The Matrix Resurrections Review: Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss' movie OVERINDULGES on the nostalgia factor

Updated on Dec 22, 2021 03:13 PM IST  |  294.4K
   
The Matrix Resurrections Review
Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprise their iconic roles as Neo and Trinity in The Matrix Resurrections.
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The Matrix Resurrections

The Matrix Resurrections Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra

The Matrix Resurrections Director: Lana Wachowski

The Matrix Resurrections Stars: 2.5/5

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Confession Time: It's been a minute since I have been this divided over my reaction towards a movie before. In all honestly, the mayhem surrounding The Matrix Resurrections, which OG fans felt was long overdue, obviously increased the mammoth expectations from a franchise that redefined the sci-fi, action genre and became the template for many such movies, over the few decades. Did the Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss starrer deliver on its promise? Let's find out.

We're welcomed twenty years after the cataclysmic events of The Matrix Revolutions where Neo now goes by the name of Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves), a popular video game designer. While supposedly wiped away from all his tragic memories past, Thomas has strange episodes which are associated with his life as Neo, including a woman named Tiffany, who is infact his beloved Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). When another version of Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and Bugs (Jessica Henwick) offer Neo the red pill, instead of the rotational blue pill medication by his therapist The Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris), Neo is reacquainted with his Matrix past as a formidable, new enemy surfaces. Moreover, let's not forget an, even more, sassier version of Neo's arch-nemesis Smith (Jonathan Groff), who is also his business partner.

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The first barrier that put a roadblock to truly enjoying The Matrix Resurrections is the extreme reliance on nostalgia. This is especially seen towards the beginning half as Thomas tries to piece together his complicated life as Neo, including numerous flashbacks to the previous instalments with archive footage of fan-favourite The Matrix OG stars like Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving. The entire "poking fun at themselves" meta schtick gets monotonous quite quickly! However, as a silver lining, Keanu and Carrie-Anne haven't missed a step, getting into the burdened shoes of their iconic character with sublime ease. While Moss's Trinity is still as bada*s, Reeves' ageless potion works like magic. You really can't tell the difference between him as Neo in The Matrix Resurrections and the original movies.

Both characters have such depth in them that even though The Matrix Resurrections has many a flaws, Keanu and Carrie-Anne deliver knockout performances with Neo and Trinity's striking chemistry still intact and a major plot point in pushing the narrative of The Matrix 4. So much so that you'd be okay with another instalment if that means getting to see more of them on-screen.

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Alas, with too much emphasis on Thomas and a painstakingly long wait to see him transform back to Neo, the retention value drops at every minute. Nevertheless, Keanu keeps the boat afloat while Yahya, in a crafty ode to Fishburne, and Jessica, as a dynamic dark horse, add their own spunk to the mix. Neil almost personifies his loved Dr. Horrible avatar as The Analyst and is the patented scene-stealer with his quirky act while Jonathan as Smith proves why we need to see him in more pivotal feature film roles. When it comes to Jada Pinkett Smith's OG character Niobe, the actress undergoes an epic physical transformation as her scenes with Keanu is "reminiscent" gold. As for those, like me, curious to know how Priyanka Chopra as a grown-up Sati fared with the big guns, though limited, PeeCee makes a significant mark as opposed to her other mostly forgettable Hollywood roles.

Given how so much time is dedicated to the slow burn narrative of so many characters, with Neo and Trinity's bittersweet love story at the core center, what is a major disadvantage is the limited screen time for the trademark action sequences which made the original such a classic. There isn't much inventiveness behind them which would be somewhat of a buzzkill for OG fans. That's not to say that certain sequences don't have the classic The Matrix touch because they do, just not enough!

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Neil Patrick Harris on his 'pinch me' moment after seeing Keanu Reeves as Neo on Matrix 4 set

What The Matrix Resurrections gets right is the larger than life cinematography by Daniele Massaccesi and John Toll, which is backed exponentially by the equally grandiose production design by Hugh Bateup and Peter Walpole. Set at a duration of 148 minutes, Joseph Jett Sally masterfully oscillates between the present and past, though the flashback sequences were in balance (if not more!) with the present and made his job quite easy. Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer's music, too, was on point with The Matrix brand while Lindsay Pugh's costume design was a palatial mix between old-school and modern; whether it be the darker colours for Neo and Trinity to the contrasting bright colours on Morpheus.

Given how only one half of The Wachowskis (Lana and not Lilly!) took on the director and co-writers's (along with David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon) cap for The Matrix Resurrections, there's a sense of half-heartedness to what The Matrix 4 could have been. Maybe it was the audience's unattainable expectations or the sequel "cash cow" agenda, but The Matrix Resurrections had everything in place to be nothing short of spectacular which it ultimately wasn't. Given how nonconforming The Matrix is in its entirety, especially with how the storyline treads way too close to our reality rather than fiction, The Matrix Resurrections should have been legen-wait for it-dary, but comes crashing down because of its glorified legacy and was better left not resurrected!

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