphor for the transgender experience to another person – or maybe just a kick-ass series of science fiction movies. The truth is that it’s all of these things and more. The Matrix has touched many people in so many different ways, and it’s important that we never lose sight of how many different levels there are to this series.
I think if there’s any single element on which the latest entry into the franchise heavily focuses, is that it’s a love story at its core. Without spoiling much, the heart of this tale is Neo and Trinity rediscovering who they are and finding each other once again when all of the odds are stacked against them. Rest assured that it’s most definitely a chronological sequel to Revolutions, and your questions will be answered as to how this piece fits into the grander puzzle.
Additionally, the message of unity is prevalent. Man and machine may still be at odds, sure, but we also see some working together. This may not be a verbatim quote from the flick (I’m typing this off the top of my head), but it’s “not us or them. It’s us and them.” If maybe we could apply this concept to real life, then we wouldn’t deal with such dire problems in reality – but that’s not a conversation for a movie review.
I’m not going to discuss the plot further, because this is a journey you must take for yourself. But I’ll say that I dug the cast, be it returning favorites like Neo, Trinity, and Niobe; old characters with new faces such as Morpheus and Smith; or new characters altogether like Bugs and the Analyst. This is a completely valid – yet very different – continuation of the epic.
Bonus features are plentiful, as I believe I spent around two hours digesting them. For whatever reason, they didn’t quite measure up to something like, say, The Matrix Revisited or what was offered in The Ultimate Matrix Collection (that’s a tall order), but what’s served up is quite meatier than most home video supplemental content these days. I’ve been feeling like the in-depth bonus feature has become a lost art in recent years, and this bad boy does a decent job at recapturing some of the old magic from an era not so long ago when we didn’t just stream everything and then forget about it.
My major criticism of this particular movie is that its action scenes don’t measure up to those of its predecessors. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great martial arts fights and motorcycle stunts by the standards of most action flicks out there – but The Matrix has always had the reputation of going well above and beyond its contemporaries. That said, there’s nothing on the level of the Lobby Scene, Burly Brawl, Freeway Chase, Chateau Scene, or Super Burly Brawl. Changing the game may be harder these days than it was back in 1999 and 2003, but I didn’t experience that same “wow” factor as I did back in the day.
I’m going to wholeheartedly recommend The Matrix: Resurrections for any fan of the franchise, or anyone who has viewed the original trilogy. I think you need to see it at least once, but before I get out of here, I’m going to answer a question that’s been going around in recent months: Did we need another Matrix movie? I’ll say yes because people who are in the same boat as I wanted it.
Whether or not this chapter is superfluous or necessary is your own decision to make, though I lament how it underperformed at the box office and probably won’t get a sequel. But who knows what will happen ten or twenty years down the line? I have a feeling that we’ll one day see a full-on remake of the original Matrix, or eventually witness a TV show developed. This franchise will always harbor much potential, and it’s only a matter of time before it resurfaces.