The John Wick hairstyle doesn’t take away the nostalgia and visual appeal in the Matrix.
In “The Matrix Resurrections,” when Keanu Reeves isn’t in the Matrix, he looks like Neo, but when he’s inside, he look’s like John Wick. This has left fans in question about why he has to look more like John Wick and not Neo. They may be played by the same actor, but still.
This would be the first “Matrix” entry since “The Matrix Revolutions” back in 2003, when fans were mixed about its execution. And it’s also directed by just Lana Wachowski, in her first entry since the bombastic and idiotic “Jupiter Ascending” back in 2015. This movie doesn’t compare with the original from 1999 or “The Matrix Reloaded,” also from 2003, because we don’t really know why Jonathan Groff has to replace Hugo Weaving’s Smith character, why Neo has to look like John Wick, as I’ve mentioned, and the story gets convoluted at times. And yet, I’m giving it a good review, because it’s just a complicated, wacky, nostalgic, and visually stunning B-movie of a sequel that I found really entertaining.
The story finds Neo (Keanu Reeves) in San Francisco, under his original name Thomas Anderson, and now a game designer working with Smith (Groff) as business partners. He takes the blue pills under his therapist’s (Neil Patrick Harris) prescription, makes the video game based on the events of his life (which he didn’t remember he had, but it starts to come back to him), and reunites with Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), none of whom recognize each other. In fact, she’s programed with the name Tiffany, and a family to take care of.
Then, he comes across an alternate version of Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), since the Laurence Fishburne one is dead, and a computer hacker named Bugs (Jessica Henwick), who both start to remind him about his life in the Matrix.
He’s taken to their hidden world, run by the now elderly general Niobe (Jada Pinkett-Smith, disguised by make-up), who has to imprison him for his own protection. He still knows Trinity is still alive inside of Tiffany, and must free her. That’s when Morpheus busts him out, and that’s when Neo begins to see the bigger picture.
I’ve already mentioned some of the implausibilities in “The Matrix Resurrections,” but you have to admire how Wachowski is able to keep the spirit alive with his/her (because Andy become Lana) faithfulness to his/her material. The visual world of the Matrix is something to behold, especially its use of CGI, stunt work, and production design. There’s a scene when the police, vehicles, and people are attacking the streets of San Francisco, which looks great. It takes place near the end, but it almost reminds me of the riots at the end of “Joker.” And the Sci-Fi visual world is much more affective than how the Wachowskis presented space in “Jupiter Ascending.” I just hope those sex change operations didn’t do numbers on the siblings. With all respect.
It can be confusing with the real and virtual worlds, because you need to know what is real and fake, but the ways Reeves and Anne-Moss have been able to thrive on them really proves their character’s chemistry. Abdul-Mateen II doesn’t compare to Fishburne, but as an alternate version, he has his style. And Harris proves to be more than meets the eye as the therapist.
Parts of me didn’t like “The Matrix Resurrections,” but the other parts of me wanted to see more of how Neo would survive the 2020s. It’s much better looking picture of its kind than “Reminiscence,” which failed to combine “Inception” with “The Maltese Falcon.” It’s a campy sequel, and a fun one at that.
I’ll leave it up to you fans: take the blue pill and you can believe whatever you want to or take the red pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
In Theaters and Streaming on HBO Max Tomorrow