*A few details in here for sure…
To find out if his reality is a physical or mental construct, Mr. Anderson, aka Neo, will have to choose to follow the white rabbit once more. If he’s learned anything, it’s that choice, while an illusion, is still the only way out of — or into — the Matrix. Neo already knows what he has to do, but what he doesn’t yet know is that the Matrix is stronger, more secure and far more dangerous than ever before.
“I still know Kung Fu.”
If you know anything about me, you know THE MATRIX is one of the most important movies in my life. It set me on the path to where I am today in my love of cinema. I even wrote about it last year when I was doing the 30 day challenge. So seeing Lana Wachowski plug us back in after all this time, I was skeptical. It obviously could be a money grab, but I was hoping she had a good story to tell if she was coming back. What is interesting is we kind of got both because the movie is dramatically split into two parts, one part smart and interesting, and the other part feeling like a cheap money grab.
Starting with the first half of the movie, I thought this was the perfect way to bring back something like The Matrix. Super Meta, and commenting on everything that has happened in the last 20 years. It is like what Space Jam 2 did, but actually competent and interesting. The script keeps you genuinely confused because you know the characters are in the Matrix somehow, but you have no clue really what is happening and why Trinity and Neo don’t remember each other. All of that is really fun and different and keeps you on your toes. It is when we go down the rabbit hole that the movie loses a step or two.
That second half of the movie really mirrors everything that hurt the sequels to the original. A dull version of the characters, villains that are not really villainous, and a conclusion that feels like it is missing something. I get that they felt they needed to please Matrix fans with nostalgia, but unlike NO WAY HOME, the fan service felt shoved in rather than built in through solid narrative. And the worst sin the movie make is that it does not even feel like an action movie. Even if you do not like Reloaded or Revolutions, you cannot deny both of them have at least some incredible action scenes. So to have this hardly even represent what The Matrix was and to not even have Neo shoot a gun was a bold and strange choice.
Stock Neutral – Keanu Reeves
Do I even need to say anything here? The guy is a legend, BILL AND TED, JOHN WICK, SPEED, POINT BREAK, and on and on, he continues to be one of our great stars.
Stock Up – Carrie-Anne Moss
She has not been in a movie in 4 years, so her stock has to be up. I think she is fine in this but she has been great in a lot of things in the past. I would love to see more of her and I do think this will be a springboard for more big screen roles in the future.
Stock Up – Jessica Henwick
We have talked about her a bunch in the last few years with movies like UNDERWATER, ON THE ROCKS, LOVE AND MONSTERS, and more. I love that she brings a different energy to everything, and was the only new character in this story that felt like she belonged in The Matrix universe.
*A couple other tidbits
- I always talk about my love for Yahya Abdul-Mateen but living up to Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus was always going to be a tough task.
- Jonathan Groff is great but he is extremely miscast here in my opinion.
- It is weird to see Neil Patrick Harris try to play menacing.
This movie definitely has me torn, because there is a lot of good stuff and interesting ideas that I like. The back half just frustrated me, it felt like an NBA player who you see has all the potential in the world, and just does not use any of it. I think it is worth watching for sure, but I do not think we need more of these movies at this point.
*You can find my 2021 Movie Rankings here.
*You can find my Wachowski Rankings here.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.
*You can follow my Letterboxd account here.