Why didn’t I take the blue pill? ‘Matrix: Resurrections’ (Review)


Official movie still

BACK TO THE MATRIX: Keanu Reaves prepares to step back into the roll of Neo after 2 decades. Released in December 22, 2021, the movie leaves us wondering if Reeves should have gone down deeper in the rabbit hole 20 years later.


“I think we can handle one little girl.”

This was the opening line of a franchise revered by many, quoted often, and copied for its iconic fight scenes— The Matrix. Two decades later, we were given another installment, but did we need another?

The story begins by repeating the original opening scene in The Matrix with slight story differences as Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss)  is bested by the agents, and we realize that the whole story is nothing but a program running on repeat. We quickly realize Neo/Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) had created the entire matrix idea as a video game in the matrix–a tactic to keep him in the matrix and to be complacent within the system. 

While this idea is interesting, the only reason this is in the movie is that it provides a sense of comic relief, by having Neo make a fourth matrix game for Warner Bros. Remarks are made about how Warner Bros is just using the fourth game as a money grab and how it ruins the already perfect trilogy that is those games.

This is overall frustrating to listen to because this mirrors exactly what is happening with the movies. Warner Bros. uses this as a super meta-joke that makes the fact they are making another installment okay. Warner Bros. knows exactly what they were doing as they state that the series didn’t need another and yet here we are. Just because you know what you are doing doesn’t make it okay.

As a side story, Morpheus, now played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, rediscovers himself because he gains consciousness in a robot body and is now on a mission to get Neo back out of the Matrix again. In no way does this help the story flow at all and it is just a ploy to explain the methodology of the Matrix for new Matrix movie-goers. The only thing they change is that the way to leave the matrix is through mirrors instead of phones. Phone booths are very rare nowadays, which would have been an interesting plot point because it would be hard to get into the matrix. So instead of it being a great risk to go into the matrix, it is now easy because no matter the size of the mirror you can go into it to escape.

Eventually, Neo wakes from the battery pod once more to go through the same events that were in the original movie and is put on a ship and brought to Io which is literally Zion 2.0 (the original free city). Now a magic cloaking tech allows Neo and the others to hide from the weak robots, which lack enough power to keep going. Also new is an energy war crisis leading to a robot civil war. 

Neo heads back to the matrix, and we meet old faces like Agent Smith now played by Jonathan Goff, and the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) resulting in a lackluster fight in which Neo uses the “force” to end all of his conflicts rather than the expected over the top martial arts. This is a repeated element throughout the story as they didn’t have the time to teach Keanu Reaves new fight choreography leaving viewers without the iconic, over-the-top fight scenes.

Also missing in this installment is the original Matrix scene as Neo bends backward and dodges bullets from an agent, known as bullet-time. Instead, the villain of the movie, the Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris), freezes time to monologue in an attempt to redefine bullet-time. The new definition paled in comparison to the original bullet-time, a projection of Neo’s power to break the rules of the matrix and control destiny.

Official Trailer

The story itself seems to lack character or motivation and feels forced to rely on copied and pasted scenes from the original Matrix movie. Nostalgia-type elements were created to encourage the audience to gloss over plot holes. Opening scenes and Neo dealing with flashbacks of the matrix and his life before being reinserted are high points in the film before it slowly devolves into Neo wandering in Io and plotting to remove Trinity from the matrix for fear that she… might take her kids to soccer practice or go to a café.

Overall, the Matrix could have been done without the addition of this movie as the characters’ progress seem fulfilled and the addition of this movie feels like it takes away from the series. The additional installment dilutes the sacrifices that Trinity and Morpheus made in the originals. The story is chaotic, confusing, and roughly follows what the original trilogy rules. You leave the theater wondering not if you are in the matrix, but instead whether the story made sense. While the first movie made you yearn for the red pill, this one leads us all to ask the question of why, oh why didn’t we take the blue pill?