The Matrix Resurrections review

The Matrix Resurrections is a hack nostalgia trip content to reminisce about the glory days of a franchise that’s been chasing its tail since its first groundbreaking installment.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 22 years since the first film arrived and spawned a slew of imitators. The first film still holds up today with no problem. Depending on your love of the sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, you might appreciate Resurrections more.

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Fair warning. Resurrections’ screenwriters David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon assume viewers have done their Matrix homework and rewatched the trilogy recently before the fourth installment. On one hand the effort to connect to the previous films is commendable, but when it’s done at the expense of the plot of the new film it’s less admirable.

TV writers will occasionally do an episode on the cheap with a clip show featuring highlights from various episodes. It comes off very weird watching a clip movie covering the big moments from the original trilogy. Especially for a trilogy with diminishing returns for each subsequent film. Matrix Revolutions is everyone’s least favorite of the three, right?

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Critics were asked to hold off on revealing major plot points, which in this case is easy, since the plot is so convoluted it’s hard to decipher exactly what the heck is going on anyway. For consistency’s sake, the film needed an R in the title, but The Messy Matrix probably would have been more accurate.

There’s a point very early on that feels similar to the fun-derailing conversation Neo has with The Architect in Revolutions. One of the big issues with the previous trilogy was this unearned assumption that the pretentious and convoluted dialogue was actually deep and thoughtful. That was definitely a legacy bug issue that could have been scrapped.

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Initially, Director Lana Wachowski sets up the fourth film like an homage to the first film.

Bugs (Jessica Henwick, Iron Fist) is the captain of a crew determined to wake Neo (Keanu Reeves, Always Be My Maybe) up from The Matrix. With the help of a new, though drastically different Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Candyman), they track down Neo and began his latest awakening.

If only the producers could have come up with an alternate look for Neo so he doesn’t look so similar to Reeves’ other signature character, John Wick.


It’s trickier this time as Neo aka Thomas Anderson is in a heavily meta scenario. In this reality, he’s a revolutionary video game designer renowned for creating The Matrix trilogy.

Parent company Warner Bros. wants a fourth game even though Anderson thinks the story is done. And Anderson’s psychiatrist (Neil Patrick Harris) is attempting to help him work through his trauma of confusing fiction and reality.

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Anderson’s boss, (Jonathan Groff, Hamilton) is totally on board prompting a workshop session of what made The Matrix work.

This is a way too cute approach and the self-references via Anderson flashbacks feels like a cheap “remember when?” setup to engage the audience. If anything, this just draws attention to the lack of creativity in this installment.

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Neo eventually remembers everything even if all of his super powers aren’t intact. The Matrix was ahead of the 2000s superhero movie curve so Neo flying around with his flowing trench coat billowing in the wind embodied a sense of cool moviegoers weren’t accustomed to in their action movies.

The style and action flair is still intact, but now, it isn’t as revolutionary or unique. Seeing Neo flip in slow-motion and stopping bullets in mid-air isn’t as breathtaking as watching Thor unleash Mjolnir on Thanos’ hordes in Wakanda or The Suicide Squad taking on a giant starfish.

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That doesn’t mean Neo is a pushover and Bugs’ crew is formidable enough to help him carry out his mission of freeing Trinity (Carrie Anne Moss). Reeves and Moss have a believable connection that shows why the Neo/Trinity bond is the core dynamic of the series.

Henwick is a nice addition to the franchise. Abdul-Mateen II has the most unfair assignment of trying to make audiences forget about Laurence Fishburne. He’s not helped by Wachowski continually throwing in flashbacks of how Fishburne did it cooler first.

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There’s a few familiar faces that return beyond Neo and Trinity. Some are buried under unfortunately awful caked on makeup. Others just return to revisit old characters. One returnee actually makes a lot of sense and doesn’t feel like a random call back.

Resurrections also suffers greatly from the lack of a compelling villain. Hugo Weaving’s Mr. Smith was a perfect foil for Neo and there is no capable stand-in to match Neo on both the physical and philosophical level.

the matrix resurrections review - keanu reeves and jonathan groff

Maybe the biggest issue with Resurrections is the film is so bogged down in trying to recapture the magic of The Matrix that it fails to evolve the series.

Worse, there are some interesting concepts and ideas introduced. Too often they’re just as quickly dismissed in favor of revisiting familiar themes and plots from the previous trilogy.

the matrix resurrections review - neo vs morpehus

There’s little in Resurrections to suggest it was worth exhuming the decrepit shell of the franchise back for another round. If this is enlightenment, pass me another blue pill.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

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