While watching (and waiting) for The Matrix Resurrections to become an engrossing movie, I slowly began to realize that it would never turn into one. Where the previous entries in the series managed to explain what was happening throughout exciting action sequences, this movie spends nearly two of its two-and-a-half hour run time explaining things. (The movie really should have been titled: The Matrix Explanations.) The obvious question, namely how and why Neo and Trinity are still alive, isn’t answered until two-thirds of the way in. Before we get the answer to that question, there’s much to explain.
We’re told that the previous movies were essentially video games that Thomas Anderson (a.k.a. Neo, Keanu Reeves) created, which in turn caused him to have a mental breakdown. In the present, there’s a new crew of revolutionaries that want to extract Neo from the Matrix again. (The reasons for which are explained, but really don’t make much sense.) Unfortunately, thanks to his Analyst (Neal Patrick Harris), Neo doesn’t think that any of that Matrix stuff was ever actually real. Along the way Neo meets the New Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a program Neo created for a purpose that’s somehow never explained.
An hour of screen time in, Neo is finally extracted from his pod of goo. Plenty of explanations follow. What happened after Neo saved everyone? What happened to Zion? What happened to the Machines? What happened to Old Morpheus? What’s up with Agent Smith? When not explaining what happened between the previous sequel and this one, Wachowski gleefully cribs from her own movies. Classic scenes are threaded throughout, and new characters recite dialog given by characters from the previous movies. Both of which are pointless because, honestly, nobody who would see this movie would not already be familiar with the previous three.
While the quality of previous three entries in this franchise dropped off dramatically, they at least involved big stakes. Resurrections boils down to reuniting Neo and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), which may be a nice romantic notion but is such a small-stakes goal that it renders this movie trite in comparison with the others. The Matrix may have been resurrected, but the reasons why anyone cared in the first place has been forgotten in the intervening 18 years. Not Recommended.