Lana Wachowski, directing a film without her sister for the first time, has decided to re-enter the Matrix. Based on the trailer, I’m more than happy to join her.
The Matrix Resurrections (2021) looks like a continuation and re-examination of the storyline presented in the original, ground-breaking trilogy. Keanu Reeves is back as Neo, now being called Thomas Anderson again, and he seems to be in the Matrix with no memory of the previous films and just a nagging feeling that something is wrong. I mean, he died in The Matrix Revolutions (2003) so there’s for sure something wrong. He even has a run-in with Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity (who also died in Revolutions); both of them feeling like they should know each other.
There are some new faces joining them this time. Neil Patrick Harris seems to be Neo’s therapist, Jonathan Groff appears as some kind of program working for the Matrix, and Jessica Henwick as someone fighting against the Matrix. There’s also a new face as an old character. It seems like Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is playing a young Morpheus, previously portrayed by Laurence Fishburne in the original trilogy (who – oddly enough – didn’t die in Revolutions). It’s kind of a bummer not to see Fishburne return. If anyone is going to do Morpheus justice, however, it’ll be the extremely talented Abdul-Mateen II.
I’m surprised by how much I’m actually hyped for this film. Although the sequels to The Matrix (1999) were met with a mixed response, I think the world is so engaging and rich that it isn’t impossible to revisit it in an interesting way. And even though the Matrix series is kind of a hodgepodge of cyberpunk and anime ideas, and this is a fourth entry in the series coming 18 years after the last entry, it still feels fresh. Mostly because it isn’t a DC or Marvel comic book property, but also because it looks gorgeous. This isn’t a surprise; the Wachowskis have always pushed the boundaries of visual filmmaking, whether it was The Matrix (1999) or the criminally underrated Speed Racer (2008).
Ultimately, I’m excited to see these characters again, this world again, and how they make the “Neo awakens from the Matrix” fresh again. I’m optimistic that it won’t be a generic rehash. If Lana Wachowski is known for one thing, it sure as hell isn’t playing it safe with the ideas in her films.