After a nearly two-decade hiatus, Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus are back in The Matrix: Resurrections. Once again written and directed by Lana Wachowski, the concept is just as mind-bending as ever, with a tighter and more cohesive story than previous entries.
Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a video game designer. His Matrix Trilogy is the most popular series of games ever, enthralling humans with an entertaining concept of what might happen if artificial intelligence were to take over the world. Unfortunately, Thomas's world has also caused him to have a psychotic break, for which he sees an analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) and regularly takes blue pills. But when characters from his game start appearing and threatening his reality, Thomas must decide which world he wants to believe in and face the consequences of that decision. Once made, he is trapped between the world he lives in and the world he thinks he created; this causes him to face foes, old and new - and more dangerous than ever.
The script is tight, telling a cohesive story that excels above the previous three. There is more than just cleverness with the concept; there is a cohesiveness that was previously lacking, especially in the third film. After such a long break, this may have been the draw for lead cast members Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. They're both clearly invested in these characters and put everything they have into their performances. There are a few other returning characters that serve as interesting surprises. Harris's portrayal of The Analyst subtly dominates every scene in which he appears - making Hugo Weaving's previous exceptional work as Smith seem almost like a video game character.
There isn't as much action as audiences may expect, but this is to the film's credit. The focus is rightly on the story. The existing action is crisp and clean most times, although a couple of moments move so quickly that they're hard to follow. If anything, the sets and background graphics are more stunning than ever.
The Matrix: Resurrections might not be exactly what fans of the previous films anticipate in terms of action, but it will more than meet expectations for a convoluted, well-conceived tale. In fact, it excels at keeping the story engaging throughout its 140-minute run time; yet it remains easy to follow. Because of this, it has definitely been worth waiting a generation to have the franchise brought back to life.