Cert – 15, Run-time – 2 hours 28 minutes, Director – Lana Wachowski
Influential video game creator Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) finds himself unwillingly creating a new instalment in his ground-breaking Matrix trilogy, however he begins to re-discover the technological reality hidden in his games.
Keanu Reeves has become an iconic figure for his wistful, almost poetic views and statements on life. He’s also become one of the world’s favourite action stars thanks to his titular role in the John Wick franchise. Therefore, it’s slightly weird to see him returning to his other iconic franchise pottering around a bit like a confused old man. It’s certainly not something that runs throughout the entire film, but it does feel like famous video game creator Thomas Anderson is often just drinking in information with little else to add. Much of The Matrix Revolutions is told through the words of those around him as he is brought into the world of his smash-hit video game trilogy.
After almost being forced to create a fourth addition in the series, particularly pushed by his money-focused business partner (Jonathan Groff), Thomas begins to experience what he believes to be flashbacks to his fictional world; seeking the help of a therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) to help him distinguish such visions from reality. However, it’s not long until Thomas discovers that the Matrix was never just something from his mind as the figure of Morpheus (the ever-welcome presence of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), fresh from what appears to be a shopping spree, brings him back in to a newly assembled team.
There’s certainly a rather meta and self-aware feel to this latest instalment in the franchise, nearly twenty years on from the original trilogy. Both of which are made points of in the initial build-up to our big re-introduction to the world. However, such feelings appear to be dropped as the narrative moves on and the film focuses on bringing back old faces to the new functions of this familiar world. After seeing a familiar face in a coffee shop both Thomas and stranger Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) feel they’ve met before but have no idea where, putting it down to just seeing each other most days by the counter waiting for their respective drinks. This is much of their relationship throughout the film, not much else is done with it as we mainly focus on Reeves’ gradual discovery of his abilities within the coded world. It’s an often long road with various segue-ways and tangents for the sake of familiar elements, and lengthy discussions between characters. What’s formed is a rather rambly piece that loses the attention of the viewer as the majority of the piece feels like build-up.
Not even the action manages to properly grab you as it jumps between fights and figures in the same place. Showing the battle from multiple perspectives and angles instead of being more concentrated, engaging and in general less distracted. It pushes the lengthy run-time – which begins to be felt beyond the halfway point of the film where much of the content and conversation still feels like build-up and context to something much bigger than what we actually get.
The finale certainly holds some decent content, like one or two patches throughout the nearly two and a half hour course of the film as a whole, yet it begins to dive again as it either feels too extended or as if it’s building up to something else as a whole. In general a number of key moments in the third act feel as if they could have been placed halfway through a narrative with what feels like bigger stakes; and giving Moss more to do – although she certainly seems to be enjoying the brief bursts of action that she gets.
The Matrix Resurrections feels like something different from the rest of the series, and not always in the best of ways. Not completely bringing anything new to the table its biggest issue is that it largely feels like a lengthy build-up to something not overly satisfying. As we watch characters react with confusion to the lengthy conversations and explanations of those around them. While there are one or two moments that catch your interest in the unfolding events they come somewhat later in the day and don’t manage to connect and bring the otherwise uninvolving and disengaging nature of the film up.
After dropping the different, more meta and self-aware content early on The Matrix Resurrections loses its audience with lengthy build-up to lacking action. Its rambling nature feels unengaging and it simply doesn’t provide enough in its worlds to get truly brought into either of them.