Film Review: “The Matrix Resurrections” (Michael D. Smith)

THE MATRIX: RESURRECTIONS
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss
Directed by: Lana Wachowski
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hrs 28 mins
Warner Bros.
Eighteen years have passed since we last saw Neo and Trinity in “The Matrix Revolutions.” Eighteen years of patiently waiting for a fourth film even though for a long time it appeared to be a hopeless dream. (Unless you were like yours truly and was happy enough that the trilogy story was over despite its ambiguity at the end.) The question now is whether the recent release of “The Matrix Resurrections” was worth the wait. The short answer is – not really. (And while it is already in theaters, rest assured you will find few spoilers here.)
To begin the trip down the rabbit hole (again), we find Thomas Anderson/Neo (Keanu Reeves) thriving as a successful video game developer whose fame is derived from his creation of “The Matrix” game series. In fact, he is looked upon as almost a god among programmers. However, Mr. Anderson is both uncomfortable with the adoration and being in his own skin. To deal with his issues, he sees a benevolent therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) to keep a handle on reality, which is helped by taking a blue pill daily.
Mr. Anderson gradually succumbs to what his therapist calls delusions, mainly by his own choosing, and thereby becomes open to the possibility that the Matrix is real. He is helped by a young woman named Bugs (Jessica Henwick, “Game of Thrones”) who stumbles upon “the one” thanks to a repeating old code that depicts when Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) first found Neo in the Matrix. With the help of a program embodying the prophet Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, “Aquaman”), Bugs frees Mr. Anderson before his business partner, Smith (Jonathan Groff, “Hamilton,” “Glee”) can stop them.
Neo learns much has changed in 60 years since his “death,” including the free human population now led by an elderly Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) and the Matrix itself. What hasn’t changed is his desire to reunite with Trinity, who doesn’t know him but nonetheless feels like she has an inexplicable connection with him. Their chances at being free again from the Matrix comes to head in a showdown with The Analyst (Harris), who wants to keep them under his thumb, and Smith, who has his own designs.
“Resurrections” is interesting to begin with as it casts some doubt on whether the Matrix is real. Again, it’s the struggle with what is reality and what is not. However, this angle soon fades away, disappointingly, into an unimaginative storyline focused on Neo trying to unplug Trinity from the Matrix. Genius. Unlike the original “Matrix,” which was revolutionary filmmaking and even its successors to a degree, “Resurrections” falls flat as its script does not deliver anything fresh or creative.
Harris was a nice casting choice as The Analyst, a program who seems to have replaced The Architect from the previous films. Other than that, there is a lot to be desired about the cast. The replacement of Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus with a digital program is fine, but the use of another actor is a gigantic failure as Abdul-Mateen II cannot capture the iconic character’s nuances. The same is true for director Lana Wachowski being unable to procure the services of Hugo Weaving as Smith again, although the inclusion of Smith at all in the story is nonsensical anyway.
Overall, “Resurrections” is one story that should have been left in the grave.

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