I wanted to believe that it was possible. I really did. I wanted to believe that it was possible to make a quality addition to the iconic franchise despite nearly twenty years having gone by since the third film. But alas, here we are and it clearly wasn’t possible to make a quality addition to the franchise. I should have trusted my instincts. While the The Matrix: Resurrections may provide us with answer regarding the ultimate fate of Neo and Trinity, those answers come at the cost of entertainment. I am a firm believer in letting sleeping dogs lie, and I can honestly say that this franchise would have been better off without this latest installment, which in my opinion adds nothing to it. I’m honestly shocked at the fact of how disappointed I was with the film given that two-thirds of the main cast came back for the film. Trust me, we are also going to discuss the one-third that didn’t and the dishonorable way that they chose to continue the character.
While its been around twenty years for us since we’ve seen Neo or Trinity, the Matrix universe, it’s actually been around 60 years. When we last saw the couple, Trinity had been fatally wounding invading the machine city and Neo had sacrificed himself in order to destroy Smith and all his clones. Neo is last seen being carried away by the machines. So what happen? Apparently, Neo was reintegrated into the Matrix; his memories stripped and transformed into a video game in order to add a grain of truth to the lie that the machines are selling. Despite this, something about his reality still doesn’t sit completely well for him.
Meanwhile, Neo’s earlier sacrifice has led to an age of prosperity for the humans. However, the war rages on and new threats are emerging. Humanity’s bright future is not guaranteed and to ensure their continue survival, they will need hope. They will need the one. Which leads us back Neo, who begins to remember who he is. However, that is just part of the obstacle, because in order to be what humanity needs, he needs something too. He needs Trinity.
So where the original film was dervived from the tale of Alice and Wonderland, they installment is clearly derived from the tale of Sleepy Beauty. This is perfectly emphasized by the state that we find Neo in at the beginning of the film. This concept was initially interesting and provided a somewhat explanation for what happen to the character post-Revolutions. Even still, outside of that initially intrigue it does not explain the machines motivation for keeping him that way. I get that Neo as The One is a threat, without question. But why not just kill him? I don’t feel that the machines motivations were ever adequately explained. They went to a lot of trouble to put the character on ice, but I feel like some time should have been dedicated to explaining that.
Which leads me to my questions behind making this movie to begin with. Why? Fine, I accept the obvious financial motivations, but as I mentioned earlier, this film, for me, added nothing to the franchise. It was the equivalent of a high school reunion or a where are they now type scenario. In all honesty all this film did was diminish the overall quality of the franchise. Granted I will admitted I wasn’t exactly happy with ultimate fate of the characters, but to my mind, this was not any better. A bit cheerier, but not better. It is also clear that this film was intended to serve as a potential vehicle for a revamping of the franchise. I very against that idea, but if it is to happen, I strongly recommend, though I’m not sure how to accomplish it, the restoration of Fishburne as Morpheus. This is no shade to Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, as I am a fan, but there is only one Morpheus. And it is Laurence Fishburne. I can’t express my degree of disappointment at the revelation that Fishburne was not going to be returning. I mean you went to the trouble of bringing Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss back but shun Fishburne. They started this journey together, they should have finished it together.
To the film’s credit, they did bring back another person that was part of the original trilogy. It was nice to have some familiarity, but doesn’t move the needle all that much. Then there was the new school that was brought in, which included Iron Fist’s Jessica Henwick. While I am happy to see her land on her feet after the cancellation of the Marvel series, I don’t feel that her character was essential to the storyline. In truth, I don’t really feel that we learn anything of substance about her. It’s established that she has connection with Neo, but that connection does not really bare fruit in my opinion. I would have liked to have learned more about her. It is hinted at that she is a bit of a renegade and willing to come against her superiors in order to do what she believes is right. However, again that fruit kind of dies on the vein. Then there is Neil Patrick Harris, who again I am a fan, but his signature style of pizzazz does not jive with the overall tone of the film.
So with this installment we only had one of the original creators making this film, and needless to say I think this movie very clearly needed them both. The film lacked the substance and ingenuity of the original film. It just felt really disconnected with the source material. Even the fight sequences weren’t up to par with the others. When it comes to this film, they threw everything at the wall to see what stuck, and nothing did.