The Matrix is one of my favorite movie series, a mind-bending story fusing philosophy, technology, and exploration of the human condition. My wife & I recently asked my parents to babysit so we could take a rare trip to the movies while Matrix Resurrections was still playing.
We had watched the original trilogy fairly recently, so the story was fresh in our minds. Nothing compares to the original Matrix, but we both really enjoyed this movie and thought it was a solid continuation of the story of Neo and Trinity. The trailer got me super-hyped to see it, and thankfully it lived up to my hype. It had a lot of cool, thought-provoking takes on the Matrix story, and didn't seem like a cheap cash grab.
There are probably going to be spoilers below, but I'll try not to give too much away...
The story starts out with Neo once again living within the Matrix as Thomas Anderson, now a successful game designer. He created a game, The Matrix (a game within the movie - referencing the movie itself! Woooah..), but is haunted by the feeling that his memories and subconscious connections to the game have some deeper reality... or is he just mentally ill? He is seeing a therapist who is prescribing him blue pills (of course) to help with his seemingly delusional breaks from his current reality.
The fact that there is even a movie with Thomas/Neo after he clearly died in Matrix Revolutions is a mystery. Is this really Neo? Did he survive somehow? This is explained later on as the rabbit hole opens up once again, and we dive deep down into it.
One thing this movie does brilliantly is hold a mirror up to the absurdity and craziness of our "normal" world - the dependence on manufactured pharmaceuticals, ubiquitous technology, inauthentic social relationships, corporate fealty, and our own behaviors based on our limited grasp of reality.
There is also a lot of "meta" self-parody in this movie, exposing the bullshit aspects entertainment & mass media. This is mostly done through humorous situations & conversations involving Mr. Anderson's game company. There is a discussion how Warner Bros. is demanding a new Matrix game, even though Thomas doesn't want to make one. The production company & the money are in control, not the creator.
I thought it was interesting how the advances in real-world technology since the flip phones of the original movie were addressed. One scene I especially liked, that's shown in the trailer, is where he is in an elevator & looks up into the mirrored ceiling to see everyone staring into their mobile devices. We are becoming more "jacked-in" to our Matrix, the Internet, all the time. People's brains are addicted to this connection to virtual space in a way that is making it inseparable from our natural conscious experience.
Inevitably, Thomas Anderson finds out there is more to his reality, as he has suspected all along. After assimilating & neutralizing the threat of Agent Smith in Revolutions, it turns out the machines have kept him and Trinity alive. The machines have kept them in special pods, close to one another for decades after reviving and rebuilding their biological bodies. As the Anomaly, their presence and proximity to one another somehow stabilizes the Matrix for all other humans.
One thing I thought was a great continuation of the story was that after Revolutions and the peace Neo's actions ushered in, the machines began to integrate into human society. Zion was destroyed by continued warfare, but the machines were able to join & help humans in the new city of Io to greatly improve their quality of life. The original Matrix movies had a very "us vs. them" approach to the human relationship to machines, until Neo realized the only way to end the conflict was to merge into a more symbiotic existence.
Although the real Morpheus apparently died after leading the High Council of Zion, a "virtual Morpheus" was created by Neo. Although he was a program that appeared like Morpheus within the Matrix itself, thanks to nanobot-like tech he was also able to manifest in the physical world. Again, it was an interesting concept using advances in technology to come up with fresh approaches to the storytelling.
Eventually, Neo reconnects with Trinity, who is living a fake virtual life with a bot husband, (maybe unironically) named "Chad" & their bot children. The great human mysteries of "Love" & "Choice" once again play the ultimate role in the fate of the two protagonists... and the rest of humanity, as a result.
The ending of this movie is a callback to the end of the first Matrix, but this time Trinity saves the day, and makes me think there may be more to the Matrix story to come.
Although I really like the movie, there were some things that kind of bothered me. The relationship between man & machine was kind of confusing, because there was apparently a peace brokered but people are still in pods and there are still hostile machines and programs.
I was really thrown off by how easily both Neo and Trinity eventually got out of their V.I.P. pods in the middle of the machine city. Wouldn't the machines have robots monitoring & guarding these pods with an immense level of scrutiny? Yet, there were no machines to be seen as they were being extracted. The whole "rescue" attempt was probably the part of the movie that bothered me the most.
I also didn't understand how Smith would still be able to exist, even if his form was altered... and if he was still around, wouldn't he still be able to cross over into the real world?
Anyway, these complaints didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of this visually and conceptually impressive movie. With so many reboots & expansions of fictional properties proving to be shallow or rushed, I was extremely happy to experience such an awesome return to one of the most intriguing fictional worlds in modern media.
I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who was inspired by the original Matrix and the other movies & offshoots, such as the Animatrix. It was a deep, innovative journey into the mind and the real & virtual worlds it can inhabit.