The Matrix Resurrections—Review
Updated: Dec 28, 2021
If you’ve seen and enjoyed The Matrix and you’ve just got to have the same wow, the same suspension of disbelief from The Matrix Resurrections, you could be disappointed. But if you’re more realistic about the situation, just as the makers of the movie were, The Matrix Resurrections is a good time musing about the franchise's concepts while also sharing a bit of inspiration at a time it’s especially needed. While the action scenes aren’t as spectacular and don’t create the same tension as the other two sequels, this iteration doesn’t try to hang its hat on action and instead serves as a meaningful and perhaps conclusive epilogue.
Neo’s situation early in the movie doubles as a conversation about the movie itself, and a commentary on all popular media as an industry, especially sequel making and captivating paying audiences once the well of originality has run dry. Another reviewer, Jacob Oller, calls this a meta narrative, which is apt. In the midst of those early stages of the movie, Neo is given opportunities to rehash former revelations and catharsis as if they were new, but he can’t even feign interest. It’s in these ways the movie reminds me of the central irony of The Matrix, which is shared with a Black Mirror episode.
The main character in that episode is among the many who ride stationary bikes to power a system that keeps them alive and gives special privilege to the few who control the system. To keep the bikers happy, the overlords pipe entertainment to them while they ride and in their cube homes with viewing screens for walls. The analogy falls halfway between The Matrix and the literal world we actually live in. The irony within the episode and with regard to the show itself is that when the main character uses his credits to get on a talent show, he delivers a speech decrying the system and calling for revolt, only to be met with cheers; his rants get piped daily to the biker class as the system rides on as it was. Even while this character’s intentions were perhaps genuinely revolutionary, he just became part of the system he was calling against. The real-world parallel might be ridiculous, pseudo-revolutionaries like Russell Brand or Alex Jones, where they make people feel like they’re already sticking it to the man so they don’t actually get the gumption to do something truly revolutionary.
Resurrections’ honesty about the irony that the movie is part of the real matrix, and its honestly about many things, is the added value beyond all the reiterations. The middle and later parts of the movie get something of a plot moving. And while much of it could be predictable, the thread that leads us to the end-game creatively and finally answers the big question: is Neo “The One.” It turns out his abilities aren’t exclusive to him. Anyone with enough courage and love possesses amazing powers of expression and change.
If you’ve never seen The Matrix, watching Resurrections may require more focus to follow. Maybe that could even make it more traditionally engaging. Still, I’d say just go watch The Matrix first, lol. As for myself, I’ve never seen an episode of Doogie Howser, but I get the idea Dr. Howser is a benevolent character. So, I also wonder how fans of that show will respond to the Neil Patrick character in The Matrix Resurrections.