The problem with movies which have to make (a lot of) promotion before it hits the cinema, is the need for teasers and trailers. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, if you are capable of teasing just enough without giving away any plot points. Marvel Studios has made this into an art, usually only showing footage of the first 15 minutes of movies, shooting extra scenes for trailers or using CGI to modify trailers, just to keep enough surprises for the audience.
If you are reading this, I am hoping you haven’t seen any promotional footage of The Matrix Resurrections, because if you haven’t you will be in for a nice ride, if you have seen trailers you might have been spoiled too much. Click on to read some of my spoiler free thoughts after seeing the movie.
The Wachowskis make some great movies and series. I’m a big fan of Sense8, which you still can see on Netflix, and of the original Matrix trilogy, which holds a special place in my heart. Now many of you will say that this is due to the special effects in the movies, the fight choreography or even the deeper philosophical meaning of “what is real?” which gets discussed lengthy throughout the movies. But for me however The Matrix, which was released back in 1999, was my the first illegally downloaded movie I ever watched at a friends house. It was also the first movie which got me back into watching movies as a form of entertainment. When I was a kid most of my entertainment was either specific TV shows, books, pen and paper Dungeons & Dragons and games. Sure I did watch movies from time to time, but back then this was rare. When I saw the first Matrix on a laptop, my mind was blown. Is this how far technology has progressed that these special effects are now possible? And is this the same guy from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure?
After watching the entire movie on a laptop, I got myself a copy and watched it dozens of times over and over at home. I loved it for all the reasons why most people loved the first movie. And where others might not be that fond of the second and third installment, I thoroughly enjoyed it and loved the conclusion of Neo bartering peace between machines and humans. So if you were to continue this story: can you and should you?
These questions are now answered with the release of The Matrix Resurrections, which picks up many years after The Matrix Revolutions. Of course Keanu Reeves is back as is Carrie-Anne Moss, but that pretty much is it. By smartly making use of flashbacks from the trilogy, this lack of original cast can be overseen. For me however, seeing many of the cast from Sense8 was just a delight, making me enjoy every action scene and story beat more than the average moviegoer.
However this movie isn’t without flaws. Because it attempts to “resurrect” the story of “The One” it needs time explaining what has happened and why there is a new status quo. The Matrix Resurrections starts at a steady pace, explaining the various changes that have occurred (including the new appearances of old characters), when it suddenly goes down a rabbit hole. At great speed several monologues are being held, trying to cover as much story as possible so the action can continue again. This makes the second part of the movie a bit of a mess, feeling rushed at parts. The movie could have easily benefited from 30 more minutes, taking the time to explain why things are as they are in the Matrix. However Lana Wachowski did open the story up nicely again and I hope more content eventually gets made.
The Matrix lore is a special one. It bridges the philosophical part of life and (the usage of) tech. When do you start living, when are you being lived? Is scrolling through an endless stream of content considered life? Or did machines (read: AI) just take your attention and time away from you and from your loved ones?
One thing for me is clear though, even though the stories being told in the world of the Matrix seem like science fiction, if we are not careful enough, some of it might become reality.