How deep is the rabbit hole? Deep enough, it turns out, to accommodate at least four movies, several video games, a comic book, and countless pairs of sunglasses.
In the 22 years since the launch of “The Matrix” it has never left us – or whichever pill you choose, we’ve never left it. Despite two largely disappointing sequels, âThe Matrixâ still isn’t quite out of date – neither its long leather jackets nor its sci-fi take on an illusory reality beyond what lies ahead. It just became easier and easier to think that maybe Morpheus was really into something about this whole simulation thing.
So when green lines of code rain down on the screen again in the opening of “The Matrix Resurrections”, it’s a bit like a hot tub. If we’re going to get stuck in a simulation, at least we have one with Keanu Reeves.
But a lot has also changed in the 18 years since the last chapter on the big screen, “The Matrix Revolutions”. It is the first one made only by Lana Wachowski, without her sister Lilly. They had both resisted the idea of ââanother “Matrix” movie for a long time, but the death of their parents left Lana thirsting for the comfort of Neo (Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). she declared. The film is dedicated to mom and dad.
And for a long time, âResurrectionsâ seems to be arguing with itself. Neo is now a discouraged video game designer famous for creating the game “The Matrix” and struggling to create something that captures the same cultural connection. It might not be so different for the Wachowskis, visionary filmmakers whose dense and elaborate fantasies (“Jupiter Ascending”, “Cloud Atlas”) have at times sagged under the weight of their baroque architectures and muddled metaphysics. Even the legacy of “The Matrix” is up for debate in this very self-analytical sequel.
âWe entertained some kids,â Neo shrugs, not looking much like âthat oneâ anymore. He now wears his old identity, Thomas A. Anderson.
A sequel to the game, however, is being commissioned by the parent company: Warner Bros., which is also the studio behind these films. The meta boardroom scene this is discussed in isn’t as fresh as the filmmakers seem to think. It’s part of the overworked first half of the movie where new levels of reality are opened up and sometimes return to the first âMatrixâ. Familiar scenes are spied on again, but this time from a different and unclear point of view. between realms named Bugs (Jessica Henwick, a nice addition) and a sort of Morpheus replacement played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Laurence Fishburne isn’t in this one, and it’s not hard to spend the film’s 148 minutes lamenting her colossal absence.
There’s a lot to deal with in the first half of the movie but a few basic points: Thomas / Neo lives quietly, dourly in a simulation where he and Trinity (Moss) are strangers to each other. But Neo sees her in a cafe (“Simulatte”), and there’s a powerful connection that’s hard to explain. Reeves and Moss still have strong chemistry, and one of the film’s main charms is the less-seen Moss resurrection. But in this twisted world, Trinity goes through Tiffany and is married with children. Her husband, cruelly, is even called Chad. Whatever concerns Neo is, he is soothed by his therapist (Neil Patrick Harris). This movie “The Matrix” is not feverish with novelty like the groundbreaking original, but draws inspiration from a later chapter in life: the quarantine discomfort of feeling like you’ve gone in the wrong direction somewhere. long ago.
Realigning all the layers of truth and illusion takes some time in âResurrections,â which Wachowski wrote with David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon. The first 90 minutes or so is so overloaded with exposures and explanations that by the time Jada Pinkett Smith’s underground rebel leader Niobe appears and says to Neo, “We have to talk” – you may find yourself whispering ” Please no “and reach for the nearest blue pill. Many sequels and reboots can be criticized for their lack of preparation; âResurrectionsâ suffer more from over-thinking.
And yet, it’s often fascinating to watch Wachowski question and reconsider his most beloved creation. It’s kind of a seldom-made personal blockbuster and one that, flaws and all, I would support a lot of more skillfully composed and blatant corporate products.
More than ever, “The Matrix” plays as an allegory not for the analog and digital worlds, but something more intimate revolving around discouragement and self-actualization. In its cocktail of pills, therapy and rooftop robberies, “Resurrections” makes an elaborate science-fiction tapestry of drugs, depression and suicide. While Neo and Trinity’s heterosexual romance runs the franchise (yes, with those cool, slow bullets), âThe Matrixâ is about breaking out of normative existence – saying goodbye to the old code, to âChadâ – and reborn in a world without rules, resolutely queer. It is a fitting irony that the climax of “Resurrections” features a menacing speech about “the sheep” by Neil Patrick Harris.
But if defying its heteronormative programming and entering The Matrix was once a ballet finesse, in “Resurrections” the battle is more brutal and the tone less exultant. Personal freedom here requires defending against an alarming assault. In the grim climax of “Resurrections”, Neo and Trinity (and no longer Tiffany) flee under an icy deluge of bodies controlled by robots to invade any anomaly. âThe Matrix Resurrectionsâ can be a bumpy ride, but it’s always a journey.
âThe Matrix Resurrections,â a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for violence and certain language. Duration: 148 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.
This story has been updated to correct the title of “The Matrix Revolutions”.
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