As the credits roll at the end of The Matrix Resurrections, we notice a quote Lana Wachowski included as a dedication for her deceased parents – “Love Is The Genesis Of Everything.” This is a perfect quote to summarize the franchise’s fourth installment that changed the sci-fi genre and opened the discussion about the thin line between one’s choice and pre-destined existence. Finally, 21 years after we first met Thomas Anderson, aka, Neo (Keanu Reeves) —an IT by day and hacker by night, the beloved characters are back. Although the film feels more like a familiar, warm embrace and not a breath of fresh air, the new characters, new technology, and more elaborate fight scenes make up for it. It’s one hell of a comeback to Matrix.
There are many facts to be said about one Thomas Anderson—He is a game designer, drinks coffee at Stimulatte, and often dreams of talking to Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) —a regular at a coffee shop to whom the man feels an inexplicable connection. But, one thing that Thomas Anderson is not is Neo, the One, the Savior, and a hero. This is what the creators are trying to tell us in the film’s first act. But, those whose minds were freed won’t give up so easily and attempt to bring him back. Reeves’ Neo has to follow a white rabbit once more to discover what’s real and what’s not.
As the chaos and battle begin all over again, Neo realizes something is missing. With the help of a resilient Bugs (Jessica Henwick), her team, and Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), Neo begins the race against time, machines, a new version of Agent Smith (Jonathan Groff), and a mysterious yet incredibly dangerous Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris).
If you expect to discover something new in the fourth installment, you may be slightly disappointed. Resurrections take a different approach and celebrate the franchise’s best features while adding components that relate to the younger audience who have yet to fully dive into the Matrix films. The perfect example of the generation gap and how it truly transformed over two decades exists within the fourth part: the lack of phones in the film’s narrative. Chasing a phone booth when an agent is right behind you is a thing of the past. Instead, Bugs and her team now relocates via doors that become a type of portals.
The cast ensemble is unquestionably brilliant. As we see the return of veterans such as Reeves and Moss, we also see new faces—Henwick, Abdul-Mateen II, and more. The star-studded cast perfectly encapsulates the coming together of two very different generations, which Wachowski brilliantly showcases in the characters’ interactions and the narrative itself. For example, while the characters of Neo and Trinity are at the forefront and essentially vital parts of The Matrix Resurrection’s storyline, Henwick as Bugs easily wins the audience’s hearts. Bugs, in Bugs Bunny, is a witty play on the words and another reference to the 1999 film — “follow the white rabbit.”
The costume design department is another success in film and deserves praise. A signature looks filled with black hues are modernized. The outfits seem to focus on the sunglasses, designing a different model for every character. But what deserves a standing ovation is the wardrobe of Morpheus. Full of yellows and, sometimes, pastels, the outfits worn by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II are simply stunning.
The excellence of Resurrections lies within nostalgic script and dialogues that become an ode to the previous parts. At one point, Groff’s Agent Smith talks to Neo about the repetition of the stories that surround us. According to his monologue, we tell the same stories, just with different faces, different elements, but, eventually, the same outcome. Resurrections play with the idea and, sort of, jokes about the existence of a sequel and become very on the WB’s nose.
One can go as far as calling The Matrix Resurrections funny and ironic even, in some scenes. The film has a lot of retrospective shots, which is a wonderful idea, especially when it comes to introducing the Matrix franchise and the characters to a new and younger audience. There are many references to Trinity and her love for motorcycles or Neo and his coding. The creators give an ode to the original trilogy while subtly mocking the existence of chapter 4 and incorporating the best parts of the franchise into a fresh take on technology, the thin line between choice and destiny, and the most amazing love story there is in the sci-fi genre.
The relationship and the unconditional love between Trinity and Neo have been one of the most powerful examples of a love story in sci-fi since the late 1990s. As a result, their plotline is the most critical part of Resurrections and, essentially, the main theme. As the fights against agents and machines take a backseat, we’re given the tale about destiny and the unbreakable bond and love between two individuals.
Moss’ Trinity further develops—Wachowski takes an unexpected turn and gives her more power and independence than we’ve seen before, in any previous parts. The duo becomes one; the balance begins to change and shatter if one of them is gone.
Creating something new that wowed the audience so many years ago is hard enough; it’s harder to contribute something that will interest a new audience and bring back the older, loyal viewers. Resurrections does precisely that and does it so brilliantly. The film offers something for both sides—nostalgia, many references to the original trilogy, the incorporation of the new technology. All that while touching on the subjects of free will, pre-destined existence, and more.
Matrix Resurrections will undoubtedly divide the audience with its polarizing narrative. However, I’m sure that it’s excellent viewing for those who are just discovering the franchise and slowly following the white rabbit. At the same time, it becomes a great love story and nostalgic ode for the original trilogy fans.
Matrix Resurrections will premiere in theaters and on HBO Max on December 22, 2021.