The release of the 4th ‘The Matrix’ movie didn’t live up to the expectations, despite the hype. Here’s what went wrong.
“Mr. Anderson, welcome back. We missed you.” This is what every fan of The Matrix trilogy was probably thinking when they sat to watch the 4th instalment. But 30 minutes in, they realized this production had nothing to do with anything that they once knew. It completely failed to reproduce any “Matrix” elements. There was no trace of the nostalgia factor, despite the obvious and desperate attempts of the writer.
As a fan of The Matrix myself, it was a big shock for me, too. There is a reason for everything though. That’s why in this article I am going to explain why The Matrix Resurrections was a mess and an insult to the trilogy. The movie rightfully earned its place among the sequels that have ruined great titles.
Warning: spoilers ahead!
Just like in every movie ever made, the plot is the core. Nothing will let you down faster than a shallow and inconsistent plot. No special FX can make up for it. That’s exactly what ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ did. I was astonished at how Lana Wachowski, who wrote the legendary prequels, fell so far off with this one. Maybe it was the pressure from Warner Bros. Inc. for this production. Or maybe it was done on purpose, to ridicule the current trends of rebooting/remaking. That’s what some people say. Either way, the task successfully failed.
In this movie, Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) were somehow alive. They led “normal lives” in a new ‘Matrix’ world. In that place, Neo was a video game developer, and went by the name Thomas Anderson. Trinity was a housewife with kids, called Tiffany. So far so good, apart from the fact that Thomas was a misunderstood nerd that turned the original ‘Matrix’ into a video game (or “modal”). He also had put his past life into a loop, unbeknownst to him. In this modal, sentient AIs were created. One of them being the new Morpheus. He also mysteriously escaped into the “real” ‘Matrix’ where Neo was currently plugged-in to.
Furthermore, agent Smith was also alive, and coincidentally he was Neo’s boss. He, too, had lost all his memories. It truly baffled me why agent Smith was still alive, though. Previously, he was a rogue program, which Neo eliminated in order to save the machines and negotiate peace with them. That was the whole meaning of the trilogy. Remember? Therefore, the machines would never resurrect agent Smith to the same thing again. This fact was completely brushed aside, and showed us that you can come up with anything you like for some easy cash.
Fast-forward, the explanation as to how Neo and Trinity survived, was finally given. It seems that when both died in ‘The Matrix Revolutions’, the machines resurrected them and kept them alive in order to harvest their love energy. This kind of energy was produced whenever they were close to each other. Does “love energy” make any physical sense to you?
Nevertheless, they were vital for the machines, as there was an energy crisis and wars had started even among them. Imagine that. Again, the machine civil wars couldn’t be plausible either, because the machines were governed by one main AI. There should have been no in-fighting at all. Ever.
Regardless, the summary of the plot is that Neo is risking everything again to save Trinity and get her out of the ‘Matrix’. As usual, the machines try to keep them both plugged in because they need their love, hence making this the corniest sci-fi movie ever.
Ah, I almost forgot. They added zombies too! They called them “bots” (programs that imitate humans). Their combat style was swarming at their targets and devouring them, as you may have guessed. Pretty lame in my opinion. There were also some cute pet machines, with googly eyes. I’m still trying to delete those things from my memories. This ain’t some Narnia movie, so why try to make it look like a fairy tale?
During the last minutes of the film, it was revealed that Trinity was the new chosen one (‘The One’) of this version of the ‘Matrix’. That scene should’ve been removed, as it added nothing to the plot. What could possibly follow that up? Trinity wasn’t even in the spotlight throughout the movie, as ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ was all about Neo and his comeback.
Overall, the movie wasn’t even remotely original. Most of the time, it took advantage of the nostalgia factor. It mostly showed multiple flashbacks of the past films, enacting the same phrases, and including the same memorable fights. Just in a more bland way. Something like trying to enact your wedding. Not much excitement there, is it?
Finally, product placement and advertising were present too. That was completely out of place for such a production.
Therefore, if I could sum the plot up in one sentence, I’d say it felt like old friends were trying to meet up. But in a cheesy forceful way.
2. Fighting scenes
The fighting scenes were the second most important element in any of The Matrix movies. Those have been ruined too in this one. All the characters in ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ were sluggish. The combat techniques they used didn’t look like actual Kung Fu at all. I don’t know if age was relevant, since the original cast is 20 years older than before, but they did really struggle to pull off those moves.
