The Matrix Resurrections Spoiler Free Review

Dept. of Choice and Control


This review avoids spoilers for the The Matrix Resurrections.

Just as with the first Matrix movie, over 20 years ago, no one can be told what The Matrix Resurrections is. You have to see it for yourself.

The Matrix, in concept, was so unbelievable to those inside it that no one would believe you if you told them what it was. When it comes to this belated sequel only a real jerk would tell you what the movie is about, seeing as the main enjoyment to be gained from the film, comes from trying to figure out what exactly is going on before the movie decides to spoon feed you the answers and moves on to less interesting territory.

Without being an jerk myself, here’s what you need to know. Neo, Trinity, and some very recognizable archetypes in unfamiliar guises are back, along with a smattering of actual familiar faces. Why they are back is not immediately clear, although a mostly unnecessary opening sequence, that introduces some new characters, will probably give you a good idea.

What matters is that the themes of control verses choice, destiny versus free will, and what is reality, are once again open to exploration through the lens of Keanu Reeves’ unique style, guns, lots of guns, and plenty of impressive punching.

All of This Has Happened Before…

More so than recent “legacyquels” like Ghostbusters: Afterlife, or even The Force Awakens, director Lana Wachowski, along with her writing partners of David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) and Aleksandar Hemon (Sense8), have managed to come up with a satisfactory in-universe reason how Neo could return, and why so much of the film can gleefully remix what has come before, without being seen as nothing more than a cynical play for nostalgia.

The most enjoyable part of the film almost plays out like a Charlie Kaufman flavoured existential crisis comedy starring Keanu Reeves, as the roles of Neo and Thomas Anderson are reevaluated, reexamined, and remixed in a world where The Matrix actually exists as a piece of entertainment. Or does it?

At one point, the film comes dangerously close to overdosing on meta commentary as characters discuss the reasoning behind making a sequel to The Matrix in the first place! Is it something the original creators really want to do, or are they only involved because their corporate overlords would make one without them if they weren’t?

The echoes and reverberations do have a point when all is revealed. The mystery behind the reappearance of Neo and Trinity, what’s going on, and how it ties to the original Matrix films, however, may be a lot more straightforward than some may be expecting. 

Digital Iceberg Dead Ahead

After this reveal, the film loses a lot of momentum as the action scenes, despite the call backs even to specific punches from the trilogy, fail to rival the exquisite fights from the first film – the highway chase from Reloaded or the final flight of the Hammer from Revolutions. A sequence on a train, while perhaps intended to mirror the mental states of those involved, feels blurry and rushed, and the main fights just don’t feel as clear cut as they did in the originals.

The first Matrix offered an intoxicating glimpse into a world of cyberpunk, philosophy, and Hong Kong action, filtered through a striking aesthetic and wrapped in fetish wear. It felt like the tip of a new and exciting iceberg. Despite the (for the time) most advanced special effects available, mathematical sounding gibberish, and literal underground raves, Reloaded and Revolutions never replicated that feeling of whole new worlds lurking below the surface.

The Matrix Resurrections recombines those reagents in new ways to try and recapture some of that original potency, but once you’ve seen the magic trick once, it’s a lot harder to be wowed again.


As is to be expected, Reeves and Moss are fantastic. Seeing them on screen together again generates all the dopamine you’d expect. As does the appearance of some other… faces.

The mystery around Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jonathan Groff’s roles is pretty straightforward when it comes down to it, but both clearly have a ball right up until they drop out of the movie. Jessica Henwick leads up a new cast of heroes that do okay for the most part, but aren’t truly given their time to shine.

When not concerned with the status of “The Real World,” The Matrix Resurrections is a wild ride, but once it becomes clear what’s happening, it loses some of its power. Something that hasn’t lost any of its power, however, is the stunning realization of the “desert of the real.” The world beyond the Matrix, of crackling hovercraft and “squiddy” sentinels, looks absolutely amazing in the original film and continues to do so when (if?) It appears here. Some elements may sport an annoying CGI sheen, but it’s still striking.

The Sound of Inevitability

As the credits rolled, I couldn’t help thinking of Hideaki Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion. As with the first Matrix, in his original series, Anno seemed to have delivered an utterly complete thought. An ending, which in retrospect makes perfect sense for the series. In contrast to the fanfare that greeted the Matrix, the hostile reaction to the original ending of Evangelion, prompted Anno to make a clearer, more literal, and more depressing ending (The End of Evangelion). Years later, he returned once more to retell the story in a series of films that diverged further and further from the source material as they went on. Eventually providing a fresh ending that seems more to the creators current tastes, audience be damned.

Whatever prompted the Wachowskis to make The Matrix sequels, those who cried foul at the eventual fates of Trinity and Neo might find that The Matrix Resurrections provides a similar, somewhat comforting, balm.

Does that mean it’s as good as the original? Well, just like The Matrix, that is something you’ll have to discover for yourself.

The Matrix Resurrections is released in cinemas on December 22nd.

Irish Film lover lost in Malaysia. Co-host of Malaysia's longest running podcast (movie related or otherwise ) McYapandFries and frequent cryer in movies. Ask me about "The Ice Pirates"

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