January 22, 2022

The Matrix Resurrections (2021)
Grade: 47/100

Director: Lana Wachowski
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

How I felt about it. Admittedly, I did not have any interest in watching this movie, and only did so because I live with much younger people who did want to see it. I expected the movie to be more bad than good.
And it was about what I had expected: a bogus, incomprehensible plot; expensive-looking special effects; and uninteresting characters. As is often the case with sequels of franchise movies, the focus is on re-introducing the beloved characters from prior films. Aside from a slew of young techies who practically worship Keanu Reeves, all that is new is Neil Patrick Harris, who is at least snarky in his I'm Evil schtick.

There is no shortage of dialogue, but what folks want to see are cool fight scenes. And of course they get them. Reeves and girlfriend Moss end up kicking everyone's ass, but along the way they get into a lot of trouble and have to put up with trash talk from Smith and the Analyst.

How others will see it. Although only recently released, The Matrix Resurrections has been already been nominated for a pile of festival awards. But they are not for Best Actor (as if) or Best Screenplay. No, they are predominantly for the special effects and stunts. The Hawaii Film Critics Society nominated it for Worst Film of the Year, then spurned their gained credibility by also nominating it for Best Sci-Fi Film. It seems lost on them that they can't have it both ways.

At imdb.com, the film has 170K user votes, a healthy number, but the user ratings are fairly low: only 5.7 out of 10. Surprisingly, there is no generation gap: it is a minor dud among all ages. Women grade it somewhat higher than men, 6.2 versus 5.7, and older women grade it highest of all, 6.4. This may be because they have a maternal affection for Keanu Reeves, or appreciate his character's devotion to Carrie-Anne Moss.

The user reviews are all over the map. Some call it a money grab, others a rehash. There seems little interest in the new characters, not even the eye candy of Nick Jonas' wife. People do notice that Morpheus and Smith have been recast. Some fans of the franchise are indeed impressed with Lego Morpheus, or Reeves sending out a big shock wave when Hulk Gets Mad, or something like that.

What it's about. What if the first three Matrix movies were just video games designed by Keanu Reeves? That is the opening premise. But Reeves is glum about a fourth Matrix game. He is also burdened by annoying shrink Neil Patrick-Harris. He re-meets Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and the two have a platonic relationship reminiscent of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but with less entertaining leads. Moss is saddled with a husband and young kids, but of course it is only a matter of time until she ditches them for adventures with Reeves. They are just software programs anyway.

Multi-ethnic young adult Avatar-style heroes and heroines worship Reeves, and rescue him from his life as a depressed video game designer. Their common enemy is again the Matrix. Reeves decides he wants to rescue his would-be girlfriend, Moss, as well. As the couple attempts to leave the Matrix, the Matrix fights back, but no worries. Reeves and Moss will be just fine, since they are needed for Matrix V: Morpheus Shaves His Head.