'The Matrix Resurrections' Review: Keanu Reeves back in slow but enjoyable cyberpunk flick
It's a trip down memory lane the minute 'The Matrix Resurrections' begins to play on the silver screen and despite the glaring flaws, the fourth installment of the mind-bending franchise is better than the predecessors. The painstaking, and mesmerizing story told in 'Matrix Revolutions' is undone quite convincingly in the cyberpunk sci-fi saga that sees the return of Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss) as they resume in the age-old battle to free humanity from the vice-like grip of the machines that's trapped them in a simulation.
It's not the Neo the world remembers, Reeves' John Wick lookalike of Neo is Thomas Anderson alright, but he's a man trapped in the simulation and he's not a programmer, rather a game designer with flashes of the past. It's very Jason Bourne, he's unable to recall the events that happened, and for those who have watched the trilogy, it's a little easier to catch up. Although Neo struggles, he's racing against time as he needs to remember as the Matrix is now on the loop where it intends to do what it does again.
There's also a catch. There's a new Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and Bugs (Jessica Henwick), instead of Trinity and some time has passed, and the major chunk of the movie is spent trying to shake Neo awake from his latest version of his simulation. And while that may come off as a bit of a drag, it still makes for an enjoyable affair, with enough easter eggs, hints, and reminders that take a trip down memory lane. 'Resurrections' also sheds light on Trinity's arc. From a badass to a love interest, there was the disappointment that she was reduced to Neo's love interest, but this movie fixes that mistake.
The film also answers the all-important question of the need to make a fourth film in the first place, especially after the trilogy spawned classroom debates, and minted moolah that breached the billion mark. The end result is that Neo has been going about his entire business the wrong way despite the small wins. 'Resurrections' also has notable absentees and one of them is Hugo Weaving's iconic Agent Smith (played by Jonathan Groff in this film).
What makes 'Resurrections' falter is the fact that it spends a lot of time setting up the world of the Matrix, again. Maybe a miniseries would have been a better approach? Lana Wachowski was all about attention to detail and she repeats the pattern which actually made the trilogy successful. That said, those with heightened expectations might find this a bummer. The movie is a visual delight, the action sequences are mind-boggling, the plot, barring the lengthy context-setting is crisp, and doesn't really disappoint.
Some movies don't necessarily require sequels and 'Resurrection' is one of them. But now that they decided to make a movie out of it, it's not a complete failure but isn't outta sight either.
'The Matrix Resurrections' is available for streaming on HBO Max, but is best enjoyed when viewed on big screens near you.