Another downside of these scenes was the re-enactment of the legendary “Neo vs. Smith” fight at the subway station. They tried to copy the exact art style and movements, but even though the choreography was almost a replica, it failed to convey any meaning or impact. To put things into perspective, it looked like some low-budget Power Rangers fighting scene, aimed at children.
Now, speaking about Neo, all he did after he regained his ‘The One’ powers and memories was to use force fields with his hands. Like a Jedi from Star Wars… Even though he mentioned he still remembered Kung Fu, he clearly didn’t.
The funniest and saddest part was when he attempted to fly. He managed only to briefly jump a few centimeters above the ground, and fall back down. It was a good representation of how I felt about the movie as a whole…
Finally, when ‘The Analyst’ (Neil Patrick Harris) fought with Neo, he applied a time-slowing technique, or “bullet time”, as he called it. This new technique left Neo completely defenseless, as he was unable to counterattack or find any way around it.
This scene was really stupid. I couldn’t understand how the chosen one who broke the rules of ‘The Matrix’ to fly and dodge bullets in the original series, couldn’t deal with fast things. How could “bullet time” beat him if he was able to literally avoid bullets? I think consistency was the key here, and they blew it.
Their fight should’ve looked similar to Superman vs. Flash in the ‘Justice League’ (2017), where they were both on par with each other’s speed.
3. Mediocre acting
Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), was constantly forcing himself to act like the original Morpheus. His polarizing personality didn’t fit that role at all. You could sense he was uncomfortable with it too. Because of that, he didn’t nail any part.
It was even sadder, when he dressed exactly like Morpheus, and decorated a room exactly like in ‘The Matrix’ (1999) to re-enact the “red pill vs. blue pill” scene. However, this time, he didn’t offer a choice to Neo. Instead, he lost his patience and pressured him into getting the red pill. Not very Morpheus-like, in my opinion.
On the other corner, we have Neo, who appeared even more confused than before. Most of his dialogue revolved around “yeah” and “sure.” He gave me the impression of a lost old man with dementia. He no longer had this serious and sharp look like he used to in the original trilogy. He seemed more like he’s just had enough of this.
The new agent Smith (Jonathan Groff), even though he perfectly managed to look stoic and eery, had nothing to do with Hugo Weaving’s acting charm. There wasn’t a single scene that gave me the same menacing feeling as the original agent Smith did.
Finally, the ‘Merovingian’ (Lambert Wilson) made his appearance as well. However, he ended up being portrayed as a common hobo. All he was doing was spewing vulgar insults in French, and cursing the new generation that is addicted to social media. He was ranting about people not engaging in real classy discussions anymore. He instantly became political, and took the scene out of context, by turning it into a boomer rant. Speaking about politics…
4. “Woke” propaganda
Though I heard people mentioning something about political and “progressive” elements of this movie, I never expected to see so much of it. The Merovingian was one thing, but the “red pill vs. blue pill” act also turned into a political symbol. An example was when Neo was taking a blue bill every morning, to remain a “sheeple.”
Though it’s true that the pill from The Matrix has been used as a political symbol in recent years by the right wing parties, that wasn’t the intention of the 1999 film. That’s also the reason why you can’t suddenly change this concept in the last movie. Remember, real-world politics were portrayed as an illusion and means of control in the original trilogy. Due to that, people struggled to get free or simply were completely unaware of it. Breaking out of this illusion was the main message of the original trilogy. Hence, any The Matrix movie should be the progenitor and not the precursor of those ideas.
We see symbolisms and speeches about capitalism, feminism, non-binarity in genders, the trans nature of things, etc. as well. How couldn’t we, since they were fed to us throughout the film. Two instances were the most striking. The first was when all leaders of Io (the new Zion) were all women of color. Not saying that this is bad per se, but there was definitely an “all-female leadership” symbolism going on.
The second one was near the end scene. During that time, Trinity saved Neo with her flying ability, as the new ‘The One’. That made her exhibit the image of a “strong and independent woman” who saves Neo and becomes the leader of the ‘Matrix’.
Aside from that, Trinity showed contempt towards her family, and was glad to be her single self again. She acted like her two children and husband were a weight in her journey of strength and independence. I find all these “woke” additions redundant. They were offensive, and opposite to the nature of this movie. I know the “cancel mob” will try to get me, for saying these, but someone has to tell the truth.
‘The Matrix Resurrections’ is not a ‘Matrix’ movie. Instead, it should be treated as a Matrix-inspired romantic chick-flick without any real fights. If you are a ‘Matrix’ fan like me, I suggest you avoid this sequel.
What did you think about the movie? What did you like or hate about it?
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