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Sunday, December 26, 2021

THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS Hollywood Movie Honest & Spoiler Free Review


So I finally saw The Matrix Resurrections, and after being so enthusiastic for this new sequel, I gotta admit that I'm underwhelmed. It's a film with some fantastic ideas and themes, but when it comes to execution and its excessively 'bash-you-over-the-head' meta style, I'm left wondering what the point of this new addition was. 

In this review, I'll give you my spoiler-free opinion on The Matrix Resurrections, explaining why I didn't love the new film but also trying to balance it out with some positives I took away from it.

The Matrix Resurrections Review

We've been connected back into the Matrix franchise with The Matrix Resurrections, some 20 years after the last Matrix film was released. The original picture's technology and techniques were pioneering, and it helped to introduce mainstream moviegoers to topics they hadn't seen addressed in a large-scale R-rated action film before. 

The traditional action film was known for being quite conventional and quick cut, but the Matrix not only provided us with entertaining fast action, but it also ushered in a new era of filmmaking through the way it was shot, with long takes and higher concepts that we don't normally associate with this genre. 

We received a movie that demonstrates that humans are more machinelike than they realize, that robots have human attributes as well, and that there's a choice between fate and free will, which is wonderfully symbolized by the red and blue pill sequence. It focused on the inner workings of the body, brain, and mind, as well as how that relationship might shift when the world is shown to be a deception. 

While the sequels didn't quite reach the same heights as the original, I enjoyed everything they attempted, and the infinite richness that this on-screen universe could provide was fully demonstrated in unforgettable scenes in both of those later films. 

But it was Neo and Trinity's love story that was at the heart of this pioneering series. And now, with The Matrix 4, we get a picture that aims to tap into even more of that love, but it ends up falling short of the sequels in terms of truly capitalizing on this strategy. It's a film that lacks imagination, one that takes you back in time and becomes extremely meta in a hilariously terrible way. 

Lana Wachowski has returned to the Matrix franchise with The Matrix Resurrections, a film that is unquestionably ambitious in terms of rogue programs, slow-motion kung-fu combat, and sci-fi inquiry. 

Its philosophical principles are still present, but the film's key themes are obscured by poor filming, scriptwriting, and storytelling, resulting in a film that, unlike the previous entries, is not particularly rewatchable.


The Matrix Resurrections Is Meta In A Bad Way

It must be noted that the Wachowskis are quite inventive, and you can sense that Lana wants to do something completely different with her new film. The original Matrix, as well as some of their other work, are incredibly ambitious in terms of the ideas they offer, and they try to blur the boundary between blockbuster and art as much as possible. 

The Matrix Resurrections Is Meta In A Bad Way

However, one's inspiration and dreams do not always equate to something stable or observable. This is the case with Resurrections, where we get the impression that the filmmaker is trying to say something about the state of filmmaking and the plethora of reboots, sequels, and controlling studios, but when it comes to diverting that into a new idea, the fresh direction isn't given the attention it deserves. 

Sure, the film has a sharpness to it that distinguishes it from other franchise reboots, but it's so on the nose that it practically threatens to eat you alive. This film is very meta, meta in a way that it conveys a filmmaker's dissatisfaction with Hollywood studios and businesses in the sense that they keep bringing out the same old product on loops, even when it's billed as something apparently new. 

In an early scene in the film, Thomas Anderson is summoned to an office and informed that Warner Bros., the studio behind The Matrix movie as well as his Matrix video games featured in this film, wants a sequel and that there are essentially no other options for storytelling. 

You get a feel of the annoyance with reboots and sequels right away, and it just gets worse from there. I understand, and as a film lover, I share your displeasure, and it's one of the things I don't like about the industry's current course. 

But Lana is trapped in her own Matrix, unable to leave the structure, and the picture ultimately feels so un-Matrix, nearly fan-made at points, that it transports me back to the original trilogy of films. The old is employed as the new in The Matrix Resurrections, as the title suggests. 

A soldier named Bugs, played by Jessica Henwick, who has previously been freed from the Matrix, notices some old code repeating itself in the plot. Morpheus returns as well, although this time as Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and a new incarnation of the persona. 

We learn that Thomas Anderson, played by Keanu Reeves, is alive and well within The Matrix, and things begin to spiral into severe meta and self-awareness from there. He's a game creator who produced The Matrix, a trilogy of hugely popular games, and he starts to notice things that relate to his past, don't add up, or lead him down down the rabbit hole. 

