For the franchise’s long incoming fourth chapter of “The Matrix” franchise, there’s expectedly a lot to unpack with “The Matrix Resurrections”. If one thing is certain about it, “Resurrections” isn’t out to outdo what came before it, or even necessarily to be a continuation of it per se.
Most importantly, however, “The Matrix Resurrections” puts a clever spin on the franchise with the concept of nostalgia as its epicenter. If any more proof were needed still, “Resurrections” also solidifies Jessica Henwick’s potential as an action heroine in her performance that all but demands a solo spin-off.
Keanu Reeves returns as the franchise’s messianic protagonist, Thomas Anderson aka Neo, with Carrie-Anne Moss also returning as Trinity aka Tiffany.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II steps into the role of the film’s incarnation of Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus, with Jessica Henwick playing Neo’s human guide and ally, Bugs.
Jada Pinkett Smith also returns as General Niobe, with Neil Patrick Harris playing the mysterious Analyst, while Jonathan Groff portrays the villainous Smith who was previously portrayed by Hugo Weaving.
Software developer, Thomas Anderson is famous around the world for creating the highly popular video game series titled “The Matrix”.
Despite his comfortable life, he senses something is off about his word, with his feelings only getting stronger when he meets a woman named Tiffany in a coffee shop, each of them having a vague sense that they know each other.
Despite his therapist’s prescription of blue colored pills to stabilize Tom’s mental health, he comes to realize that he was right about the world around him with the arrival of Morpheus and his associate, Bugs.
After accepting their offer of the red pill, Tom reawakens from the Matrix once more as Neo, and begins to uncover the truth about why he was inserted back into the machine’s simulation after his death in “The Matrix Resurrections” – along with realizing that Tiffany is actually his supposed deceased love, Trinity, who is also plugged back into the Matrix.
The impact of “The Matrix” on cinematic history was the peak of the term “historic”, and no fourth installment released two decades later, no matter how good, was ever going to replicate that one-of-a-kind lightning in a bottle.
Fortunately, “Resurrections” tries for something else completely, focusing its attention on the how and the why of audiences connecting to a legacy, nostalgia-fueled sequel.
Neo’s life before re-awakening, places him in the shoes of viewing his own life, and his own past, from a distance, craving the comfort of familiarity while recognizing it as a drug.
Like a “Matrix”-style riff on “The Truman Show”, Neo and Trinity sense they’re actors in a show orchestrated by an invisible director long before waking up again, but the journey this time flips their original dynamic, making Neo the one to guide Trinity.
“Resurrections” also doesn’t stay in the status quo established by the ending of “The Matrix Revolutions”, with the peace Neo formed between man and machines also having a lasting impact – some machines and programs from the Matrix now even being on the side of humans.
It’s best to leave it at that as far as the surprises “Resurrections” has in store, but rest assured, (as you know) there’s always more to any “Matrix” movie than meets the eye.
Jonathan Eusebio takes over from Yuen Woo-ping for Fight Choreography
The style of action scenes that everyone knows and loves “The Matrix” for might be a bit of an acquired taste for some this time around, but that’s more to do with the changing of hands than anything quality-related.
With Jonathan Eusebio taking over for Yuen Woo-ping as fight choreographer, the martial arts fights of “Resurrections” are less in the classic, Hong-Kong style and more 87 Eleven with wire-fu. Keanu Reeves does relatively little kicking in his return as Neo, with his and everyone else’s gun and fu fights having been hewn more from the “John Wick” hemisphere with a superhuman component.
Neo’s Kung Fu Duel with Morpheus
The big exception is Neo’s kwoon-set kung fu duel with Morpheus, Neo gaining the upper hand in a far more explosive way this time. That along with Neo’s concrete-smashing smackdown with Smith are the highlight action scenes of the film (Jonathan Groff also putting a completely different spin on Smith’s personality).
It’s definitely a different flavor of action from the gravity-forsaking kung fu of the original trilogy, but then, “Resurrections” as a whole is too, especially in Trinity’s role that moves her more in the direction of the superhuman warrior waiting to be awakened that was once inspired in Neo himself.
“The Matrix Resurrections” is going to be many different things to many different people. Some will see it as brilliant in its self-awareness, others will be frustrated by it for that very reason.
Wherever one falls on the spectrum, “The Matrix Resurrections” does its job of continuing one of the greatest sci-fi franchises of all time by putting itself under the microscope.
With some solid action scenes and the always engaging Jessica Henwick stealing the show along the way, “The Matrix Resurrections” makes you think multi-dimensionally as it keeps your heart racing with gun battles, chase scenes, and martial arts – and if that doesn’t describe a “Matrix” movie, nothing does!
- “After all these years, we’re going back to where it all started – back to the Matrix!” – Smith
- “Time to fly.” – Morpheus (to Neo)
- “I still know kung fu.” – Neo
- “Figures.” – Bugs (upon learning that she’ll need to share a link to the Matrix with Trinity to free the latter.)
- “The Matrix Resurrections” and “John Wick: Chapter 4” were both originally scheduled to open on May 21, 2021.
- “The Matrix Resurrections” had to halt production due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and rescheduled its release date first to April 1, 2022 and then to December 22, 2021. As with Warner Bros’. entire 2021 film slate, the movie also had a hybrid release in both theaters and on HBO Max.
- During the break in filming, Lana Wachowski considered never finishing it, and letting the fourth “Matrix” movie “go down as an incomplete legendary film not meant to be seen by anyone”. However, the cast urged her to finish it, which she ultimately did.
- The movie was filmed in San Francisco at the same time as “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”, with Tom Hardy filming an uncredited cameo.
- Daniel Bernhardt returned to the film as Agent Johnson from “The Matrix Reloaded”, but his scenes were ultimately cut from the movie.
- Hugo Weaving was in talks to return as Agent Smith, but scheduling conflicts prevented him from doing so.
- The leap Neo and Trinity make from a skyscraper, glimpsed in the trailer, was done with wires designed for body descending and largely no CGI. 20 takes of the jump were filmed over the course of two days.