If you follow me, you will know that I am a huge fan of The Matrix franchise. I adore the main characters like Neo, Trinity, Morpheus and Smith and the incredible action, but there are also deep, rich philosophical topics addressed in these films. As Morpheus said in the original film, “What is real? How do you define real?”. This question is central to what made The Matrix so special, and for me, it ignited a passion for the sequels as well. The most recent of the sequels is the much anticipated The Matrix Resurrections. This was a movie that DID NOT need to get made but I am so thankful that it did. It takes the best aspects of the first 3 films and injects some new and fun ideas that really work. Let’s dive into why I loved The Matrix Resurrections.
Keanu Reeves gives a great performance as Thomas Anderson/Neo once again. In this film, Neo is somehow alive after his death in Revolutions and is Thomas Anderson once again. He’s been re-inserted into the Matrix and is a world-famous game developer who created The Matrix trilogy as a best-selling game series. Reeves gives one of his best performances as a confused Neo. There is a great scene where Neo runs into Morpheus in the bathroom at work and the shock and confusion in this scene is what we have come to expect from Reeves. This scene leads to a lot of questions and lays the foundation for the rest of the movie as Neo tries to regain his power, memories, and love for Trinity.
Carrie Anne Moss reprises her role as Trinity, and she is even better than before, both as Trinity and Tiffany, a mom of two boys. The chemistry between Reeves and Moss is incredible and this movie, first and foremost, is a love story. Each scene they share is supercharged and the audience feels like they never stopped playing their roles. They both frequent a coffee shop called Simulatte and I loved the scene of them having coffee and getting to know each other and discussing the similarities with The Matrix game and their lives. Moss and Reeves both have their shining moments but their scenes together supersede any individual performance.
For me, one of the best parts of this film was Jessica Henwick as Bugs (named after the bunny). In many ways, she’s more of a protagonist than Reeves or Moss as we watch her character Bugs attempt to free Neo once again. Henwick gives a charismatic performance as a Neo and Trinity superfan who is also a badass action hero. Her appearance in this film is sure to make her a new fan favourite. Henwick has some great acting chops and I hope that studios see her in Resurrections and start casting her in more roles.
There were a couple of big character changes in this sequel. After both trailers were released, it was officially confirmed that Morpheus and Smith would be re-cast. Instead of being portrayed by Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving, they were played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jonathan Groff, respectively. This could have easily been a low point for the film considering how iconic the portrayals of these characters have been in this franchise. Instead, Abdul-Mateen II nails his portrayal of Morpheus and builds on what made the character so beloved in the first place. As for Groff, while he wasn’t in the film for as long and wasn’t as important, his portrayal of Smith is simple and eloquent. While Weaving’s presence as Smith is missed, Groff makes the role his own and does a good job with the source material.
This movie also benefits from having, what I think, is the best supporting cast The Matrix franchise has had. We see some familiar faces return like Lambert Wilson as the Merovingian and Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe. But, we also see tons of new additions to the cast like Neil Patrick Harris as the Analyst, Priyanka Chopra Jonas as Sati, Toby Onwumere as Sequoia and Christina Ricci as Gwyn de Vere. All of their performances were top rate but Neil Patrick Harris was outstanding as the Analyst.
My main issue with this film was the lack of any good action. The original trilogy was known for having some of the best action sequences in cinematic history and that was thanks to fight choreographer Yuen Woo-ping. Woo-ping’s talents are sorely missed in Resurrections and instead of big, extravagant one take action sequences, we get many close-up fights that are made flashy by some clever editing. While they would be fine for any other movie, The Matrix‘s standards are so high that I can’t overlook it.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with The Matrix Resurrections. It’s not perfect (no movie is) but it’s exactly what I wanted to see. It was a Matrix movie that felt grounded and I really enjoyed that. I think that Lana Wachowski did a great job capping off the franchise with a perfect ending.