Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss return for the fourth installment, The Matrix Resurrections, directed by Lana Wachowski.
Do not turn off the film when the credits begin rolling. There is a scene at the end of the credits!
Lana Wachowski no longer has to hide who she really is when making this newest installment of The Matrix. Lilly Wachowski might not be behind the camera but together, the two of them were pioneers in Trans Hollywood. It also goes without saying that the original trilogy was an allegory for the transgender experience.
I was late to watching the trilogy, having missed them when they were released in theaters. My first viewing came in the summer of 2009, a time when I was still actively repressing who I was. A lot of the transgender allegories went over my head at the time. It wasn’t until November 2015 that I came out as trans but this is another story for another day. And as such, none of the allegories are going over my head any more. All I have to do is see hear a line of dialogue and be like, Oh!
If you haven’t watched the initial trilogy, you’re going to be so lost. If it’s been several years since your last viewing, you should probably do a refresher viewing. Otherwise, there’s going to be so much in the film that will just go over your head. This isn’t a bad thing because sequels, by default, are not necessarily stand-alone films. They require viewings of the other films. If you think the film is too political, the joke is on you because ALL ART IS POLITICAL.
When I heard that some actors weren’t coming back, I was curious to see how it would impact the new film. I have to say that while Jonathan Groff isn’t Hugo Weaving, he does a solid job as Agent Smith. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II might step in to play Morpheus but the film certainly isn’t ignorant of Laurence Fishburne’s portrayal in the first three films. He appears by way of archival footage. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss still have it all these years later and kick some major ass as Neo and Trinity. If they had waited a few more years, they’d have probably aged out of the roles.
Lana, together with screenwriters David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon, uses this film as a way of providing a lot of commentary. There’s something to say in the film about constructs and reality. What’s real and what is an illusion? There’s a lot to unpack in these two-plus hours of action. Mostly action but a lot of commentary! Oh yeah, there’s also something to be said about sequels. Early on, Thomas Anderson’s (Keanu Reeves) business partner, Smith (Jonathan Groff), makes a comment about how Warner Bros. wants them to make a sequel to their trilogy. Only it’s a game in the film rather than a movie franchise. When you look at how much money The Matrix franchise made, it isn’t uncommon to keep asking for more films. The main reason why we have a new film is the passing of Lana and Lilly’s parents as well as one of Lana’s friends.
Without grief bringing these characters back to life, there really wouldn’t have been a sequel. Obviously, the studio came back to ask every year but the decision should be on the filmmakers to want to make a sequel. If there heart isn’t in it, filmmakers shouldn’t be forced to make a sequel. That’s why it took almost twenty years to get back into The Matrix. Any future sequels should be because the filmmakers want to do it and not because the studio wants the money grab.
There’s a love for the characters of Neo and Trinity in The Matrix Resurrections and the film offers no shortage of commentary, which is a good thing. Some of the commentary, again, is on the whole idea of Hollywood offering no shortages of blockbuster sequels rather than original content. This is one of those things that you need to read in between the lines. I mean, just look at the scene at the end of the credits!
DIRECTOR: Lana Wachowski
SCREENWRITERS: Wachowski & David Mitchell & Aleksandar Hemon
CAST: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Christina Ricci, Telma Hopkins, Eréndira Ibarra, Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt, Brian J. Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith
Warner Bros. released The Matrix Resurrections in theaters and HBO Max on December 22, 2021.
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