18 years after Lana and Lilly Wachowski concluded The Matrix trilogy, Lana returns to the director’s chair for a fourth chapter.
Shot in America and Germany before and after the first Covid lockdowns, The Matrix Resurrections is the first new instalment in the franchise since 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
The first film debuted in cinemas in 1999, introducing film fans to the notion of a simulated reality in which the rules could be bent to the protagonists’ whims to allow them to overcome an oppressive virtual prison run by an advanced future-race of machines.
With dazzling special effects (including the revolutionary ‘bullet time’ visual that has been mimicked ever since), an iconic sense of style and spectacular action, that first film is regarded as one of the finest sci-fi/action hybrids in history.
The sequels were less well received, but enthusiasm in the franchise has remained among fans, and the fourth instalment is likely to cause a stir nonetheless.
Here is everything you need to know about it.
What happens in The Matrix Resurrections?
In The Matrix Resurrections, Thomas Anderson/Neo is seemingly living in San Francisco, taking a daily prescription of blue pills to drown out disturbing visions.
Aided by a kindly therapist, Thomas seeks a balm to his growing sense of unease and a nagging feeling that he has shared a secret past with a woman in the neighbourhood.
When Thomas stops taking his medication and accepts a red pill from a bespectacled Morpheus, he begins a new journey into The Matrix in the company of Bugs , which tests the greatest power of all: Neo’s love for Trinity.
Of course, nothing is quite that simple in the simulated world of The Matrix, and early trailers raised a plethora of questions, the answers to which fans will be hoping are answered in the final film.
The movie’s first trailer saw Anderson reuniting with Trinity, but it seems the pair no longer recognise each other; as they shake hands, she asks him: “Have we met?” as he shakes his head.
Who stars in it?
Canadian actor Keanu Reeves (Speed, Point Break) is returning to another of his celebrated roles as Neo in the sci-fi series The Matrix, alongside Carrie-Anne Moss (Memento) who will reprise her role as Trinity.
Speaking on The Graham Norton Show, Reeves addressed the pressing question of how his character, who was believed to have died 18 years ago, is still alive in the new film, saying: “I had the same question – when the director asked me what I thought about doing another Matrix film.
“I said ‘What? That sounds amazing but I’m dead’. She was like, ‘Are you?’ and I said, ‘Do tell!’ She wrote a beautiful story, and I love playing the character. How I am alive will all be explained.”
In trailers, it appears as if Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman), who returns Neo to kung-fu training, is playing a character similar to Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus from the original films.
This version of the character appears to be much younger, and though there is a resemblance between the two actors, Abdul-Mateen’s is obviously a different iteration.
Whether Fishburne will appear in the movie remains to be seen, but it’s certainly an intriguing situation, one that is sure to be explained with mind-bending Matrix logic.
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, Gone Girl) plays Anderson’s blue-pill prescribing therapist, while Jessica Henwick (Love and Monsters, On the Rocks) is Bugs, who appears to be a new companion character to Neo.
The new outing will also star Priyanka Chopra-Jonas (Baywatch), as well as Jonathan Groff (Frozen, Hamilton) and Christina Ricci (Casper, Speed Racer).
What are the reviews saying?
The Matrix Resurrections screened to critics on Monday 20 December.
Rreviews are embargoed until 4pm UK time on Tuesday 21 December, and we’ll update this article with reviewers’ opinions as and when they come in.
That includes that all-important Rotten Tomatoes score.
When can I watch it?
The Matrix Resurrections is due in cinemas on Wednesday 22 December.
The film is also streaming through HBO Max on the same day as its cinema release. Unfortunately, the platform - one of the most popular video-on-demand streaming services on the planet - is exclusive to American subscribers.
HBO is not currently available in the UK, despite being available in some European countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Spain.
There are currently no announced plans to bring HBO Max to the UK anytime soon either.
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