‘The Matrix Resurrections’ review: A self-aware unnecessary reboot
So, after much anticipation and hype, The Matrix Resurrections is finally here. And right off the bat, what I would like to say is that it was a massive letdown. Even though seeing Keanu Reeves as Neo and Carrie Anne Moss as Trinity was very nostalgic and overwhelmingly positive, the movie just had too much baggage that constantly made it pointless. To sum it up perfectly, all you can call it is a self-aware unnecessary reboot. And this is coming from someone who is an absolute shill of the original Matrix trilogy. Therefore, you can say this is coming from a place of immense pain and every word is sincere.
The few positives in The Matrix Resurrections
The acting and relationship of Neo and Trinity
Unfortunately, the bad things about this movie outnumber the good ones. Therefore, I’ll start with a small list of what I liked about The Matrix Resurrections. The one thing you can say I really enjoyed about Matrix 4 is Keanu Reeves as Neo and Carrie Anne Moss as Trinity. Not just that, but the chemistry that they shared was at a more personal level in this movie compared to the original trilogy.
We saw them showing a range of emotions, considering their predicament. In the movie, we see Neo and Trinity living their lives out in the new Matrix, but with conflicting emotions as if they’re struggling to live the lives that the Matrix has assigned to them. And in that, we see a much better range of acting from Moss as well as Reeves, which was absent from the original trilogy. In the trilogy, the two of them seemed more stoic rather than human, and it suited the film that way.
The side characters were okay
Another saving grace for The Matrix Resurrections was the side characters. I’m not talking about their characters per se, but the actors who portrayed them. The replacement of Morphius, Yahya Abdul Mateen II, brought his own to the character, and in fact, in some ways mocked Laurence Fishburne’s version. Nevertheless, he was charming in his own way. Moreover, there was also Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who played the role of Satti, the program played by the little Indian child in the original trilogy. She didn’t have much to work with, but did well with what she had. Similarly, we saw Jessica Henwick as “Bugs”, which was a homage to Bugs Bunny “The Rabbit Hole”. It wasn’t very subtle, as she had a tattoo on her too. And although Henwick did a decent job with what she was given, this also indicates the problem with the show.
What I don’t like
What was the purpose of The Matrix Resurrections?
The Matrix Resurrections was an unnecessary reboot. That is almost a unanimous opinion at this point from everyone who has watched it. But what was truly astounding was that the movie was self-aware of that. Matrix 4 had incessant references to the original trilogy, as Neo was a game developer in this version of the Matrix where the original trilogy was his creation. And his parent company, ironically called “Warner Brothers” was forcing them to create a sequel. And if they refused to do so, they’ll go ahead with the project themselves. This was a clear indication from Lana Wachowski that The Matrix Resurrections was more of an obligation rather than a creative opportunity.
The Matrix Resurrections was just a mocking of the original 1999 movie, with a similar level of conflict, albeit executed poorly. And the not-so-subtle hints in the movie clearly indicated that Wachowski was not happy with making a reboot. However, it failed to have the desired effect as the movie was marketed as a serious return to the immersive world of the Matrix. At no point did the conflict ever feel too fundamental.
Before the release, Wachowski herself mentioned that she only made the movie to get back in touch with Reeves and Moss after the death of her parents. However, it doesn’t look like the reboot is as close to her heart as that may suggest. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wachowski was even willing to bin the reboot altogether. And this was despite the fact that other films went ahead with their production eventually. This shows that the creator just wasn’t willing to invest much in this. And then, we also have Lilly Wachowski refusing to be a part of Matrix 4 as well. So, the cracks were already showing up. In her attempt to take a jibe at Warner Bros., the movie still fails massively despite breaking the fourth wall.
None of the dialogue really stood out, and neither did the antagonist
Another problem with the reboot was that, unlike the original trilogy, the dialogues and exposition were just not good. The original Matrix trilogy thrived on asking existential questions about free will and destiny, but Matrix 4 totally lacks on that. They tried to bring back that mystery and mysticism with the Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris), who was a replacement of the Architect from the original trilogy, but it failed to have the desired effect. By the end of the film, the Analyst just failed the command the same respect or formidability as the Architect. And it wasn’t Harris’s fault, as the writers had overpowered both Neo and Trinity to a point where the Analyst felt innocuous by the end. That’s not how you make a formidable antagonist.
The disrespect to the Merovingian
The Matrix Resurrections also saw the return of several of the cast members from the original trilogy. We saw Naomi (Jada Pinkett-Smith) return as the leader of the new city Io, which was quite nice. It was befitting of her character, who stood out with her leadership several times in the original trilogy. Moreover, she was also willing to go to any length to protect her city, which was still unknown to the machine world, apart from a few allies from among the machines. But, the real disrespect was for the Merovingian.
He was arguably the most formidable character in all of the original trilogy but was left as a shadow of his original self. He was presented as a homeless man who was merely wandering around in this new world that is unfit for him. And as much as I understand the need for the Matrix to evolve, the Merovingian never seemed like a program that could go so out of date within such a time. He thrived on trafficking information and smuggled programs facing deletion into exile. He was a character at par with the Oracle, trying his best to depose her. But, he would fail because of her fundamental role in balancing the equation. And yet, he turned into nothing else but comic relief. I expected better, honestly.
All in all, I would give The Matrix Resurrections a disappointing 4/10. This movie was not at all needed. And at this point, I am personally done with seeing multiple reboots and sequels in the market. I hope Hollywood is able to return to creating some original scripts at such a blockbuster scale. And btw, fight scenes were the least of all the problems with Matrix 4. If you’re a fan of the original trilogy, you just know that there was much, much more to the Matrix than just that.