Movie review: 'Matrix Resurrections' is mostly fan-service, nostalgia

Fred Hawson

Posted at Jan 18 2022 01:44 PM

A scene from 'The Matrix Resurrections.' Handout
A scene from 'The Matrix Resurrections.' Handout

Senior game developer Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) has designed a very popular video game called "The Matrix" based on his own vague memories of his own past as Neo. When he stopped taking the blue pills given by his therapist (Neil Patrick Harris), he confused dreams with reality, even as he met a woman named Tiffany (Carrie Ann Moss) in a coffee shop, whom he sees as Trinity from his game. 

Anderson's interactions with a woman named Bugs (Jessica Henwick) and a new Morpheus (Yahya Abdul Mateen II) drew him back into a new Matrix as Neo, visiting a settlement of human survivors from the Machine War and reuniting with Trinity. Agent Smith (Jonathan Groff) fought to stop Neo from his plan for liberation. Ultimately, Neo would come face to face with the big mastermind known as the Analyst. 

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Released in 1999, "The Matrix" by the Wachowskis (then brothers Larry and Andy, now sisters Lana and Lilly since 2010) was one of the most influential sci-fi action-adventure movies of all time, acclaimed for its innovative digital visual effects and martial arts action choreography (we can still see the "bullet time" effect up to now). This led to two sequels, "Reloaded" and "Revolutions" (both released in 2003), also video games and comic books. 

Knowledge of the first three films would greatly help in appreciating this new meta sequel, only by Lana Wachowski going solo this time. Story picked up 60 years since the events in the last Matrix movie, so details from the original trilogy would be referenced, which will delight loyal fans. Aside from Reeves and Moss, Jada Pinkett-Smith is back as Niobe and Lambert Wilson as the Merovingnan. The absence of Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving was felt.

This should have worked so well because it was mostly fan-service and nostalgia, designed made to make Matrix fans happy, even with clips from the older films to remind us of key moments. 

However, it could feel rather bloated at 2 hours and 28 minutes, especially with a slow-paced first two acts with much exposition for viewers to get their bearings. By Act 3 though, the pace and the action definitely picked up, ending with a glorious flourish. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, “Fred Said.”