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The Matrix: Resurrections

“After all these years, to be going back to where it all started… back to the Matrix.”

The Matrix is an odd franchise. A trilogy of films that is part of the public consciousness, despite being somewhat dropped after two disappointing sequels. To have a new entry into the franchise after two decades is kind of bizarre, and for me very welcome.

So is it good? Well, that’s kind of hard to answer. The short answer is, I loved it. Of course I’m probably the perfect audience for something like this. I come from the Matrix era, I love metatextual intellectual stories with multiple layers of meaning. I am a big sci-fi fan, and will unapologetically defend Reloaded and Revolutions. Yet what is interesting is you don’t even need to like those sequels to enjoy this film.

This exists in a strange almost heightened world where we are all aware that companies are milking our nostalgia for the past. In fact this story actually capitalizes on the concept of sequels, reboots and remakes to the point where it is text, not subtext. It might be a bit too on the nose in places, but the Matrix series has never really been all that subtle.

However, there is more here than meta call backs, nostalgia and homage. This is really about an artist going back to their breakout hit and examining their own creation from a different point of view. Lana Wachowski has gone through a lot of public changes since she and her sister wrote and directed the Matrix trilogy. Which at the time was all edgy and cutting edge, but is now recognized as an allegory about trans culture literally fighting against a system that wants to stifle or destroy it.

Lana, who had vowed never to return to this property, said on multiple occasions that she felt there was an elegance to the ending of the first series that didn’t need a continuation. It took the death of someone close to her before the right story began to percolate in her head. The product of that story is so clearly drawn from a lifetime of storytelling. A narrative so self-referential that it is almost narcissistic. Yet done in such a clever way that it actually acknowledges and respects the vanity in returning to such a story.

Alright, so I’ve gone on for a while about the higher level stuff. Let's get to the nitty gritty. This is not a perfect film. There are several things that may drive someone to instantly dislike it. The humor is very specific, the action is not quite at the same level as the original trilogy, and the last act is a choice that some might not be able to accept. Most of the characters are a bit thin, and the dialogue is occasionally stilted, exposition heavy and occasionally goofy. Of course you could say that about the original films.

Yet this is a visually stunning film, with careful attention paid to details. The twists and turns are not always obvious, and there are some absolutely wonderful world building details that not only pay off the ending of the first trilogy but act as a coda that feels warm and hopeful. The acting is better than most of the original trilogy, with Reeves and Moss standing out as way better actors then they were back in the day.

Jonathan Groff, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jessica Henwick are all great, and while I can’t go into details about who they are playing, I was impressed by what they delivered. Jessica Henwick especially was way more of an anchor for the film than I expected, and easily could’ve carried the movie alone had it gone in a different direction. Neil Patrick Harris also deserves a nod as Neo’s therapist; he is delightful in the role, although his cat might have stolen the show.

One last note. There is also another meta level to the casting that made me smile. A good number of actors from the cast of Sense8 had small roles in this film. Their presence made those characters pop for me, in a way that might not have been the case for anyone who hasn’t watched the series or if you weren’t aware Lana was a creator, writer, director and producer on Sense8.


Neo can be seen eating noodles early in the movie, likely at his favorite restaurant.

What they did with the machines and agents in this film is really a step beyond the first trilogy, and I loved the little details that brought this to life.

As much as I love the self-referential aspects to the movie, there may have been one too many callbacks to the first film.

The romance themes work so much better than in the original trilogy, which I chalk up to Reeves and Moss having become much better actors in the last twenty years.

There are a ton of small visual details that are a direct homage to the original trilogy, from the splintering of a wall to the way an explosion ripples out the world like reality is made of water.

There is an after credits scene, but it isn't massively important. If you are at home, it’s kind of worth fast forwarding. If you are in the theater, I’m not sure it is worth it.

To conclude, I can see why this movie might be panned by critics, and even by the audience. It isn’t a film that is easy to just sit back and enjoy. It isn’t a simple crowd pleaser, and it might turn off fans of the original trilogy as well. Yet for me it was the right approach to a series of movies that meant a lot to me.

3 out of 4 Bowls of Digital Noodles
Samantha M. Quinn spends most of her time in front of a computer typing away at one thing or another; when she has free time, she enjoys pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy-related.


  1. I really liked nearly all of it. I especially liked the feminist slant and the older Keanu and Carrie-Ann because you're right -- they're better actors now. Loved Deja Vu and Neal Patrick Harris, and Jonathan Groff, and most of the cast of Sense8.

    The callbacks, I'll admit, were great at first, but they did get to be a bit much to me at some point.

  2. I liked the first half better than the second half. I love the question of what's real. Is Thomas Anderson the real person or is Neo? And I loved the question that this computer game may just be a programmer who had a mental breakdown and who is too caught up in the game that he created. I loved that. If it would have kept on longer, this may have been something that I'll be wanting in my blu-ray collection when it comes out.

    It was the answering these questions that I thought things got heavy-handed (what? The Matrix films getting heavy-handed? I know that's a shocker!) And the second half just took it down to "It was an OK movie. Nothing terrific. Nothing that I'll really want to see again." I certainly thought it was better than the 5.8 score on IMDb it currently has! Wow, people have been hard on it! But, yeah, I thought it was OK.

  3. I liked this! The meta stuff was fun for me (although too much more and it it would have been too much more). The "Can you still fly" scene was really charming.

    But my favorite part, I think, was that after-credits scene, and all credit for that goes to you, Samantha, since I finished the film, promptly popped over here to read your review, and discovered I had missed the after-credits scene.

    I am choosing to think that the scene is a direct shout-out to this perfect story of an intrusive AI who micromanages people's choices: https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritzer_01_15/ It's called "Cat Pictures, Please."

  4. I think meta is a new comedy, just don't overuse it because slapstick doesn't last.
    The movie is entertaining, a bit of a setback for geeks but maybe just a new way to reintroduce it... like resurrection of something or anything.

  5. Great review. I enjoyed the movie, but I didn't like it after I spent time thinking about it. The first Matrix had a fairly simple clear morality about people being trapped in and being used by a machine. I thought the second and third went some way towards giving the machines some agency and working out some kind of detente where both natural and artificial life forms had a relationship.

    After Matrix: Reprise (my name for it) it feels like they're changing the game a little bit. I have to think about what this means for the relationship between man and machine and the blurry place in between.

    I clearly got caught up in thinking, because I am also going to rewatch for the aftercred scene I missed!

  6. I went into the cinema hoping at the very least that I'd enjoy this movie more than the last two. I came out with a big grin on my face having loved every last second of it and it now tied with Dune as my favourite film of 2021.

  7. Watched it for the third time last night.

    The movie's only downside, for me, is the first five minutes or so. While it does establish the tone, it also features exposition-dumps, retreads the opening of the original movie, and nearly all of Jessica Henwick's dialogue is unintelligible; definitely needed to reshoot the part where she's explaining the red pill/blue pill "choice."

    Everything after that is pretty great, though, especially if you were a fan of the rest of the series. While it is a mixed bag -- like every Matrix movie after the first one -- I think it's probably the second best movie in the franchise. The satirical, meta-fictional elements are weirdly effective in the first half of the movie (partly because of how blatantly and ridiculously cynical they are about it), but it makes the second half very poignant as characters reflect on the nature of their reality and what happened in the previous movies. The meta-fiction also allowed the movie to be more autobiographical than I was expecting, which turned out to be rather lovely. "Yeah, we kept some kids entertained."

    And I also loved seeing members of the Sense8 cast among the rebels.


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