Resurrections’ is the anti-sequel meta that stands out from its predecessors – The Seahawk

“The Matrix: Resurrections” is the latest entry in the “The Matrix” franchise since the last two films released in 2003. The original 1999 film is hailed as one of the greatest science fiction films ever to be made. The revival features returning cast and crews including Keanu Reeves and director / writer Lana Wachowski, as well as new additions, such as stars Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris. The fourth installment has generated a lot of anticipation from fans of the long-dormant franchise. The film rekindles nostalgia and introduces new elements to the canon, despite being a very different film from its predecessors that will inevitably leave fans divided.

The Matrix itself is a computer simulation that was built in the aftermath of mankind’s war with an army of machines, which left the earth as a decaying wasteland. The series is known for its timeless themes, namely those relating to free will and anti-capitalism, as well as its authentic martial arts combat sequences and stunning visual effects. The franchise stems from a wide range of influences, such as cyberpunk anime like “Akira” and “Ghost in The Shell” and the philosophical treatise “Simulacra and Simulation”. The sequels lean more towards the action and world-building aspects as the philosophical themes have been moved back slightly, which has earned them a less favorable reception from the critics. Despite the shortcomings of the sequels, the franchise has a strong fan base as the series takes a transmedia method of storytelling through movies, video games, and comics.

An image from “The Matrix Resurrections” (2021). (Lana Wachowski / Warner Bros.)

“Resurrections” takes place sixty years after the conclusion of “Revolutions” and introduces us to Neo (Reeves), as he leads a seemingly ordinary life as Thomas Anderson in San Francisco. Without any recollection of his past in previous films, Neo must determine if his current reality is a new construction within the Matrix, or if the Matrix is ​​truly his imagination. In his search for the truth, he meets a new version of his mentor Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), crosses paths with his former lover Trinity (Carrie-AnneMoss), and meets a rebel leader known as Bugs (Jessica Henwick). As the shadows of the past reveal themselves, Neo faces a powerful new foe.

At first glance, the movie looks like Warner Bros. which simply treats the franchise and its brand, but comes across more as an anti-sequel when viewed. The film reflects the original in its thematic explorations and the question of reality, but it takes a meta approach. Existentialism is still a core theme of The Matrix, but “Resurrections” takes on modern Hollywood’s fascination with reboots and remakes. This review is a big part of the film’s first act, as the original trilogy exists as a video game franchise within the new matrix simulation, with Anderson as the series’ game developer. Anderson is forced by his business partner Smith (Jonathan Groff) to develop a fourth Matrix video game, although he has no more ideas for developing a new story. The Matrix is ​​intellectual property defined by the creative imprint of the Wachowski siblings and Warner Bros. There have been rumors of attempts revive the franchise over the years without the involvement of siblings, but the film makes it clear that the duo want to have a creative grip on the series for as long as possible. It also appears to be recognition of how any upcoming entry will live up to the original film, which carries an incomparable spirit. However, the way the message is conveyed through the dialogue is not exactly subtle or made as smart as it could be. While the original trilogy used multi-level dialogue, the “Resurrections” dialogue is blatant and obviously aimed at a mass audience.

Keanu Reeves and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in “The Matrix Resurrections” (2021). (Lana Wachowski / Warner Bros.)

The movie is always sure to please fans who are interested in the world-building aspect. Despite its futuristic setting, the franchise’s transition to a modern tech landscape feels as natural as the actual transition from the 90s to the present day. The film removes the technological aesthetic of the original, like payphones and floppy disks, and updates it to current reality innovations like virtual reality and smartphones. Seeing the canon extended slightly and reintroducing fan-favorite characters creates a nostalgic feeling, while also pointing in an interesting direction, if there are other installments.

The film adds even more credibility to the original’s status as an irreplaceable product of its time. While some of the aforementioned technological innovations have actually made things easier for us, it also makes things too easy for the protagonists. As we remember, Neo’s race to the phone booth with agents chasing him is one of the most tense scenes in the original film. Compared to the original’s “Resurrections” grand finale with explosions, superpowers, and a host of reinforcements, that feels too over the top and predictable. This movie indulges too much in the grand spectacle and simplicity for its characters, as there aren’t many scenes that make us feel like they’re really in danger.

The film’s action sequences are visually stunning at times, but they lack the naturalistic and practical feel of its predecessors. The authentic fight scenes from the originals are by martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping. Its directing saw the actors perform their own stunts during the fight sequences, of little use for a double, as their movements were reminiscent of what we would see in classic Hong Kong martial arts movies. In contrast, the fight sequences in this movie are sometimes hard to discern, as there are too many brief close-ups that cut out too quickly. The intensity and weight of the fight scenes is missing from this film, as it seems more attention is paid to the meta-themes and the storyline.

Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix Resurrections” (2021). (Lana Wachowski / Warner Bros.)

Despite a few flaws, this film’s biggest draw is the return of the stars: Reeves and Moss. The relationship between Neo and Trinity is a defining part of the trilogy and is further developed in this film. As the philosophy behind The Matrix is ​​the main draw of the series, Neo and Trinity were never fully developed characters with deep motivations, but it was the performances of the two stars that refined the characters and made them favorites. fans. Reeves continues to showcase Neo’s stoic nature and imbue an ordinary man quality into the character. Interestingly, as Reeves is defined by the tough character of John Wick in recent memory, he falls back on a more rocked performance style comparable to the first Matrix movie, when Neo learned the secrets of the Matrix. While Trinity leads an ordinary life as Tiffany for most of her screen time, the best aspects of Moss’ performance come in the third act. Moss retains the character ruggedness that makes her character stand alongside Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor as one of the most iconic female heroes in the sci-fi genre. Moss portrays both Trinity’s rugged side in the face of adversaries and emotional vulnerability in the romantic scenes she shares with Reeves. The film shows that the two co-stars still share a chemistry after 18 years, despite the brevity of their scenes together.

“The Matrix Resurrections” doesn’t pick up on the plot and mystery of the 1999 film, but it recognizes it in a meta way and shows it’s still a world to explore. The film will divide longtime fans, but it stands out as an interesting take on the Matrix Canon.

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