Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss) are taking us back behind the green pixelated curtain of The Matrix – or are they?
The opening is familiar, with shape shifting agents bringing us that feeling of déjà vu – we’ve seen this before. The action comes on quickly and introduces a new blue-haired character, Bugs (Jessica Henwick). Reminiscent of the blue pill-seeking bugs from the first film, she is tracking Neo in The Matrix. She runs on walls, evading bullets from the agents, immersing us in cyberpunk nostalgia. When she finds Neo, she symbolically evolves into the white rabbit he has to follow (complete with a bunny tattoo).
Cue the music. “White Rabbit” plays while a creative team brainstorms how to bring the new generation into the Matrix. Meanwhile, Thomas Anderson (Neo) is contemplative and sorting through an illusion of choices. The scene is executed well, as characters recite quips of self-awareness, breaking through the fourth wall. Remember what the dormouse said?
Jonathan Groff portrays a new Agent Smith, which is slightly distracting. Not because he isn’t good at it, but because Smith’s face is such an iconic Matrix image. Another Broadway star, Neil Patrick Harris joins in as The Analyst, who is trying to help Neo distinguish between reality and fiction. However, as the main antagonist, his character falls short of being pivotal.
The performance by Yayah Abdul-Mateen II as Morpheus is very slick, he fits a good mold. However, the writing doesn’t allow the same leadership and spiritual motivation that we got in the first Matrix. Too many minutes are spent over-explaining, especially with Niobe (Jada Pinkett). Her narrative drags on on and on. When they aren’t talking at us, they play clips from the first film. It feels desperate, attempting to connect a new audience to this fragmented plot.
Ultimately The Matrix Resurrections is a love story, with Neo trying to reach Trinity again. It’s entertaining without being too twisted, but needs less talk-more groundbreaking action. Carrie-Ann Moss is still a badass.