So I can’t necessarily say this is a good movie, but to me, it’s already an underrated one that deserves way more credit than it’s been given.
Inexplicably following the events of the original Matrix trilogy (didn’t Neo and Trinity die at the end of the last one?), The Matrix: Resurrections follows a very different Neo (Keanu Reeves), as he goes about his life in a world that’s vastly different yet far more familiar than it initially seems. Acting as the architect of a hit trilogy of video games that depicts the events of the original films as if they were nothing more than the conjured ideas of a creative mind, this film sees Neo question his very sanity as he’s constantly unsure of what’s real and what’s not. Soon swept up in a web of lies and revelations linked back to the idea of what the Matrix is and who he is in the grand scheme of it, Neo is thrust into another mind-bending journey that directly takes on what came before, while simultaneously exploring what the idea of the Matrix means moving forward.
First things first: this will probably go down in cinematic history as one of the most botched sequels of all time, or — as I believe — one of the most interesting experiments in sequelitis this side of Reloaded and Revolutions, the two follow-up entries to the groundbreaking film that was the original Matrix. Chock-full of meta-commentary that both helps and hurts the story, Resurrections is a film that needs to be seen with an open mind as a lot of what happens in this film might rub the Matrix faithful the wrong way, despite the valiant effort made to do otherwise.
Equal parts messy yet elegant, nonsensical but thought-provoking, and action-packed yet far less stylish than expected, Resurrections does a lot of things right on the page but doesn’t seem to give itself a fighting chance once everything is said and done. Taking liberties with the source material as well as pushing it into a new direction in interesting if not controversial ways, this film reeks of a rush job that in all honesty, might have turned out far better if the filmmakers were given a bit more leeway and time to do exactly what they envisioned.
Oftentimes feeling like it takes one step forward and two steps back, the overarching idea of this one is something that I applaud, but can’t necessarily condone, as at least half of this movie is actually kind of great, with the other half botching the execution in ways that frustrate more than anything else. There’s something to be said about how the world of the Matrix has evolved over the decades, and while it doesn’t always stick the landing, this is still a Matrix movie, and for all of its flaws and half-baked promises, Resurrections worked far better for me than the third movie, not as much as the second, and can’t really hold a candle to the original, but is still a sequel that I truly believe is far better than it lets on.
So although I honestly think this movie could have been the best entry in the franchise since the original with a little more development time and a lot more help from the clearly indifferent studio that is Warner Bros, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The Matrix: Resurrections more than deserves the split criticism it’s been receiving since its release, but for me, the brilliant ideas, return to the Matrix itself, and fun world-building add up to an experience that’s no doubt flawed, yet is still something I enjoyed nonetheless.