The Matrix Resurrections (HBOMax / In Theaters)

No spoilers but maybe come back to this after you’ve seen the movie.

There is a weight to The Matrix movies, a visceral density the saturates nearly every frame. The audio hearty in bass, punches thud deeply following the whir of flying fists and feet. The colors shift, robbed of reds, and heavier in green while “in-Matrix”, blue “IRL”. There is also an overwhelming cacophony of details in any given shot, the perception that cables, wires and clutter reach infinitely beyond what we can see on screen before us. We could drown in the vastness of the minutiae.

The joy of The Matrix isn’t just a convoluted plot line, or the fight scenes or the music or the visuals… it’s is the sum of them all, while each ground breaking in their own right. The Matrix is an experience to be lost within.

The Matrix Resurrections is a wildly different movie than its predecessors. I went in anticipating an update to the vision, texture and technology, two decades in the making. What I experienced was something else entirely, something much less. The signature weight, meatiness, of it all was gone. It’s clean… too clean, and sparse. The visual effects were dialed so far down that it honestly feels like a made-for-TV mini series that had its episodes stitched together. And stitched on a budget that looks like a mere fraction of its history making lineage. Resurrections spent most of its time paying homage to the earlier films, then sets up a low trajectory for new episodes to follow. If the goal of #4 was an intro to fan films breaking into the franchise on shoe-string budgets in an attempt to cast a critical eye on “binary-isms” of our current political and social climate, then mission accomplished. But it really comes across like an ugly hack, a misappropriation of an archetype bent awkwardly into a theme for the moment. Culminating in a scene that is so preachy that it practically stops the movie to point a judgmental finger at half the audience. I didn’t feel judged, I just wasn’t sure where in the world this was going.

If the Matrix movies were like pizza, we went from cinematic equivalents of gourmet to freezer burned mass production box pies. And after waiting nearly 20 years, my pallet was not expecting what it was served. Overall disappointing.