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Review: The Matrix: Resurrections

By Katherine Prentice

Katherine considers the trench coats, toxic therapists and transcendence of the latest Matrix instalment.

Lana Wachowski isn’t letting anyone miss the point this time, with a risky boldness that becomes funny rather than cringey, The Matrix: Resurrections is thankfully a follow up to the trilogy that elevates rather than drags down the last films. When has a fourth film ever achieved that?

With Keanu Reeves reprising the iconic role of Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, or Tiffany, some nostalgia was guaranteed, but the film doesn’t rely on it, and is instead a critical, self-aware commentary full of meta-textual jibes. Neo is now stuck inside a new Matrix, one where the events of the past films, very subtly, happened in a video game trilogy he created. He believes he is having a mental breakdown when strange events occur and when relaying flashbacks to his supposedly helpful therapist (Neil Patrick Harris). This character is one element of the film I had an issue with, as it was too clearly Neil, but I suppose the déjà vu works in the context of the film if you think about it. The most unrealistic thing in this sci-fi was somehow millennials – I swear 30-year-olds don’t talk like that, although the “Simulatte” coffee shop was a great touch.

Sci-fi is the genre of choice for breaking down preconceptions and encouraging a new outlook on the world around us. A new outlook on a firm Sci-fi favourite is a fantastic way to do this, with many layers of meaning and interpretation worth discussion. It is not only self-aware of itself as a sequel to a popular trilogy but its place as a film itself is considered as carefully as the characters place within and out with the Matrix. It knows it is a blockbuster sequel and that it will be a hit in spite of the cliched criticism of “Who even asked for this?”, but this is dealt with well and with good humour. Interestingly, the film makes constant references to the game “Binary” that Neo is working on, we are told while watching the film that “maybe things aren’t as binary as that”, and questions relating to the trans allegory that had been traced through the previous films after the Wachowski sisters came out crop up. I won’t pretend to have the answers or know the intention, but the film has a decidedly fresh outlook, although maybe it is the lack of colour tint too.

At the end of the day, it was a fantastic watch. The effects were amazing, with fan favourites like “bullet time” having an upgrade, and the action both easy to follow and impressive. It stands on its own remarkably well, and while knowing the events and ideas of the last movies is helpful, a basic understanding of what the Matrix is is all that is expected of the viewer. Not an unrealistic request I would say, for something that has gripped the zeitgeist for over two decades. A gripe that I almost had was the last 30 or so seconds of the film (no spoilers), being reminiscent of Grease in its becoming a bit silly at the end, but it didn’t ruin the film. Comic relief may be a little late at the very end, but a high note, and dramatic shades, is always appreciated.


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