Lana Wachowski's The Matrix Resurrections is one of the boldest, most ambitious blockbusters I have ever seen. Action-packed, wickedly entertaining, and full of heart. Resurrections celebrates on new ideas, while Lana reclaims her legacy. Through emotion, spectacle, subversion, and metacommentary, Resurrections takes a stand and succeeds. It’s also one of the best love stories of 2021.
Warning: Minor Plot Spoilers
Welcome back to the Matrix. Nearly two decades after Revolutions that concluded the Matrix Trilogy, Neo (a great Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (a strong Carrie-Anne Moss) are back and in fighting spirits. If you have kept up with the Matrix Trilogy, then you know that at the end of Revolutions, Neo and Trinity died sacrificing themselves in order to save humanity. A sacrifice that brings peace between the humans and the machines. Yet, even the machines could not let Neo or Trinity really die. Hint the name of the fourth title: Resurrections. So, our two heroes have been plugged back into the Matrix. Now in recent years, unfortunately, the Matrix franchise has been somewhat compromised by toxic fandom and right-wing groups, who have shallowly interpreted the "red pill" imagery as a metaphor for "waking up" to a society controlled by liberal elites. Lana and Lilly Wachowski have fundamentally denied this interpretation and have long fought against this. The Matrix franchise has always flourished through big ideas and philosophies through its cyberpunk undercoating.
But one of the most important themes throughout this franchise has been its voice of a trans allegory. The original film and the pill analogy (red and blue) have been analyzed in the context of the Wachowskis' own transgender experiences and exploring one's gender identity. In Resurrections, Neo (Reeves) is living out his life as a video game designer named Thomas Anderson, who has created an entire video game world based on the events of the first three Matrix films called Binary. Yet something is missing from Neo's life, and he can feel it. Neo goes to a therapist (Neil Patrick Harris), who prescribes him "blue pills" to take to help Neo suppress these dreams that perceive reality. Secretly, Harris' character is also The Analyst. Yet, Neo is finally tracked down by a new character named Bugs (a fantastic Jessica Henwick) and a program embodying Morpheus (a wonderful Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Bugs and Morpheus reveal to Neo who he really is and extract him from the Matrix. We also get a newly reawakened Agent Smith (a lively Jonathan Groff), who hunts down Neo, Morpheus, and Bugs, and threatens the fragile peace. Resurrections never tries to out due the original 1999 film.
While Reloaded and Revolutions digressed to more heavy-handed action sequences and splendor. Lana knows the ground-breaking achievement that the original film was and still is. But what Lana does do in Resurrections is reclaim her legacy as a director and an artist. Similar to what Wes Craven did to New Nightmare (1994). This is the story that Lana always wanted to tell: one that gives a scathing critique of sequels and reboot franchises. A story that also subverts the audience through its entertainment and spectacle scene after scene. Finally, Resurrections tells one of the most fascinating love stories to come out in recent memory. Neo and Trinity's bond and love will live in our hearts forever. While Trinity's body and mind have been recovered, repaired, and modified, giving her a new version inside the Matrix with a new family. Now, it's up to Neo to break her free. Resurrections not only succeeds as an action-packed blockbuster but also succeeds through its emotional storytelling and heart. Resurrections is Lana's story as a director and an artist that comes full circle in the end. Through the powers of sentiment, empowerment, and freedom, Resurrections is a grand achievement in artistry.
The Matrix Resurrections is rated R (Restricted) For Violence and Some Language.
Directed by Lana Wachowski
Starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Jada Pinkett Smith.
In my opinion, Resurrections had the best trailer of 2021. White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane is chef's kiss.
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