How long have we heard rumblings about The Matrix: Resurrections? I kinda quit keeping track, because like everything in the past almost-two years, it’s gotten pushed back and rescheduled and pushed back and rescheduled.
And now look. The moment has finally arrived.
What can I say about this movie that won’t completely ruin it for fans? Matrix lore is just as precious if not more than Star Trek or Star Wars. I get it. The stakes are high and you wanna go in unprejudiced.
Well…be prepared for fanserve. Lots and lots of fanserve. With a heavy twist of voyeurism. It’s all about bringing back what was supposedly lost with the utmost deference. It’s one of my favorite things about the movie–it doesn’t have the “Anything I call old must die” attitude that’s present in so many reboots, not to mention the cancel culture fetish among certain groups. (Disney Star Wars might want to duck now. Just saying).
It’s also very self-aware. There’s a lot of questioning as to why The Matrix exists and what it means. Capitalism. Materialism. Did Neo really die? Did Charity really die? Was any of it real? It’s so perfect it’s almost fake.
Seriously. There’s a LOT of name-dropping and navel-gazing in this movie. Even Warner Bros. gets a specific mention because the movie wouldn’t exist unless everyone played ball. It’s like the characters in the first Muppet Movie carrying around a script and constantly referring to it. Or when MGM had Judy Garland glowingly sing about Clark Gable (this happened in at least three of her movies).
Although, this isn’t a bad thing, exactly. It’s nice seeing Keanu Reeves in his role of Thomas “Neo” Anderson again, or seeing Keanu Reeves anytime, for that matter. In Resurrections, programmer Thomas has been having strange dreams, so he goes to therapy and pops blue(!) pills.
And it’s cool to see Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, although she’s initially called Tiff and has a husband and three kids.
Oops, was that a little too spoiler-y? Sorry.
However, the fanserve and navel-gazing are springboards to a larger story. It’s a brand-new day, ladies and gentlemen. Raves aren’t a thing anymore. Drinking lattes with pretty designs in the foam is cool. We don’t need phone booths or a random phone in a grimy moldy building because we carry our phones with us. Finding a free second to answer the phone is the hardest part.
There are a lot of familiar faces here, although they may not be familiar at first. Again, times have changed and everyone’s gotten older. And there are some new faces, too, one of which I can’t say a word about, not even a hint because anyone reading this will know exactly who I’m talking about and may question the filmmakers’ choices. Or not. Who knows. I’m gonna let that one lie.
Bottom line: Neo’s got to pop that red pill again. He’s back in his pod, but only for a little while, and that pod may become a form of blackmail. He still knows kung fu. He can’t fly as yet but leaping off of buildings remains doable.
Casting in the film is terrific–there isn’t a single false note, and I can’t say much without giving away too many plot elements, but again, I like that the younger actors respect the older ones. It’s refreshing, especially since the movie gets a little murky on who can be trusted and who’s shady. Put it this way: Smith is a bit less one-note this time.
The film also makes some really sound points about freedom vs. complacency. Are we as a society really free or are we all comotose in our own little bubbles? What would it look like if we shook all of that off? Matrix leaves that question wide open, and it’s more than a little timely after the past couple of years.
Now, I admit there’s no real reason for The Matrix: Revolutions to exist, but I still had fun. It feels as if it’s setting up a new lease on the franchise, but if this was the last Matrix movie, I would be totally fine with that. It’s ripe with possibility, like these characters have elbow room. Whether that plays out onscreen or in our own heads doesn’t matter. It’s a good feeling.
Coming up in January:
All righty, people, time for my end-of-the-year break. Thanks so much to everyone who’s read, commented, liked, and otherwise shown support this year–you all are awesome and I really appreciate you. I’ve been enjoying reviewing current releases, too, and I hope I can keep doing it. We’ll see how Warner Bros.’ new idea plays out, among other factors.
Anyway, hope you all have a great holiday and see you on January fifth with a new Stage To Screen…
The Matrix: Resurrections is currently in theaters and can be seen on HBO Max until January 21st.
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