Conner’s Critique: Matrix Resurrection

The matrix was a very big film when I was a child. I remembered being in high school and watching the first movie of the trilogy and just thinking how groundbreaking the premise was. While the second and third films weren’t as amazing to the general public as the first, I saw the beautiful moments hidden within both of the sequels. I honestly enjoyed the trilogy as a whole.

When I heard that the fourth in the series was being made, I was genuinely excited. As always we will break down the critiques of the three categories: Story, Acting, and Overall.

STORY: 4/10

The story starts off as the original Matrix film, with a dirty grime-covered city. Almost as if it’s a picture of the late nineties.

In this new place, we are immediately introduced to Bugs, a character similar to Trinity from the first film. Bugs appear to be navigating the matrix, but we soon learn that she’s not in the Matrix, but in a program within the Matrix. Levels within levels. It is there that she discovers an amalgamation of Morpheus and Agent Smith into one form. While this is not the original actor who played Morpheus, this character is supposed to be more than just Morpheus for the purposes of the story, a Fauxpheus in a manner of speaking.

It’s from there that we learn that Bugs has seen Neo and that he’s is still alive. Together Fauxpheus and Bugs escaped the program and return to the real world with the plan to find and rescue Neo.

Then we enter the actual Matrix and are shifted to a more modern/brighter world. A place with order and clean streets. In this world Neo is Thomas Anderson, they didn’t even change the character’s name, a video game designer who created the Matrix, a popular video game. A video game that chain changed the world.

But Neo has no memory of the prior films. He has mental issues that cloud his understanding and make him feel lost. He seems to have had issues that make him think the Matrix is real, but he is constantly told that it was only a figment of his taxed imagination. This ends up being a major point of the first section of the film, dealing with Neo grappling with his existence and whether or not he’s suffering mental trauma. It almost played to the point that maybe we are all wrong with our assumption, and maybe Neo isn’t actually in the Matrix. I’m not going to lie, if they committed to that, I would have been really impressed.

Then before the second part of the film, halfway through the story, Fauxpheus steps out of the shadows, and any question about whether the Matrix is real or not is removed. With the wool removed from Neo and the viewer’s eyes, we gain a new plotline. Neo must attempt to find and save Trinity, to rescue her from the Matrix, as Bugs and Fauxpheus did. Before the big mission to save Trinity, Neo gets to see all the fruits that were borne from his sacrifice at the end of Matrix 3. What has become of the world of man and machine? A lot of people have given this movie some negative comments about the world that was shown outside of the Matrix, but I honestly believe that this was perfect for the story. The machines would have separated from one another due to having differing opinions. This denotes that they truly would have had artificial intelligence. Most sci-fi films say artificial intelligence, but what they really are thinking is one artificial intelligence feeding into a hive-mind system.

I really feel like this film was a great nod to lovers of the lore, a love song to the series. It’s full of callbacks and easter eggs to moments from the prior films that are intentionally placed within it. They aren’t there to make money from the viewer, who either subscribed to HBO Max or are already in the theater, but to give them a nod that says, “I understand why you loved the prior film.”

Acting: 6/10
While I love Keanu Reeves in almost everything he’s in these days, his every-man persona falls a little flat in the beginning of the film. It can be very frustrating for a lot of the fans to go from seeing Neo go from having full control over his abilities, then to seeing him be sidelined of those skills in the new film. For instance, one of the major problems fans had from this Kung Fu film, is its lack of fighting choreography. It’s clear they could not commit the time needed to train Keanu to create awesome fighting scenes. The lack of that feature though is painful especially since we know Keanu is capable due to the John Wick series.

It was awesome to Trinity again, but I felt unsatisfied by the fact that the writing specifically placed her trapped within a barrier like she was a princess in a castle in need of rescue. However, mostly an amazing job for Carrie-Anne Moss, as she plays a person who is struggling to find themselves.

Additionally, this film has great supporting actors in the form of Jessica Henwick who plays Bugs, who we’ve already seen kick but from her work on Netflix’s Iron Fist. Another great actor in this film was Jonathan Groff, who a lot will know as King George from Hamilton, but in this film was playing Agent Smith.

Another major face joining the fourth film is Neil Patrick Harris, who plays the role of Neo’s therapist. Harris is working to desperately try to keep him within the fictional world. It’s not often we get to see Harris play a villain. It came off a bit hammy in parts, but it was fun seeing him sink his teeth into this role.

Overall: 5/10
It is slightly unfortunate that the story itself doesn’t really stand out as powerful or as impressive as the first film. However, the first film was dealing with the idea of awakening. This film, unfortunately, had to deal with the same concept as well as a Neo reset that makes you feel like you have to re-tread a lot of the same stories and decisions from the prior films. It can be a bit frustrating.

At the end of the day, this film feels like you’re watching the Matrix on three TVs at the exact same time. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but there are layers upon layers upon layers to this film. If it was tweaked a little bit more, it could have been an amazing work of art. I would have preferred if the whole film was all about us trying to find out if the Matrix was real or if Neo was just delusional. However, I feel that Warner Bros got a little bit lost in the weeds while trying to create something a bit edgier, that’s why I can see how a lot of people become disenchanted.

Conner’s Final Thoughts:
If you’re willing to not judge the film too harshly and to enjoy the ride then this film is quite enjoyable. If you like Sci-fi it’s a pretty light facet of this outing, but if you like deep lore cuts based on the three prior films, then you’ll have fun.

Fair warning though, if you haven’t seen the original films, then this movie doesn’t really explain the prior, outside quick shots of flashbacks and video playback in the background.

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