THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS Review: You'll Wish You Could Go Back And Take The Blue Pill

Neo and Trinity return for The Matrix Resurrections, as director Lana Wachowski goes full meta while forgetting to deliver a half-way original or engaging story.

The Matrix is still (rightfully) hailed as one of the most groundbreaking, influential sci-fi movies of all time. Its sequels, Reloaded and Revolutions, have their defenders, but are generally looked at as inferior follow-ups.

Now, Lana Wachowski (Lilly decided not to co-direct this time) returns for a fourth instalment, The Matrix Resurrections, which fans are hoping will manage to recapture some of the magic of that first film. Unfortunately, this laborious effort never even comes close.

Like so many big studio releases these days, it's very difficult to discuss Resurrections without giving away any plot details, so there will be some mild spoilers here - but nothing that wasn't revealed or at least strongly hinted at in the trailers.

The story begins with a recreation of the opening scene of The Matrix (there's a lot of that), as several agents close in on a woman who looks a lot like Trinity. As the leather-clad lady does her thing and takes out the men in black, one of the agents (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) has a moment of clarity when he encounters an observer names Bugs (Jessica Henwick) who believes Neo (Keanu Reeves) is still alive. The agent - now revealed to be Morpheus (kinda) - takes the red pill, and the pair make their escape.

We then jump to the "real world," where Thomas Anderson (Reeves) works as a world-famous video game developer, known for a best-selling trilogy (can you guess what it's called?). His shrink (Neil Patrick Harris) keeps him on a steady diet of blue pills for what he believes to be psychotic episodes, but is his unexplained connection to the woman named Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) he meets in a coffee shop part of a delusion, or something more?

The Matrix Resurrections:' First reactions are in - CNN

In this first act, Wachowski goes full meta and seizes the opportunity to take a few digs at major studio IP, the unoriginality of sequels, and audiences' insatiable desire to be bombarded with more of the same over and over again. It works, for the most part... until her unoriginal sequel fully embraces its IP and bombards us with more of the same.

Maybe that's the point, but it doesn't really matter: Resurrections treads over far too much old ground while introducing only a smattering of new elements, none of which are particularly interesting. As the movie progresses, it descends into a series of increasingly drawn-out scenes with a bunch of characters standing around spouting banal, painfully tedious dialogue at each other. The headache-inducing claptrap is occasionally livened-up by some reasonably well-executed action sequences (which might have been exciting if there were any stakes, or we gave a damn about any of the characters), but even they start to grate as we lurch towards a conclusion that can't come quick enough.

The only thing Resurrections has going for it - and this may well be enough for some - is its central pairing of Neo and Trinity. Reeves and Moss are both on top form here, and their scenes together are the closest this movie comes to being emotionally engaging. How did they return after being killed-off in Revolutions? We are actually given an explanation, but it makes very little sense, and the more you think about the implications of what's supposed to have happened, the more ridiculous the whole thing seems.

The Matrix Resurrections is a disappointingly safe, surprisingly dull endeavour that squanders a fine cast and an opportunity to bring fans a worthy follow-up to the superb original. The central romance between Neo and Trinity works well enough, but even then it's hard to care with so much mediocrity going on around them. You'll wish you could go back and take the blue pill.

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