‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Takes On Meta in Art, Or Why Second Chances Can Be Necessary – RF20XX Movie Review

In the world of entertainment today, one can hardly keep a good franchise down — or let it rest on its respective laurels. No matter where you go to find your go-to endorphin-inducing drug of choice, it’s probably the easiest task ever for anyone from the age of 10 and up (or earlier) to at least have been privy to a product and its subsequent sequel, or next iteration, whichever makes the proverbial pill go down easiest. It’s a hard subject to chart, because of how split many of us are on whether or not a next chapter, or a revival, should be created for the stories we hold most dear. Simultaneously, we live in a culture where you either can’t wait to get more, or you’re oppositely reviled at the mention of the idea that the perfect piece of pop-culture you so treasure would be defiled by softened edges and jokes that your generation barely understands, hoarding those memories like a dragon on a mountain of gold. However, there is a point to be seen on both sides occasionally, and if what is displayed in The Matrix: Resurrections is to be fully understood, then returning director Lana Wachowski, along with writers David Mitchell & Aleksandar Hemon, fully use the new film to have their cake and eat it too.

In the new “Matrix” film, Keanu Reeves is back in the role of Thomas Anderson/Neo, seemingly back in the same position that audiences found him in back in 1999 before he broke out of his cubicle to enter the real world and champion the human race against the machines as “The One”. Before long, much like in the original film, he is broken out of his perceived existence by newcomer Jessica Henwick as “Bugs”, a captain of a team of freedom fighters much like in the original movie Morpheus and his team were, all in order to tackle a newer version of the program that still holds most of humanity captive. Upon the discovery that there was more than one inconceivable survival story in the form of Trinity, Neo and the mostly new group spring into a fight to bring her back out, in an ongoing battle that both explains many of the stranger moments of the original trilogy and turns the entire mythology of the franchise on its head. What you thought previously may not be the true reality, and as Zuse passionately announced to Same Flynn in Tron: Legacy, “The game has changed!”.

The Matrix: Resurrections – Trailer 2

What I thought was most notable in the new entry was that as much had stayed somewhat the same, there was a newness brought to the front on multiple sides. For The Matrix to have worked for viewers in the first place, or for any movie in general, a suspension of disbelief has to take place. For instance, when somehow equally very dead characters Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and Smith (Jonathan Groff) also appear to have been reanimated by the system they were oppositely fascinated with, I barely blinked. If the original creator can fashion a love story that beats death in the far-off future (or the now, this is The Matrix, after all), then the idea that the new version of the simulation would craft their versions of each only intrigued me further, along with allowing audiences to see how in the decades that followed the previous conclusion that technology still advances. While in the long-run of the film, in all 2 hours and 28 minutes of it, the duo barely had much to do other an an occasional couple lines, call-backs, or fights, it was enough to me as a lover of the series without outshining Wachowski’s true end goal. Much like the original cast had seemingly met their goals and their ends in the original trilogy, these characters had as well, so giving them too much additional story would have confused the plot. Giving each supporting roles in the entry truly was enough, and even provided enough material and room to give each a good ending beyond what was intended.

Details like this, along with much of the meta-ness that engulfed the film, is what made it a delight to revisit this world beyond our own. Most pointedly for me, I thought that the fact that there actually exists two games from when the franchise was at the height of its fanfare, Enter The Matrix (2003) and Path of Neo (2005), that not only have scenes from the original movie in them, but also shadow Neo’s story point-for-point, was the most retroactive piece of flair that could be conceived as we watch “Thomas” basically design those titles into their own game series. While it can seem like being beaten over the head with as many “do you remember” moments the movie has in it, parts like this are an ode of sorts to not just the movie section of the fandom, and it is appreciated.

The Matrix: Path of Neo – Final Boss & Ending (Courtesy of Snake3169)

However, where the constant conversations, re-looping of scenes, and lackluster battles come in, much of it does end up alienating parts of the viewing public, many of whom had a different idea of what “The Matrix” was, and is. It is the action movie franchise that revolutionized action, introduced the world over to “bullet-time” sequences, and made leather trench coats celebrated in some circles while callously knocked in others. Undoubtedly, The Matrix, like many acclaimed films, meant different things to different people. The idea that we’re not in control of our own world and the explosion-laid fantasy in breaking out of the cycle dazzled so many, so when the new product doesn’t meet the former expectations, like many revivals don’t, one can hardly blame others for asking “Why should this have been made at all?”.

In the end, this movie, much like the rest of the franchise, was the Wachowski’s vision, and more importantly, art, that they decided to show the world. Where the first 3 films were slightly more run-&-gun than messaging, “Resurrections” slows the pace down to a crawl in order to more clearly strike clearer tones to the audience at large, engaging in more conversation than action. Using what was already there, Lana Wachowski brought hope to her former creations, and left a world she, along with Lilly, swore to never return to a bit better off. The equal byproduct of grief and coming to terms with it, what is presented is best summed up at the end of the movie as a “second chance”. What better way to sum up a series, in that thought, than to better articulate that we can still break out of our “deja vu” in life and get a hold on what truly makes each of us personally shine.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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