Review by Camden Ferrell
The Matrix is a staple of sci-fi cinema, boasting an insightful story and mesmerizing effects that still hold up by today’s standards. Its two sequels weren’t received as positively at the time of their release, but after eighteen years, we are once again about to revisit this beloved world. Unlike the previous films, this new film, The Matrix Resurrections is directed only by Lana Wachowski. This sequel takes the franchise in a new direction with a fresh, original, and surprisingly meta story that will thrill fans of the original and newcomers to the franchise.
After the events of the previous films, this fourth film sees our protagonist, Neo, living a seemingly normal life. He works a regular job, but he also regularly visits a therapist who medicates him with blue pills to counteract his abnormal visions. Without saying too much about the plot, this movie is another journey back into the bonkers world of the titular Matrix. Needless to say, this premise is exciting for fans of the series, and there are a lot of great mysteries to explore throughout.
The script is penned by Wachowski, David Mitchell, and Aleksandar Hemon, who both have collaborated with Wachowski in the past. Their writing is fresh, and their combined perspective will change the franchise for the better. They tackle its themes and mysteries with splendor, and their approach is surprisingly hilarious especially in its first act. It’s definitely an ambitious narrative that may be genius or heavily flawed depending on who you ask. However, I thought it was almost on par with the original film in terms of its creativity.
Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss both return to the franchise, playing very well off of each other. The movie also stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jonathan Groff, Jessica Henwick, and Neil Patrick Harris to name a few. All of these new additions are great. Their personalities fit right in among all of the insanity going on, and there are definitely some surprises to enjoy for fans of the series.
One of the franchise’s defining characteristics is its revolutionary action and visual effects. While this film may not be groundbreaking by today’s standards, it still has a lot to boast in both fields. Its action is engaging throughout, and its final act set pieces are absolutely exhilarating. It also revives some of our favorite effects from the franchise in a way that still feels fresh and captivating.
The film can feel a little slow in its middle section, and this is easily its most telling flaw. It has a fantastic first and final act that feel disjointed due to some abrupt tonal and narrative shifts. While the film is never boring, its pacing could make or break the film for viewers, especially considering its hefty runtime.
This newest installment seems like the type of film that has the potential to be heavily divisive among the fanbase. It’s bold, it’s original, and it’s ambitious, but there are a lot of things that I really enjoyed about this movie that might not please all audiences.
Regardless of its reception, it’s impossible to think The Matrix Resurrections is a lazy cash-grab. This is Lana Wachowski at her most unfiltered. It’s raw, it’s energetic, and it’s a one-of-a-kind experience that stands out as the franchise’s strongest sequel.
The Matrix Resurrections is in theaters December 22.