The Matrix Resurrections is a riddle wrapped inside an enigma; a high-concept sci-fi thriller that tests your patience and demands your attention; a sequel that pays homage to its forebears while paving a new path. “No one can be told what the Matrix is,” Lawrence Fishburne’s Morpheus once said. “You have to see it for yourself.” And the fourth installment in the genre-defying behemoth needs to be seen to be believed.
So, what can we tell you without giving too much away? Well, Resurrections is, quite simply, the most meta movie of the year. Lana Wachowski, directing without sister Lilly, has peered through the looking glass, seen the reboots and sequels dominating cinema screens and decided to break the system from within. Resurrections can’t escape being part four of a beloved series, yet it frees itself from convention with heart-pounding panache.
Emblematic of Wachowski’s approach is the opening: Resurrections starts with a scene-for-scene recreation of the first Matrix – but something’s off. Bugs, played confidently by series newcomer Jessica Henwick, watches as agents fight Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). We presume Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith will appear, but someone else shows up…
"Nothing comforts anxiety like a little nostalgia," Yahya Adbul-Mateen II’s Morpheus says later on. Wachowski has the same view: footage from the first three movies is frequently spliced in. Even Morpheus’ very presence causes an uncanny feeling, the character now ably handled with a new-found grooviness by Adbul-Mateen.
By its midpoint, Resurrections loses any semblance of the familiar. The script’s most impressive feat is telling a story that raises new questions about the Matrix itself. And while there are moments where the plot teeters on falling down the machine-made rabbit hole, the bond between Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity anchors everything.
Despite the two being dead at the end of Revolutions, Reeves and Moss’ iconic characters make a full-blown return, and the love – and anguish – between them is palpable. Reeves has the more prominent role, but their chemistry is more electric than ever.
This won’t be for everyone; should your patience for meta-commentary be thin, you will likely struggle. However, Resurrections succeeds where other reboots have failed: breaking from the familiar to tell a story both timely and timeless.