[Editor’s Note: Of course, I will spoil most -> all of the things. But I don’t think anyone cares for this one]
My relationship with this franchise is…I would say typical of many of my generation.
I loved, and I mean fucking LOVED The Matrix. I missed in theaters. But, it was the first DVD I owned. I got into DVDs as a format period because of the matrix. I remember, I watched it on my PC for the first time, cause I had just gotten it that summer, and it was the only thing in the house at the time that could play DVDs (didn’t even have a PS2 yet).
Loved it. I remember bringing it with me a ton to show family members. All that.
So when they announced sequels, I was ecstatic. Beyond excited. I insisted on seeing Reloaded opening night, midnight showing. I was…whelmed. I think my friends loved it cause of the action sequences. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed that too, but….The Architect scene left a sour taste in my mouth. And it got worse the more time that passed.
They wrote themselves into a fucking hole. Its one thing to set up a whole “the world isn’t really the world thing.” Its another thing to fucking make the whole world even more convoluted than it needed to be. I remember telling my friends as we left the theater, “There is no way they fucking stick the landing on this thing.”
And I was right. By the time Revolutions came out, I ended up seeing it by myself. And I fucking hated it. I remember calling one of my friends in the theater as the credits rolled, “They made Neo into Jesus. Literally”
The whole movie was stupid. The ending especially. Felt like someone leaving a turd in my drink.
After that, I was out on the Matrix. Those last two movies killed any fervor I had for the franchise. I don’t think I even watched the original film since….well…until….
I had friends of mine who were out on its face. Why make another one.
I on the other hand was….fine with it….like after Revolutions. No fucking way it could be worse. You cant be worse than Neo as Jesus. Plus, it is now rona times. If Warner is going to make it easy for me to see it (HBO Max), I’m going to watch it.
And well, lets get off the bat, I think its better than the two sequels we did get. It at least was more coherent.
Ok, what works, The first 30-45 min of this movie is a good fucking idea. Mr. Anderson, now a video game designer, being forced to make another Matrix video game after his beloved trilogy was a hit. Including a montage of what people think The Matrix “games” were about. There is literally a line of dialogue “Our parent company Warner Brothers wants us to make another Matrix game”
To be honest, I may rewatch the beginning of this movie a few times. Really great start. Loved it. Great fucking idea. Just Lana giving the finger to WB for harassing the Wachowski sisters for years about doing another Matrix movie.
But, once you get past that concept…all the problems start for me. This movie is like holding on to a balloon full of air that you let go. Just PFFTTTTTT and its all gone. Once they pull Mr. Anderson out of The Matrix, the movie falls apart. Well, not fall apart per se, it just gets dull. Painfully dull.
The biggest fault with the movie is all the action scenes. This is sort of the opposite of Reloaded. The movie elements almost work here but all the action scenes suck.
Its as if there is just no life in the creative forces for combat here. I am not sure if its just that Lilly was the one who insisted on it, but every single action scene is boring. Boring. Completely boring. The fight scenes are lifeless, poorly shot, and poorly choreographed.
And there is nothing memorable about them. Look lets keep it simple. Remember this:
Its a little thing. But its memorable. I’m not even talking about the wonderful fight choreography of Yuen Woo-ping from the original Matrix movies. I NEVER expected them to achieve that height. Just any kind of little flourish. Proof that anyone cared to do something industry. The last 30 min of this movie is straight action sequences and it is super fucking boring. Nothing interesting happens. No one cares.
So, if you think of The Matrix franchise as only incredible fight sequences with tons of guns and shit, you will fucking hate this movie.
The script also makes odd choices in the last half. I fault the actors 0% for this. This is just bad writing. Jonathan Groff as Agent Smith fuckin hams it up amazingly the whole movie, but it all amounts to nothing in the end. Sort of the same with Neil Patrick Harris, who is really the fucking star here. But, at the end of the day, all of their actions amount to nothing. Its fun to watch them chew scenery, but there is no end result from their actions. The movie ends in basically the exact same place where the first Matrix ended, and you wonder why we went on this journey in the first place.
Overall, I get what Lana is doing here. Making a movie about the fact that Warner wont let her and her sister alone about making another Matrix movie. But its just, if you are going to do that. Go all in. Make a better version of New Nightmare. Don’t just try to make a Matrix movie with the trappings of something clever.
1.5/4 – Like it almost worked. It really did. And then it didn’t. And then it REALLY didn’t. But hey, its better than either of the two sequels we did get. So that’s something.