So I watched the Matrix: Resurrections…
I usually don’t allow myself to get caught up in the hype of unnecessary, nostalgia-driven reboots/sequels. They usually are devoid of the originality and magic that made the original work and often are just cash-grabs that end up ruining the legacy of the original. That being said, when I first heard about this movie and saw the first trailer, I began to hope. That was my first mistake. The second was pressing play.
Okay, basic plot: Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) lives out a mundane existence working for a software company where he is forced to perform inane, soul-sucking work. Thomas is plagued by a feeling that the world he lives in isn’t real and actually a computer simulation called The Matrix designed by machines to enslave humanity. His fears are confirmed when he is approached by Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) – a mysterious figure who seeks to free Thomas from the simulation and show him the real world.
You’re probably thinking: “wait, isn’t that the plot of the original Matrix movie word for word?” Yes and that’s the film’s largest problem – there is almost no originality in it. This is a common theme in unnecessary reboots and sequels – they’re so obsessed with trying to recreate the magic of the original, they fail to produce magic of their own. Now most reboots/sequels achieve this by repeating iconic dialogue or famous shots; Resurrections goes a step further and just shows you whole clips from the original Matrix Trilogy. This is a bizarre move because what audience is it catering for by doing this? Either you’ve watched the originals and already know the plot or this is your first time watching a Matrix movie and seeing random clips from other films actually means nothing to you.
Now even though this film’s plot is a poorly printed photocopy of its predecessor, it manages to make absolutely no sense. It really does try to justify its existence and explain what happened to certain characters since Revolutions AND also explain how certain characters seemingly came back from the dead. The explanations, however, just aren’t coherent. Every potential plot hole is filled with a convenience which in turn creates another plot hole which needs another convenience and on and on this goes. These story elements often contradict each other or simply don’t make sense on their own. The number of times my wife and I said “WHAT?” when watching this movie was alarming. And this isn’t one of those mind-bending movies that require laboured and existential thought to understand, this is a garbage fire pretending to be art.
It’s going to pain me to write this because I am such a fan of Keanue Reeves especially with what his done lately with The John Wick franchise but oh my goodness, his acting in this movie is abysmal. It’s lifeless. His character is meant to be this tortured soul who has been numbed by the prison that is his existence and desperately wishes to break free; Reeves just gives you numbed and not in a way that helps the character. In the original Matrix he had this aloof swagger that made the character relatable and beloved, in this film he has the charism of a mannequin on puppet strings.
I think a challenge that Reeves faced was that he was being asked to talk too much and not given enough people to punch/shoot in the head. The one thing The Matrix movies are famous for is having amazing fight scenes. Even when the films’ plot descended into monotonous, mathematic-filled drivel, the action sequences were still bold and captivating. This film lacks intensity and no where is this more evident than in its action sequences. The action feels lethargic and there’s never a sense of danger. This is because it’s never established what abilities different characters have and, as a result, there isn’t a feeling of increased stakes or tension. This is such a waste of Keanu Reeves’ talent as he’s shown himself to be so adept at hand to hand combat in The John Wick franchise.
Ironically, this film feels like it was created by the mind of a machine. There’s such a disconnect between the characters, the actors portraying them and the audience. I don’t want to get into spoilers but the film is filled with familiar characters from the original trilogy BUT not all the actors who portrayed them. I know what you’re thinking, “how can the original characters return without the actors behind them?”. The short answer is that the characters are used as disposable pawns that get slotted in different areas of the plot without logic. Because of this you never connect with its characters and this lack of connection means you don’t care what happens to them. Live, win, lose, die; it all means nothing. There are moments where interesting ideas and concepts are introduced but they’re never explored and instead the movie returns to the banal torture it calls its plot.
Overall, I can’t say enough to describe how much I hated watching this movie. Usually you can excuse an unnecessary cash-grab sequel because of the love you have for the original but that’s three horrible Matrix sequels in a row. When exactly do The Wachowski’s leave well enough alone and stop ruining their legacy? Don’t watch this movie 0/10
P.S. Can I also please make a bid to Hollywood: putting little self-aware, meta jokes in your script where you point out the very soulless, ridiculous sins that other studios or filmmakers routinely commit while committing those same sins yourself isn’t charming or humorous. It doesn’t absolve you of those sins, it actually just makes you look worse.