(Massive spoilers ahead. This is your only warning.)

1. A few choices confuse, but overall the story is as weird and sly as one hopes.

I don’t love the last quarter of The Matrix Resurrections but really loved everything else. I applaud the attempt to get resolution with character decisions rather than solely punches and bullets, but some of how it resolved was lackluster (so Smith is still hiding in the Matrix at the end?) or confusing (why is The Analyst calling Trinity a b*tch?).

The central scheme holds up to scrutiny. Leaning how The Analyst kept Neo and Trinity as its central power source (“emotions, not logic”; “close but not too close”) was disappointing but novel. Portraying Neo’s memories of the Matrix as a a break with reality, a gaslight reinforced by The Analyst as therapist… that was clever. Keeping Trinity subdued via her love of motorcycles and coffee was also clever.


2. Cybebe, Kujaku, and Octacles 4ever. (Lumin8 not so much.)

I would gladly watch a story set in Io showing the symbiosis between the humans and machines (synthients, per the subtitles?). That gave off some 70s space opera vibes that I very much dug, as in Jupiter Ascending (2015). The Matrix Rez had a lot of tasks, so I was not surprised that we did not see more life outside the Matrix, but there was no shortage of fascinating imagery there. I got a little weepy when Cybebe met Neo and booped his forehead.

Also, Io is such a grand slam of a name, fitting the computer (I/O, input/output) and mythic (Io, greek figure) themes of the series.


3. Merv should have stayed purged.

I didn’t like The Merovingian and felt its presence was mostly unnecessary. Nostalgia and memory, by design, were used to trap Neo, so I gave a lot of latitude to the quick cuts to past films and other flashes of the past. But the scene with the Merovingian dressed like Robin Williams in Jumanji and its followers dressed like the Lost Boys in Hook was the one moment where I felt like the story was not working. Thankfully it was short.

I did like how The Merovingian made explicit social media’s role in breaking our brains by making every interaction a binary of love or hate.


4. Laurence Fishburne’s absence was notable, but Yahya was quite excellent.

I have no inside information about Fishburne’s absence. Per a quick web search, the character of Morpheus died in The Matrix Online, a videogame that is part of the Matrix story (“is canonical,” to use comic-speak), and that seems to be the main justification for Fishburne’s absence.

HOWEVER, Neo and Trinity both died in The Matrix Revolutions and were resurrected here, so there is plenty of precedent for Fishburne’s Morpheus to return. His presence would have been welcome. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, as a computer program made by Neo in Morpheus’ image, is reasonably within the bounds set by the story. And in that related role, Yahya was awesome and added a little more lightheartedness that is not otherwise in the story. Everything is fine, but it was just a bummer for Fishburne not to be in the film.

Fishburne’s absence meant that he got to be in the MacGruber (2021) streaming series, which is a small comfort. (That show is filthy and rules and you should watch it.)


5. No one makes blockbusters like The Wachowskis, and even a film made by a single Wachowski is incredible.

Bound (1996) and The Matrix (1999) are perfect films.

Opinions are varied on the other Wachowski movies, but no one can say that these movies are boring, or lack originality, or play it safe.

  • Jupiter Ascending
  • Speed Racer (2008)
  • The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
  • The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

(I haven’t seen Cloud Atlas (2012).)

The Wachowskis’ entire career is blockbusters that prompt conversation, and very few filmmakers get to be this grand this many times. Their only real competition among active filmmakers will be James Cameron, who is finally reentering the fray in December after a 13-year absence. I sincerely hope that Avatar 2 is worth the wait.


The Matrix Resurrections is currently in theaters and is streaming on HBO Max until January 21.