The Matrix was a viewing experience I’ll never forget. It was the first R rated film I was allowed to watch in theaters. I was twelve years old when it released in March of 1999, and my grandma took me to see it. Neither of us had any clue what we were getting into, but I was blown away (and at times terrified) by what I witnessed in that theater. A visually striking, and impossibly unique film that combined science fiction, action and philosophical quandaries into a near perfect piece of entertainment. It was art. And the Wachowski siblings have been trying to replicate it ever since, with varying success. Resurrections is the best of the sequels. By far, actually. However, it still feels unnecessary and fails to do anything groundbreaking enough to warrant a revisit to The Matrix universe.
Resurrections tries its best to craft a story different enough to justify its existence. Yet, its afraid to stray too far from the original trilogy, relying heavily on flashbacks and exposition. Desperately trying to remind the audience of how amazing The Matrix once was. Remind us of that feeling we got when we first experienced it back in 1999, and hoping that spark carries over into the new film.
For the first time with a The Matrix film, Lana Wachowski takes the role of director alone. Her love for the world that she created with her sister and frequent collaborator, Lilly Wachowski, is evident. Her handling of old characters is done with a loving touch that pays tribute to their stories, while exploring new possibilities. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss were born to play Neo and Trinity. They slip back into the roles like a perfectly sized glove. It’s their performance, and their chemistry, that elevates the story. The Matrix doesn’t work without them, and they deliver their best performances from the franchise thus far.
Trying to explain The Matrix to somebody unfamiliar with it is no easy task. And a relatively solid understanding of The Matrix, and it’s functions, is necessary to fully enjoy Resurrections. It’s not the type of movie you can watch without prior knowledge. Doing so will undoubtedly leave you lost and confused throughout the film’s two and a half hour runtime. My suggestion would be to re-watch the original trilogy (Yes, even Revolutions. Sorry.) prior to sitting down for the fourth installment. Resurrections continuously reminds you of prior events, but the story is just too convoluted to succeed.
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) joins the cast. His performance is exactly what you’d expect. A mix of subtle, condescending tones and over the top exaggeration. A bit abrasive at times, but he fits in well enough. The tone of Resurrections is far different than any Matrix film we’ve seen before. It’s meta and far more reliant on comedy, which seems to be the trend these days. Nothing can match up to the original. Nobody expects that (And if you do, you’ll be disappointed). But Resurrections is an improvement. A course correction from the abysmal finale we received with Revelations. 6/10