The Matrix Resurrections ★★★
Starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris
Lana Wachowski attempts to plug audiences back into the darkly dystopian world of: The Matrix with Resurrections - a sequel/reboot hybrid that struggles to balance the old and the new to become the one.
Believing his previous life to be the result of a mental breakdown, Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves), lead game designer on a trilogy of games known as The Matrix, begins to question his own sanity when old friends appear trying to pull him back into the fight, forcing him to decide which life is his reality.
I entered Resurrections with the extraordinary complication of having seen the original but neither of its sequels. This unique insight allowed me to view the movie from the alternate side of the coin to many fans of the series.
What I appreciated most was the meta approach to reintroducing the internal conflict of our protagonists grip on reality. By presenting the previous events of the trilogy as video games created by Anderson’s psyche - I found myself questioning the validity of The Matrix just as Neo would. It’s a strong core motive to initially captivate and engage an audience.
Keanu Reeves is fine returning to the role, but ultimately portrays Neo no different to his most recently acclaimed character: John Wick - but this time with amnesia. His inclusion with Carrie-Anne Moss’ Trinity, help to sell Resurrections’ questionable reality as the latter gives the former the nudge needed to explore what could be.
Therefore it’s incredibly strange to see iconic roles from the original such as Lawrence Fishburne’s Morpheus and Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith completely recast. Yahya Abdul Mateen II and Johnathan Groff give the best with what they’re given, but you can’t help but feel the slap in the face for those fans that wanted to see the entire original cast reunited.
My biggest issue was the editing, which borders on a Bohemian Rhapsody level of awful; quickly cutting away from moments of suspense and chopping action scenes into blink-and-you’ll-miss-it barrages. A few seconds longer here and they could have done wonders for Individual moments of character and enriched the overall product.
Visually the special effects do little more than place the movie firmly into the sci-fi action category. Sadly, when you’ve seen bullet-time once, there’s really nothing special about it for the hundredth time and the ending quickly descends into madness without a cause.
The black leather cladded metal look that the original is known for, is traded in for a rustic vibrant steampunk atmosphere. this may be to display the passage of time between the last instalment, but ultimately becomes another crack in the code of what I believe the Matrix should be.
There’s no harm in saying The Matrix Resurrections hits that action movie demographic, but it’s easy to see why franchise die-hards would be against some of the more odd choices in halving what it wants the movie to be. Faced with the existence of either side, I’d probably take the blue pill.
The Matrix Resurrections available in cinemas now