Given the review headlines for Matrix 4, I didn’t expect much. Whatever, I loved the film from the start and kept waiting for the moment where it turned shit. It never did. As the credits played, I thought that might be one of the best films I’d seen in years.
Matrix 4 is not a perfect film. I can see why some people didn’t like it – particularly when it was so uninterested in topping the spectacle of the previous three movies. Instead, there was a thoughtful film about nostalgia/retro culture.
I can’t claim my responses as a cis-male are as interesting or important as those of trans fans, but I took a lot from it. For me, it was a film about growing older, and losing touch with the power and optimism of youth – how ‘they’ “made you believe their world was all you deserved”. This is particularly poignant, given how the themes of the first Matrix film have been co-opted in the years since.
Resurrections is a metafictional critique of the way in which storytelling has been harvested for ‘intellectual property’. This has produced films like Soul, where Disney promotes ideals that would be anathema to its corporate culture. Resurrections responds directly to how, as one review put it, “the future is increasingly viewed through the franchise lenses of the past, trapping fans in corporate-controlled dream worlds where their fandom is constantly rewarded with new product“. Corporate storytelling has much in common with the matrix.
I like that this reboot did not just go for nostalgia or outdoing the original (I mean, Star Wars 7 and 9 had fights in the literal ruins of the first trilogy). Undercutting the originals seemed a good way to go. Some additional, miscellaneous points:
- “If the old Matrix films are about lies we are told, the new Matrix is about lies we choose. In spite of its questions, 1999’s The Matrix hinges on the notion that there is such a thing as objective truth, and that people would want to see it. On the cusp of 2022, objective truth is no longer agreed upon…“
- There seems to be a split in reviews between those who wanted stylised violence and those who loved the story. The makers did not seem interested in outdoing the violence and, indeed, the Morpheus office gunplay seemed half-hearted and slapdash. I think that was intentional.
- I love that Neo never picks up a gun in this film.
- “the entire Wachowski filmography is about that shot where two people holding hands pushes away all the violence.“
- A lovely hidden detail is that Trinity’s husband Chad is played by Chad Shahelski, who was his stunt double in the first matrix.
- Obviously, everyone’s taste for pomo stuff differs, but I loved the self-critique. I mean, screening shots from the first film in an actual theatre was fucking bold.
Matrix 4 looked at the failures of the original trilogy and asked whether we could try again and do it better. By the end of the film, I thought maybe we could.If you want to follow what I'm up to, sign up to my mailing list