The Matrix Resurrections expands on its original concepts but watching the film becomes a chore with the sheer amount of information there is to absorb.
In the film, Thomas Anderson, aka Neo (Keanu Reeves), finds himself at the head of a video game company where his original game, based on his experiences in The Matrix, has become a smash hit. Neo begins to struggle with reality and fantasy until he is pulled back into the real world after being unplugged from The Matrix, yet again.
This time, there is a new mob of ‘unplugged’ human heroes, led by Bugs (Jessica Henwick), who, alongside an intelligent computer program familiarly known as Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), join forces with Neo to save his old flame Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) from life under the control of The Matrix’s new string-puller, known as The Analyst.
The Wachowski’s broke new ground with the release of the original The Matrix in 1999, delivering complex themes, philosophies and ideologies that had yet to be seen by filmgoing audiences while pushing the boundaries of visual-effects technology. Only one-half of the Wachowski’s, Lana, has returned for Resurrections and hasn’t been able to capture the same magic as that first film, as hard as she’s tried.
The Matrix Resurrections takes the core ideas of the first film, along with the expanded world of its two sequels and combines them for an entry that’s full of so many high-concept themes that it’s difficult to follow. It’s mainly due to the enormous amount of dialogue in the film and the pace at which it comes. It’s hard to follow and absorb the information, making it hard to get engaged. By the time you figure out what was just said, the movie has already moved on with the next bit of discourse that you’re left playing catchup.
When you are given a chance to sit and enjoy one of the film’s few action set pieces, it’s mostly underwhelming. Knowing the franchise’s production history and what it brought to the industry way back when, the expectation was that Wachowski and her team would surprise us with some new innovations in visual effects, but there aren’t any. Thankfully, the film’s climax is crafted superbly and is somewhat of a saving grace following nearly two hours of unengaging, expository dialogue.
Despite these significant flaws, Lana Wachowski and her team should still be commended for just going for it and bringing their complex, unique vision to life in a landscape of blockbusters that you can easily turn your brain off to and enjoy. The Matrix Resurrections, however, requires your undivided focus and attention, and even when it has it, it’s a struggle.
Hugo Weaving was originally approached to reprise his role as Agent Smith, but he had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts with other films.