The Matrix Resurrections
Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is the most famous game designer in the world, but when Warner Brothers demands a sequel to his Matrix trilogy things like the patterns he sees in the condensation of his bathroom mirror begin to trouble him and that nagging feeling that he’s living in a computer generated world makes him wonder if he’s headed for another breakdown. His analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) asks if he’s been taking his medication, but Thomas tosses his blue pills. Back at Meta-Cortex Corp., as everyone evacuates in response to an alarm, Thomas receives a text instructing him towards the men’s room where an old friend with a new face (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, "Aquaman") exits a stall with a familiar line offering a red pill in “The Matrix Resurrections.”
Laura's Review: C+
Working without her sibling this time, cowriter (with David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon)/director Lana Wachowski ("Cloud Atlas") rehashes “The Matrix” trilogy using copious amounts of old footage and exposition to come to a conclusion most had already arrived at. While seeing Reeves reunited with Carrie-Anne Moss is sweetly satisfying and the effects and stunts are top notch, there’s a nagging sense of Déjà vu throughout this fourth installment.
Instead of Trinity, Thomas Anderson is now reminded of his Neo-ness by Bugs (Jessica Henwick, "Love and Monsters"), a blue haired hacker who once saw him step off a roof and not fall. She hacked into the modal he secretly coded looking for the legend and once he’s been brought up to speed, Neo realizes that things are the same or worse. ‘I’m back where I started,’ he says. And so is the audience.
Bugs, who sports a white rabbit tattoo, has a crew and ship just like Trinity once did. They employ Synthians to release Neo from his machine-controlled pod. He sees Trinity in another, but Bugs tells him they used their one shot getting him out. They return to the underground world of Zion, where Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) is now known as The General and, after relating more about ‘the war’ than anyone wants to hear, grounds Captain Bugs and imprisons Neo to guard her precious status quo. Bugs and her crew immediately and effortlessly release him. Again.
“The Matrix Resurrections” renews the love story between Neo and Trinity, the latter of whom is now called Tiffany and is married with kids. As The Matrix is all about fate versus free will, Bugs and company must wait for Tiffany to become Trinity of her own free will before bringing her back into the ‘real world.’ This last act is the film’s tensest, the duo having to outrace The Swarm while Matrix inhabitants are used like missiles, plummeting from skyscraper windows like 9/11 Falling Men.
Still, it is difficult to shake the sensation that we’re being fed product with a movie that begins like its own filmed production pitch then continually has its star walk by projections of earlier films. Why are some characters given new faces while others are not (even Neo is told he has a different DSI (digital self image) now, the man in the mirror not Reeves but supposedly how everyone else now sees him – except for the fact that we always see Reeves)? Why is Christina Ricci top billed when she’s in the film for less than a minute in a scene of little consequence? Jonathan Groff is quite fun as the New Smith, but he has nowhere to go here and I’ll be quite happy to never see the same old Merovingian (Lambert Wilson, "Benedetta") ever again. The fact that the very best scene in “The Matrix Resurrections” is a shared cup of coffee between Reeves and Moss tells you everything you need to know – give these two a completely new movie – they have chemistry to burn.
Warner Brothers opens "The Matrix Resurrections" in theaters and on the ad-free HBO Max platform on 12/22/21.