He runs into Trinity, now called Tiffany, played by Carrie-Anne Moss, in a neighborhood coffee shop, and the two seem to have a connection that he can't quite place. And, like in the original films, he detects that something is amiss with his existence, driving him to seek help from a therapist, Neil Patrick Harris's Analyst, who helps him avoid going insane. 

And we soon learn that Tom's employer at the gaming firm is Smith, played by Jonathan Groff, who is also Neo's enemy in the original films, played by Hugo Weaving. Morpheus appears not long after, and he is drawn back into a long-ago fight between man and machine, although, as you might expect, the real world has altered significantly since we last saw Zion.


The Matrix Resurrections Deconstructs Using Nostalgia

Resurrections appear to be the director's attempt to dissect the entire concept of what people expect from blockbuster pictures and what they actually are. It's implying that individuals are now at ease in The Matrix and that the freedom of the real world no longer excites them. 

However, this renders the original concept of mind control meaningless, inverting what we loved about The Matrix in the first place. It's mind-blowing, with an intriguing premise, but in the greater scheme of The Matrix franchise, it just feels unneeded. 

The Matrix Resurrections Deconstructs Using Nostalgia

However, not only are its ideas not fully realized, but it's also a rather ordinary action film that doesn't do anything particularly unusual or memorable. This is a major problem because we don't get much action in a Matrix picture, and the action we do get is poorly filmed, lacks flow, and appears to be fairly typical. 

I never expected this to be the case coming into it, and it's almost as if they knew the action scenes weren't spectacular and attempted to make us believe, "Oh well, that's nice." That, however, is not the issue. It's a bit stale and in desperate need of some liveliness. 

There was one scene with a number of people falling from buildings that looked fairly amazing, but aside from that and a few seconds of Kung fu, I'm surprised to say that the action in a Matrix film left me disappointed. 

Along with the action, this film is definitely attempting to convey its affection for past installments, depending on far too many flashbacks to previous films in the middle of new sequences, both speech, and action. 

It's strange since Lana treats characters like Neo and Trinity with all the affection you'd expect, yet the structure of the film, its storytelling, and its too nostalgic foundation does not aid the evolution of these or even new characters. 

They also distort the film's tone. Surprisingly, I predicted a month ago that this film would be about a reaction to nostalgia, and while it did turn out to be exactly that, it did it in all the wrong ways.

The Matrix Resurrections Final Thoughts 

This latest Matrix picture falls far short of its predecessors in terms of fun and art, with few moments that leave you impressed with its previously creative imagery, new characters, or plot direction. It feels like an unneeded next step that tries to demonstrate its necessity in a clumsy way. 

One thing I can say is that knowing that it doesn't take itself too seriously, you might come out of Resurrections not wanting it to be anything more than it was. Because of this, you might enjoy the meta focus, especially in the first act, but it'll be a very controversial film for all of the reasons outlined. 

The Matrix Resurrections Final Thoughts

But, when it comes to a picture with the Matrix title, one that should personify inventive action, aesthetics, and themes that tap into what we all dread today, I'm not sure what path they wanted to go in. 

Apart from the fact that they might have made a far better plot out of the intriguing concepts on exhibit, there was nothing particularly original or noteworthy about this. Instead, we get a Matrix film that is devoid of action scenes, contains clever nods to previous films but adds nothing new, and is unoriginal. 

The CGI was also lacking in certain sections, and it appeared as though they were concealing more action because it didn't reach the level they desired. While Jessica Henwick's Bugs and Neil Patrick Harris' Analyst were welcome additions, the new film didn't truly introduce any compelling new characters or storylines. 

But, as I've said, there are some terrific ideas here, ones that are almost too huge for a blockbuster film to tackle, and with a little more development on these ideas, we could have had a fantastic return to a film series with limitless possibilities. 

The Matrix Resurrections Score

However, with such great potential comes great expectations, and The Matrix Resurrections falls far short of what it could have been. I give The Matrix Resurrections a 5.9 out of 10. But, for those who have seen the film, what are your thoughts on it, and do you feel that it is a significant disappointment as a fresh addition to this great franchise? 

Again, it's all subjective, and I appreciate a variety of reactions and evaluations, so let me know what you thought of the film in the comments section, as well as anything that stood out with your first impressions.

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