“The Matrix: Resurrections” is a bad early 2000s movie trapped in 2021.
By: Adam Beam SUTV News
“The Matrix” is often regarded as one of the most influential films ever made, and to this day stands to many as a landmark in action and visual filmmaking. With the film being so influential, there were countless imitators, however none were ever able to recapture the thrill of the original. Not even the two sequels could manage to rekindle what made the original so special. Following the underwhelming critical and financial response of “The Matrix: Revolutions” the series only survived through video games and other media. Now, Lana Wachowski returns to the world she and her sister started over 20 years ago, and frankly, I’d rather take the blue pill than accept the reality that this movie exists.
Yes, “The Matrix: Resurrections” is yet another dud in a long franchise of underwhelming sequels and spin-offs. The film follows Thomas Anderson, a famous video game designer best known for his trilogy of games called “The Matrix”. For some reason though, Mr. Anderson is noticing something off about the world around him. Minor things throughout his day seem familiar. Especially when he encounters a woman named Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) in a coffee shop. Soon enough Anderson realizes that he truly is Neo, and that all this time he’s been living in The Matrix. With this knowledge he sets out with a new team of freed humans to stop the machines and rescue the imprisoned Trinity.
The biggest and most glaring issue above all in this new outing is the film’s pretentious meta/self aware commentary. All throughout the movie it constantly has to acknowledge what “The Matrix” is and what it means. The film constantly references the laziness of sequels, reboots and remakes, all the while falling into the same lazy tricks as all the other sequels, reboots and remakes. Everytime this cringe-worthy dialogue came up it took me completely out of the movie. It’s the continuing trend of the previous movies, that being that these films think they’re so much smarter than they really are. One way they do that is by making the film insanely overly complicated, and just like the previous movie, major story elements just go with little explanation because it’s just something The Matrix does.
Another noticeable blunder of this latest outing is the insanely weak visual effects. While not all the CGI in the original trilogy holds up, you’d expect a film made nearly 20 years after the previous installment to improve in the visual aspect, but that’s not the case at all. The CGI is insanely fake looking, anytime the characters become digital models they look like they’re made of rubber. I appreciate that the film dropped the disgusting green tint, but they went a little overboard and now the colors are a tad too saturated. These visuals would suggest they want to be a bit more goofy and cartoony than the previous entries, but the story and writing still treats this material way too seriously, the tones clash heavily.
Now I’m not going to say this movie has no redeeming attributes, what helps the film are a few key cast members. The standout performers here are Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris. Jonathan Groff is no stranger to playing the villain and he perfectly captures the smearing charm of Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith. Neil Patrick Harris doesn’t often get to play the villain, but when he does, it’s a treat and that’s no different here. While it was disappointing to not have Laurence Fishburne return, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II makes the character his own while still matching Fishburne’s original energy. However, some actors truly feel asleep at the wheel, most notably Keanu Reeves. While Reeve’s acting was nothing special in the original trilogy, here he feels even less interested in being there and the only part of his performance that got a reaction out of me was the amazement that he shaved his luscious hair and beard for this movie.
Overall, “The Matrix: Resurrections” is just another pointless sequel in a series consisting almost entirely of pointless sequels. While trying to add something new to the world, the film simply treads familiar waters to be anything special. The acting is all over the place, the visual effects shockingly fall flat, the story is so complicated and full of itself, and the film couldn’t even muster up some decent action sequences. If you consider yourself a fan of “The Matrix” you might get some enjoyment out of the callbacks and returning characters, but this new entry simply stands as a hollow shell of the revolutionary film it used to be.