Eighteen years after Matrix Revolutions, Lana Wachowski returns to The Matrix – without her sister Lilly – to stage the fourth installment of the saga, titled Matrix Resurrections. Including in the cast Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jonathan Groff or Priyanka Chopra, this one plunges us back into two parallel realities, that of our daily life and that of the world hidden there, where a certain Thomas Anderson can be found …
Never say never… If in 2003, the Wachowskis drew a line on The Matrix at the end of a diptych which, even today, has its followers and its detractors, this was not the case of Warner Bros – satisfied with the financial success of the franchise. So, in an industry that gives pride of place to sequels, reboots and other rehashes, it was only a matter of time before the studio reconnected the matrix for new virtual adventures. In the works for a few years, this idea of extending the saga finally materialized – with the endorsement of Lana Wachowski, who decided to re-emerge, accompanied by Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. If the presence of part of the original team was reassuring at first glance, does it really mean quality? What is the real approach of the director with this fourth opus?
Going back to the source is a very curious undertaking for a person who has never looked back on her work and who has never ceased to evolve – just like her sister – in her professional and private life. So the question naturally arises: Why Matrix Resurrections? A relevant question, which is also the heart of the feature film, well intended to take the viewer from behind to better unfold his manifesto on the creative process. As an arsonist firefighter, Lana Wachowski strikes the match and sets fire to the powder, destroying her work to show us that the truth is elsewhere. A double-edged act of scuttling, so much does one wonder if we are facing a hoax or a stroke of genius. The answer is clear, the two cases are exact, these oscillations making the force of this episode definitely apart. Criticism of a Hollywood that no longer seeks to renew itself, leading it to take over the reins of a franchise that has been shelved for almost two decades, the director settles accounts with Warner and is busy unraveling in Matrix code rule, for a result that is surprising to say the least.
Better than Resurrections, the subtitle which sums up the state of mind of the film is Illusioni perdute Film Completo, so much do we feel the cold anger of the co-creator of this cyberpunk universe, disillusioned in the face of a machinery much more powerful than itself, seeking precisely to lull in this nostalgic chimera which is the prerogative of many productions lately. Before tackling her ambition to reunite the flagship couple of Matrix, an outlet process serving to alleviate the pain inherent in mourning (the sisters lost their parents in 2019), Lana Wachowski puts her foot in the dish, playing on this notion of free will to reconnect us to the matrix and kick things off. The result is a shutter in two distinct parts, with a first hour devoted to parodying what was the essence of the saga and the pressure from the studios to achieve their ends. Meta winks and fan-service come together for a trip into the matrix where sarcasm as well as the second degree are in order, in order to underline the vanity of this company to achieve a Matrix 4. Confusing, this foray between dreams and reality gives its cachet to this shutter, whatever one might think.
This anarchic bias has as many qualities as it does flaws, but it has the merit of presenting us with a Thomas Anderson / Neo-washed, under the influence of this famous blue pill. The one who was thought to be the Chosen One is here clearly at his disadvantage, supporting this feeling of disenchantment that reigns supreme – with a hero who is only a shadow of himself, becoming a disembodied being, trapped in this 2.0 matrix. When the mirror warps and the real world recalls our central character, Matrix Resurrections reclaims its mythology and plays with déjà vu to remind us of the essential: love transcends everything. Building bridges between past and present, the feature film honors the flagship duo formed by Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss – namely Neo and Trinity – whose passion fuels the second part of this sequel. If we could regret that little room is given to the new elements introduced – only the character of Bugs (played by the excellent Jessica Henwick) or even the one played by Neil Patrick Harris standing out – this tribute to the feeling of love does not mismatch with what we have known previously in Matrix. It also allows Lana Wachoswki to continue her enterprise of mass destruction, sentimentalism taking precedence over action, for a leap into the ball on her part in the sense that even the climax is anything but spectacular. Fans of the franchise’s long spine-tingling fight sequences, masterfully choreographed by Yuen Woo-ping, won’t get their money’s worth – nor will those who enjoy bullet-time.
All the codes of Matrix are seen here deconstructed, symbolizing the director’s desire to break her toy but also to underline its evolution. The spirit of Sense8 is felt on the screen, since in addition to the presence of a small part of its cast, the intimate staging of the series created by the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski is found in Resurrections with a camera more posed and a natural photograph without artifice. What clashes with its predecessors and should also divide. A point of contention which is also understandable, because it must be admitted, the action does not seem to be Lana’s forte, especially the wrestling scenes where the shots are hesitant, stammering – diminishing their quality. A voluntary or unconscious choice? All the cards are on the table. The only certainty, in the midst of this blasting in order, the undeniable chemistry between Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss who manage to stand in the heart of its ruins to carry the film and give it extra soul.
A true hacker, Lana Wachowski catches everyone off guard by hacking the matrix to better expose a system resting on its laurels and sacrificing creativity on the altar of profit. The result is Matrix Resurrections, a fourth installment that takes pleasure in defying expectations, deconstructing what was the essence of the saga in order to criticize the industry’s lack of originality. A daredevil approach, which is both brilliant and absurd, enough to leave many people wary of this rereading. Designed to divide audiences, the feature film is brilliantly successful in turning our brains around and questioning us about the unidentified film object we just watched.