The Matrix Resurrections

  • 08 Jan - 14 Jan, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

Eighteen years after what we thought was the third and final Matrix film, The Matrix Revolutions, Lana Wachowski has directed a fourth: The Matrix Resurrections. But despite some ingenious touches the boulder has been rolled back from the tomb to reveal that the franchise’s corpse is sadly still in there. This is a heavy-footed reboot which doesn’t offer a compelling reason for its existence other than to gouge a fourth income stream from Matrix fans, submissively hooked up for new content, and it doesn’t have anything approaching the breathtaking “bullet time” action sequences that made the original film famous.

The fourth movie wittily begins by showing us Neo in haggard and depressed middle age, operating under his normal name Thomas Anderson: he is an award-winning but burnt-out game programmer. But there are weird eruptions from within his alt.reality: an activist called Bugs (Jessica Henwick) tries to make contact with him, along with a renegade government agent (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who has assumed the persona of Morpheus. Meanwhile, Thomas’s obnoxious billionaire employer Smith (Jonathan Groff) seems a parallel version of the sinister Agent Smith played by Hugo Weaving in the original films. But Thomas’s analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) is on hand to assure him that this is all just his imagination. But is it? And is Thomas still deeply in love with Trinity, whom he sees every day in his local coffee shop?

In some ways, The Matrix Resurrections has a degree of charm as a love story of middle age, and usually returning action franchises give their ageing male lead a younger female co-star. Not here: it’s a pleasure to see Moss return, but a shame to see her given so little interesting to do. The Matrix is an idea that is most exciting when it is starting to come apart: when there is a glitch. But the franchise is now a glitch-less narrative.

Really, Resurrections doesn’t do much to remove the anticlimax that hung like a cloud over the cinema auditorium at the end of the third film in 2003. This movie is set up to initiate a possible new series, but there is no real creative life in it. Where the original film was explosively innovatory, this is just another piece of IP, an algorithm of unoriginality.