Matthew Preston: “It was ok.”

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− December 26, 2021 • more by Matthewlog in or create an account to reply

Scott Hardie: Clearly Warner Brothers wants to get another franchise going, and they're willing to throw as much money as necessary at folks like Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, who could not have been thrilled to go through the months of training and another physically demanding shoot. By all accounts, Lana Wachowski was essentially told, "We're doing this with or without you," and in that position I think I'd have made like Lilly Wachowski and stayed out of it. There seems like no need for this to exist and no story worth telling here, even in an America that has become more open to explicitly trans stories than in 1999. But that's just the vibe I get from the project now, without seeing it. Once upon a time I'd have done anything to see another Matrix film, but this one looks sadly quite skippable. :-( − December 26, 2021 • more by Scott

Scott Hardie: And not one hour after I wrote that did Kelly walk into the room and insist that we watch this. Weird timing. :-) − December 27, 2021 • more by Scott

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Evie Totty: “It was ok.”

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− December 27, 2021 • more by Evielog in or create an account to reply

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Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

Low expectations (see above) might have helped me enjoy this more. It was thoroughly unnecessary, but I couldn't help but love how cleverly it addressed its own unnecessity. The first act (by far the best) was so meta that it could have been co-written by Charlie Kaufman. It discusses quite explicitly the filmmakers' confusion and disappointment at being more or less forced by the studio to make a sequel after all these years, long after they had exhausted themselves completing what amounted to their masterwork. And the studio is so desperate to have them back to make another would-be hit that it will tolerate this in-film criticism, which is refreshing to say the least. On top of that, there's the puzzle-box plot: How will it justify returning Neo and Trinity to their pre-extraction selves after everything we saw happen, and how will it repeat the first film's story beats in a way that satisfies both nostalgia-hungry Gen-Xers and a new audience of Gen-Zers who might be starting here? Part of what I want from any Matrix film is a head trip, and the first act gave me what I wanted; I had plenty to think about as it unfolded.

The rest of the picture is fine, if it falls short of the heights of the originals. The two people whose absences are most acutely felt are action coordinator Yuen Woo-Ping and cinematographer Bill Pope, who gave the original films such electrifying and distinctive visuals. The stunts here feel simpler, even if they weren't (IMDb says that such stunts as leaping off of buildings really were done on site), and the movie has few striking images that could become as indelible in pop culture as the originals. If the first film was powered by the Wachowskis' youthful excitement at realizing their dream, and the early sequels were powered by their push to top themselves (which they accomplished in action but not ideas), this late sequel is calmer and more modest, satisfied merely to be an entertaining sci-fi action film instead of trying to be another mind-blowing world-changing avant-garde tour de force. Maybe it's wise not to try being something that it can't? If the action spectacle had to go, I'm satisfied with what replaced it, a longer and deeper and more satisfying exploration of the intersection between reality and fiction than the series has previously offered.

− December 27, 2021 • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

Scott Hardie: This reply contains spoilers. Reveal it. − December 27, 2021 • more by Scott

Evie Totty: Yeah - more and more I keep feeling like I need to give it a rewatch. Perhaps my 4am, exhausted state wasn't the best idea. − December 27, 2021 • more by Evie

Samir Mehta: Scott, I am a bit like you. I adored the original trilogy. To me, they were actually meaningful. I am a very rare person who thinks the last one is the best. Because, for me, it wasn’t an action or adventure story but a spiritual one (the whole thing is deeply influenced by Buddhist and dharmic ideas).

All of this to ask this - should I skip this? Is it actually good or just fun? Fun I don’t need. − December 30, 2021 • more by Samir

Scott Hardie: Samir: I am not familiar enough with formalized concepts in philosophy or religion to evaluate how well this one dealt with any. A quick search of Wikipedia brings up ideas about the highest possible self and real truths beyond the physical realm, which, yes, are again themes in this sequel. I would say that this film is lowercase-s spiritual in that the first act deals with the soul-deadening feeling of modern life, a questioning of whether our accomplishments truly mean anything, and a weakening grip on reality. (The trailer captures a bit of this.) Then the plot kicks into gear and it settles into a more conventional sci-fi action film; it still briefly raises questions about topics like free will and the utility of war, but doesn't dwell on them.

The action film that it becomes is merely meh; I wouldn't recommend it on its own. So, I would say that this is one-third of an actually good movie. Whether that's enough for you is something you'll have to decide for yourself. I will add that you have appreciated Charlie Kaufman's work and other meta films in the past, so I think you'd get a kick out of that aspect of this film's first act too. I'll follow up with a second comment behind a spoiler warning... − December 30, 2021 • more by Scott

Scott Hardie: This reply contains spoilers. Reveal it. − December 30, 2021 • more by Scott

Scott Hardie: This reply contains spoilers. Reveal it. − January 7, 2022 • more by Scott

Evie Totty: Yes - it's been a common complaint. − January 7, 2022 • more by Evie

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