- Gareth Crook
The Matrix Resurrections (2021) - 4/10
I’ve heard mixed things about this, whilst not really paying any attention. My expectations though are pretty low. Mainly due to the latter two thirds of the trilogy before this reboot. The first of course is a sci-fi classic. Dated yet still exciting to watch. It’s a cool action movie, with a simple pretence. Unfortunately, the convoluted nonsense that followed has tarnished the original in my eyes. Sure there were still some nice visuals, but the plot disappeared up its own arse. We’re 2 minutes in before I’m correctly predicting forthcoming lines. This is intentional though, all supposed to signify a loop point or a code glitch… or indeed a resurrection. Replaying old lines and old set-pieces. It comes off as a bit lazy though and annoyingly meta. I’m not gonna lie though, it is fun and starts with enough pace to draw even me the skeptic in. We’ve two sides to the story. In one,
Bugs (Jessica Henwick) stumbles across a new Morpheus (the rather wonderfully named Yahya Abdul-Mateen). She’s what we expect, the enlightened human raging against the machine. Morpheus though is at the start of an awakening, leaving his previous role, that of an agent to take the red pill. In the other Neo (Keanu Neenoo) is still enlightened, but in denial ‘working’ within the network in a calmer reality bumping into Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) in coffee shops and cracking self referential jokes poking fun at the very being of this film as Jefferson Airplane score scenes of hipsters brainstorming what made the original Matrix great. See, annoyingly meta. It’s all designed to try reintroduce the smoke and mirrors and revive the original question, what is reality? But truthfully it’s really just a fluffed up loved story, Neo trying to rescue Trinity. Reeves is good, as is Moss (albeit underused), Abdul-Mateen too, although less so when CG reduces him to a load of ball bearings. Even Neil Patrick-Harris, who makes a reasonable enough villain does his best. Everyone else is a bit flat though. Especially ‘Agent’ Smith (Jonathan Groff) who inevitably compared to Hugo Weaving falls well short. Particularly with the huge amounts of flashbacks to the original that are both jarring and a reminder how much better an unbloated story can be. It does look great, the action is frenetic, the score bombastic, but it’s all just repeats of the same vision. Gooey pods, metallic robots, bullet-time, white rooms with sparse retro furniture. Wildly indulgent kung fu scenes and more symbology than you can shake a white rabbit at. It starts well enough, but boy does it plod in the second act. Wachowski really has learnt nothing. My only question watching this is, why? If we’re looking at some satisfying finale that ticks some boxes and gives us something better than the tosh we got from Reloaded and Revolutions then perhaps I could see some worth. That’s not what this is though. It’s a simple cash grab, one that’s happy to rob any legacy this franchise has. The finale is batshit popcorn fodder and if you can forget the 2 hours (yes it’s bloody long) that got us here, well, it’s a good action filled laugh. With chases through the streets as the zombie like inhabitants swarm against our leather clad hero’s. I’m rolling my eyes as the credits roll though. My expectations were low and that’s what this delivers.