Some 20 years after the first film in The Matrix trilogy shattered the collective psyche with its red vs blue pill conundrum, we once again see Keanu Reeves returning to the role of Thomas Anderson/Neo. This time around Thomas is back in the “real world” living out his life as a famous video game creator. However, the facade of this happy reality is about to be shattered.

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The Matrix Resurrections kicks off with an opening act which is very self-deprecating and fourth-wall-breaking. This works very well as an opening to a much-loved trilogy, after such a long break between releases. Once the film moves past this point, the nostalgia diminishes, and the plot becomes a little bogged down in exposition.

Trans Allegory Woven Into Its Fabric

Visually, the original trilogy and this new instalment could not be more contrasting. The first trio of films were dark, cold, and lit only with artificial blue light, whereas The Matrix Resurrections is bright, colourful, warm, and littered with beams of natural sunlight. All of which seems to play into the trans allegory that Lana Wachowski has woven into the fabric of these films. Given that Lana only transitioned after the original trilogy, this latest entry feels like a celebration of her finding peace with her true self.

As a heterosexual man, the trans allegory was perhaps lost on me, while watching the original trilogy as a teenager. However, while watching The Matrix Resurrections with this theory in mind and analysing the film through that lens, the subtle nuances are all there, specifically using light and colour. But they do not end there.

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Across the four films, Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) are core pillars for the story, only together are they able to achieve greatness. During The Matrix Resurrections, we see the power dynamic between these two characters switch from the male Neo to female Trinity, perhaps another reference to Lana Wachowski’s own transition.

Lana Wachowski. Image: Facebook

Overall, The Matrix Resurrections feels like a fresh and enjoyable re-entry point to the world of The Matrix. The film has all the action-packed fight sequences, riddled with copious bullet-time moments, visually stunning cinematography, and a thumping soundtrack. But perhaps most of all, this film feels like it brings more depth, nuance, and meaning to a franchise that now spans two decades.

The Matrix Resurrections easily takes second spot in the rankings of The Matrix franchise, after the first of course.

★★★★

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