The Matrix: Resurrections | Third Space

The Matrix: Resurrections

Fri 31 Dec 2021
Has the world moved on?

2.5 out of 5 stars

When The Matrix exploded on screens in 1999, the Wachowski siblings revolutionised how we watch movies. Their influence on visual effects, storytelling and the introduction to a spiritual narrative became iconic throughout the following decades. In 2021, this franchise has given birth to a cinematic trilogy, video games and numerous imitators, which has led to pressure for a continuance of Neo’s legend. Even though the Wachowskis said that there would be no further films after Revolutions in 2003. Still, as fans pushed and hoped for the next chapter to occur and their wishes have now been fulfilled.

We find Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) living an extraordinary life in San Francisco as the creator of one of history’s greatest video games called The Matrix. He suffers from extreme bouts of mental anguish that are remedied by his analyst (Neil Patrick Harris). A therapy that includes a prescription of blue pills that manage to keep him calm for short periods of time. Yet, the dreams and visions of another life continue to plague his spirit, especially when he comes in contact with Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss), who looks like Trinity's character from the game he created.

As the company and his business partner, Smith (Jonathan Groff) pushes for the next incarnation of the famous game, things begin to unravel for the gaming innovator. As Thomas starts to be drawn back into the reality of his past life, he begins to break free from the ‘real world.’ As he ventures back into the machine controlled reality, he is joined by the captain named Bugs (Jessica Henwick). Her ship's crew hopes to free Neo and Trinity from their current captivity within the pods that imprison humanity. They must enlist the help of a reimagined Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and some other old friends to show Neo how they can free themselves from the non-reality of life.

There is no denying that the Wachowski’s are visionaries and these creative siblings have made an indelible impact on filmmaking. In this fourth instalment, the nostalgic flair and self-awareness of this production make for an enjoyable ride back in time. Yet, it does feel as though the world has moved on from The Matrix over the past two decades. It is a journey down memory lane throughout the first act as the story helps build the backstory for a new generation. The self-deprecating jokes and character development do get things set for the rest of the film. Still, this is where things begin to become muddled and fail to capture the magic of the original adventure. Especially since the film seems to be sampling from Christopher Nolan and other directors as opposed to setting a new standard for this set of characters.

It might seem bizarre to say with the introduction of a younger cast, but they are all too perfect. Attractive and solid acting talent means that this cast seems to miss the edginess needed to be convincing in this dualistic existence. There is no denying that Harris, Groff, and Abdul-Mateen II are exceptionally talented, but they do not fit in this world. Even though they are meant to introduce fresh faces to this franchise, they fail to measure up to the gritty intensity of their predecessors or when measured against Reeves and Moss. They are all supported by stunning special effects that merely feels like a rehash of the past instead of being innovative.

One criticism of the original was the excessive body count which was dismissed since most of the individuals killed were imagined. Yet, The Matrix: Resurrections exceeds this with a killing field that becomes difficult to stomach after a while and proves to be unnecessary in the end. This proves to be the description for the film in the end: a sequel with beautiful people, stunning special effects that all proved to be unnecessary in the end.

Reel Dialogue: Reality is real

One of the compelling elements of The Matrix is the notion that people inhabit a different life than the one that they occupy in the real world.

As our world moves closer to the virtual world mocked in the film, something is shocking about appreciating the life that many attempt to escape. Even though everything in this reality is tainted with imperfections, it is when this life is threatened that many begin to appreciate the gift of life, warts and all.

This world was originally created perfect, a haven that contained no pain, difficulties or death, but it eventually became tainted. Mankind has to live with the sins of the past, but despite this corrupted and imperfect existence, it still needs to be seen as a gift and should be cherished.

Passages to consider in the 'haven' of reality: Genesis 1-3, Acts 17: 24-28, Romans 8:22-23

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