HOLLYWOOD—Who knew that nearly 20 years later, the film arena would receive another installment in “The Matrix” universe. I mean when this movie hit theaters in 1999 it changed filmmaking as we know it. It was a visual masterpiece, game changing and absolutely fun people. It is the only movie till this day that I can recall when it was released on DVD it was sold out EVERYWHERE! I mean this is a movie you could not find anywhere on the store shelves.
The sequel “The Matrix Reloaded” was a stellar sequel, I don’t know if I can say better than the original, but just as fun. However, that third chapter “The Matrix Revolutions” was an utter mess. So this fourth chapter, “The Matrix Resurrections” brings the iconic Keanu Reeves back as Neo. Hold on, didn’t Neo die in the previous flick? Things will be explained in this fourth outing people, but if you ever wanted a meta narrative more than what “Scream” did for the horror genre, than “The Matrix Resurrections” is it people.
I have not witnessed a flick with so many flashbacks, teases, déjà vu moments that my mind was so boggled after watching the flick I needed to watch it a second time to decipher exactly what the narrative was attempting to tell the viewer. That is the problem with “The Matrix” it is so smart it can be too smart for the moviegoer to comprehend what is actually taking place.
Let me be clear this is a difficult movie to discuss without spoiling plot points for the viewer. However, I will share as much information as I can to give you an idea of what the story is about without spoiling things for you. Think of a game within a game, where the matrix you think you know actually exists, but the people in the matrix don’t realize it or do they? Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is the creator of a popular video game that begins to play out in reality.
He has a chance encounter with Tiffany (Carrie Ann Moss), who has no recollection of her past as Trinity, as she is trapped within the matrix unaware of her past. The movie suffers from miscasting and on two fronts, the new Morpheus and the Programmer. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II does his best to become Morpheus, but fans of the original trilogy will long for the presence of Lawrence Fishburne who made the character iconic. Mateen II does his best, and he has the cadence of Morpheus and the mannerisms down, but he’s not Morpheus people and that is the thing that the viewer is reminded of constantly.
Another miscasting is Neil Patrick Harris as The Analyst and the big bad of the movie, who also masquerades as Thomas’ therapist. The pure villainy doesn’t emerge from Harris’ portrayal as one hoped. He comes across more snarky than dangerous. With those two misfires, there is strong casting from Jonathan Groff as Agent Smith formerly portrayed by Hugo Weaving. I will admit as soon as the name Smith dropped I was expecting to see Weaving, but Groff manages to deliver that sadistic, dangerous side to the villain fans of the franchise have come to expect. By the end of the movie I totally bought Groff as the big bad and look forward to seeing him in future entries, if fans are lucky.
Another casting standout is Jessica Henwick as Bugs, our fearless protagonist who sees the Matrix for what it truly is and is the catalyst for the narrative kicking the movie off into the right direction. You also have an appearance from Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe, that I felt served no major purpose to the movie whatsoever if I have to be brutally honest. I guess that was nostalgia that just made me shrug my shoulders people.
While the plot is not as tight as previous installments, it excels with fight sequences, car chases, gunfire, explosions, visual effects that are stunning and so much more thanks to director Lana Wachoski who knows how to capture this world unlike any other world in cinema that sutures the audience into this unique universe. There is a fight sequence between Neo and Smith that is hands down captivating. You will NOT be able to take your eyes away from the screen and “The Matrix Resurrections” makes sure to deliver that elevated sci-fi mania that made the franchise a game changer back in 1999 and is sure to do the same thing again in 2021.
Let’s be clear you do have to have a bit of familiarity with the prior trilogy coming into this fourth installment or you will indeed be lost a bit people. Fans of the franchise will enjoy this fourth outing, it is not as solid as the first two movies in the franchise, but it excels far and beyond that dreadful “The Matrix Revolutions” and that is a major plus in my opinion.