First things first, just to get it out of the way, Matrix Resurrections was a disappointment, 6/10. What makes it more disappointing is the sheer amount of hype towards its release; I mean, what could go wrong? Just like HBO’s blunder with the final episode Game of Thrones, Matrix Resurrections suffered the same fate. Resurrections had a strong start; I was left shocked by how Neo was still alive and somehow reintegrated back in the Matrix. In case you forgot, he was practically lifeless at the end of the 3rd Matrix movie, Revolutions, after having defeated Mr. Smith.
Trinity too was dead, who was punctured fatally by steel rods after she crashed a hovercraft enroute to the Machine City. If you remember at the end of Revolutions, it appeared that a new Matrix was coming into being, as many programs, including The Oracle, were to be purged, while some would survive. Neo and Trinity were a part of this new Matrix, which was updated to include the modern era of tech we have today (much more powerful computers and smartphones). Of course, they did not 100% retain their previous identities, though their previous memories definitely surfaced from time to time.
Neo was kept in check by a therapist, who convinced Neo that his memories were part of a dangerous fiction that were merely channeled in his creation of the game Matrix (Yes, Neo is a game designer in this Matrix). Trinity on the other hand was somehow a wife to a husband and two children. Anyways, Neo was finally able to break free just enough, eventually to be extracted by youngsters. Agent Smith makes his reappearance, albeit with a totally new appearance (he was reforged just as Neo and Trinity were), and also happens to remember his past life. “Morpheus” also shows up, though as a completely new character, a program.
Not being able to cast Laurence Fishburne definitely contributed to that. Nevertheless, seeing as the changed so much, the story wasn’t necessarily lost, yet. As Neo is finally freed, that is he wakes up from his pod, we are shocked with two visuals: Neo is a totally different looking pod, one that is much larger, and is only accompanied by a similarly looking pod, which belongs to Trinity. The other visual is that he’s being saved by two machines, each with a unique appearance. He’s finally carried into a hovercraft; much to our sadness, Trinity isn’t rescued.
Finally, he’s taken to a city, but it’s not Zion. It’s known as Io, and is led by Niobe, the manual hovercraft pilot in Revolutions, and she’s much older than we last saw her. Thing is, Neo has been missing for over 40 years (can’t remember if it was 60 instead). It’s also revealed that in this new city, after Neo had saved humanity in Revolutions, that certain machines known as Synthients (and programs) are friendlies. This is quite a contrast from the original Matrix trilogy, as machines were always seen as evil (newsflash: Animatrix reveals it was humans that began the war against the machines in the first place).
Neo had begun a surprising Era of peace. With that, there was also a civil war within the machines; since in the Matrix their primary energy source is from humans, more freed humans=less energy, leading to the machines fighting amongst each other. Anyways, Neo obviously wants to free Trinity. Go back to the Matrix it is! We see an epic fight scene with the Frenchman’s henchmen from Reloaded/Revolutions, who had all survived the purge, and Agent Smith. Neo and his team win, though with too much effort, as the team wants to bail. They still go for Trinity anyway, and it doesn’t go well.
The therapist, who is actually known as The Analyst, proves himself to be formidable. He is able to slow down time, even against Neo. He also reveals how Neo and Trinity are alive, and what for; they were resurrected (rebuilt), and because Neo and Trinity, together, were able to generate tremendous amounts of energy, which is why it was such a pain to save Neo, and for Trinity to even be considered. Neo is forced to leave. From this point on, this is where the movie takes a turn for the worst.
Sati, the little Indian girl from the trilogy, is all grown up now and has a plan to save Trinity, all because her dad was involved in making the contraption for Neo and Trinity (of which he shared the plans to her). Resurrections details this plan in an overused format, of which the plan is acted out simultaneously while being discussed. Whatever. Ultimately, Trinity is saved; but before, during, and after, we’re met with weak fight scenes. Most of the enemies are zombie like, and are either gunned down, or met with Neo using the force. Agent Smith makes an appearance to disrupt the Analyst, then just disappears for the rest of the movie.
Neo and Trinity get close to dying, but Trinity flies, woo-hoo! And that’s it. Afterwards, they finally get to meet in the real world (yay!), then shortly afterwards, they’re back in the Matrix, and confront the Analyst. This was a very weak scene, as the Analyst, who was presented as a formidable villain, is now a pathetic weakling all of a sudden. Neo and Trinity say they’re going to redesign the Matrix, then they both fly towards the screen. It was a much cringey and corny ending. Worse yet, despite there still being about 15 minutes remaining after the credits roll, there were no notable post credit scenes (there is one, but it contributes nothing and you’re better off not wasting time to see it), and no certainty of whether or not there would be another Matrix movie.
All these new elements of friendly machines, friendly programs that can manifest in the real world, a new Agent Smith, Neo and Trinity’s resurrection, the city of Io (which also has plants and an artificial sky!), I was utterly disappointed the film never got to going more in depth about these. Did I mention Io? It is the successor to Zion, which fatally collapsed following the original Morpheus’s appointment to council leader, who led Zion into death because he believed the machines would never kill them (recall the machine civil war).
Matrix Resurrections ended up being a shit show. They should’ve just taken the time to make it a two-part movie, so that all of these new aspects could be integrated in the film appropriately. And being the Matrix, I could have done without the romantic comedy cliches, or feeling the need to make it feel like a Deadpool movie, or the zombies of the Matrix (they were referred to as the “swarm”). First half felt like there was originality, and they reversed all of that afterwards. But at least there’s two openly gay actors, Jonathan Groff (as Smith) and Neil Patrick Harris (as the Analyst)!