The Matrix Resurrections (2021)
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Went from "Oh no, they went full sequels again" to "What the hell is going on here this is great and confusing and weird and I'm not sure if I love it or hate it" to "ugh, can we stop trying to make everything Star Wars" to "I have no idea what is at stake here and I don't care if they succeed or if that's even possible."
I mean, it started out pretty decently. The first 30-45 minutes are great fun and actually kind of interesting. Everything after that slowly falls apart. The villain stuff is kinda hand waved away with mumbo jumbo about something, and we kind of lose the narrative when the conceit of the film is revealed. The further the film continues, the further we get from understanding what we're doing and why.
It starts out being one thing, and then ends up being just another action Matrix movie. Its philosophical questions are inconsistent, but perhaps interesting to a degree. Its ultimate point about media consumption and nostalgia being comforting is kinda muddy, and not well suited to the filmic medium. Though I agree with the point that media consumption is ultimately a neurotransmitter delivery system, I'd rather read it in a magazine article, to be honest. Despite messy action editing, a pointless plot, and neverending Neo force pushes, it's probably still better than one or two of the sequels though.
3 stars out of 5
When The Matrix came out in 1999, it was the essence of cool, combining a then-unfamiliar Hong Kong aesthetic with cutting edge special effects and heady themes. Visually, it was so revolutionary, the sequels could never recapture that impact. Reloaded had a the visuals down, but failed to deliver on story. Revolutions did deliver on story, but by then, the effects failed to impress. By NOW, we're so used to photo-real effects and superhero action, it would be impossible to achieve the same impact, so all I asked of The Matrix Resurrections was that it deliver on story. While there's a part of me who would have enjoyed it even more if they went FULL meta on it and have Keanu play Keanu, or for that matter a more 1970s-style ending, the meta stuff in which Neo has been inserted into another life (or has he?) is my favorite part of the movie. It's funny, clever, satirical, and as John Wick proved, everyone loves sad puppy Keanu. But it IS a Matrix movie, which means a story about destiny, love and freedom. Rising stars Jessica Henwick and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II are very watchable as the new Trinity and Morpheus (so to speak), and there's a bit of cognitive dissonance in putting Neil Patrick Harris and Hamilton's Jonathan Groff in Matrix action. On par with Revolutions (which I know will mean something different to different people), I felt it did deliver a next chapter.However, if you're looking for the ol' "essence of cool", you won't find it. Directorially, it might even be Wachowski's most timid film.
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