While The Matrix Resurrections was a very powerful love story, it loses the magic of the original trilogy and ends up being a terrible action movie.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Matrix Resurrections, now in theaters and on HBO Max.
One of the greatest draws of the Matrix movies were the action sequences, which were ahead of the field in the 90s and 2000s. From intense rapid-fire martial arts to riveting car chases, to incredible bullet time sequences, the Wachowskis have refreshed the genre of science fiction. Unfortunately, while The Matrix Resurrections was indeed a very powerful love story, it loses much of the charm of the original trilogy by being a terrible action movie.
In terms of depth and philosophy, this new film went beyond the usual themes of consumerism, capitalism, and how the internet is just one huge dark network. This time it’s much more nuanced and poetic in how Neo (Keanu Reeves) can’t let Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) be a drum machine for the machines to use. Either way, he won’t give up on her because he discovered that their souls are two lights linked to the digital and real worlds.
This is something the previous films lacked as it simply used the Oracle to suggest to Neo that they were destined together. In Resurrections, he knew that saving the woman he loved was more important than the mission against the machines. Unfortunately, director Lana Wachowski sacrificed a lot of time on this romantic angle, relegating the fight sequences to rudimentary, mundane brawls.
From the opening sequence, audiences paid homage to Trinity’s fight against the first film’s agents, including that chilling kick, but as the film progressed it became a lot of recycling. Meanwhile, Neo’s fight with Smith more or less copied everything from their battle at the train station, and Neo overdid it with his telekinetic powers; while training with him and Morpheus didn’t have standout moments like when they first met.
The movie just lost that kung fu movie essence, which was a big part of the fabric of the original series, carving out choreography we’ve seen recently in movies like The Winter Soldier Where John Wick. Even when they did happen, the execution didn’t happen, because it was a ton of convoluted flips, crawls, and overused ball time. The Matrix Reloadedfor example, showed how to balance all of this when Neo battled the Smiths’ army, as well as the exiles of the Merovingians.
However, when the latter’s rematch happened here, there were no distinct moves or anything iconic. Instead of, Resurrections didn’t have that grip that the old movies had, as the first one honed the scope and gave fans substance as well as style. This came to fruition with the cinematography, which showed the intimacy and detail of close combat, adding character and personality to the warriors.
Resurrections, however, was overly obsessed with flair and grandeur, opting to use Neo’s Jedi Force thrust over and over again to crush enemies. Unfortunately, it felt superficial, lacking the cinematic magic of yesteryear. In the end, rubbing off that ingenuity and inventiveness from previous films, Resurrections lacked creative problem solving in combat, which took away so much heart and soul that was present in spades decades ago.
See how the love angle works well, but the action sequences fall flat in The Matrix Resurrections, now in theaters and on HBO Max.
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