NOTE: This review contains spoilers for The Matrix Resurrections trailers but not the movie, since no one at the Beaverton has seen it because have you read the most recent COVID numbers? Jesus.
“What is the Matrix?” was the question that drove millions of film-goers into theaters in the spring of 1999. The long awaited fourth Matrix movie comes out in Canadian movie theaters this week and the question driving the franchise’s fans two decades after the first film came out is now “Is the Matrix what we thought?” and also “Is seeing The Matrix Resurrections going to result in me contracting Omicron because half of the theater will be eating popcorn and then forget to put their masks back on?”
Based on what I’ve gleaned from the official trailers, The Matrix Resurrections begins by depicting the seemingly normal modern life being led by Neo (Keanu Reeves), the protagonist of the original Matrix trilogy. He has an apartment with a bathtub, lives in a city, and appears to be under the care of a therapist. Does any of this matter to the plot of the movie? I don’t know, I haven’t seen it, the vaccine requirements to see movies aren’t nearly as comforting as they used to be due to Omicron’s ability to evade vaccination protection in a population that is mostly unboosted.
I’m guessing the bathtub will not play a pivotal role beyond being used to depict how Neo is unfulfilled in his current existence. Or maybe he will flashback while in the tub to his life in the goo filled pods that humans were kept in while being plugged into the Matrix. I personally am not willing to risk being plugged into a ventilator to find out.
At some point, Neo apparently encounters Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), his fellow freedom-fighter and love interest who died in The Matrix Revolutions. Or did she die? Did any of that actually happen? Was the ‘real world’ in the first trilogy merely another simulation? I can’t say. I can say that Omicron is likely four times more transmissible than Delta, and I’m only dying to see this movie in a figurative sense.
There is a sequence on a train that looks very exciting, and many impressive fight scenes that also look incredible based on the small clips I’ve seen. Are any of these scenes exciting enough to risk contracting long COVID, which is estimated to affect up to 30% of COVID survivors and can make performing everyday activities feel as exhausting as fighting off hundreds of Agent Smiths? Personally, I’m thinking no.
I’m also thinking about how Sense8 is a really fun show co-created by the Wachowskis with a finale written and directed by the exact same team that made The Matrix Resurrections, a show that can be watched in the safety of your own home.
While American Matrix fans will have immediate home access to The Matrix Resurrections on the HBO Max streaming service, Canadians have a more significant choice to make. Given the franchise’s overarching focus on the importance of choice, perhaps making the choice not to see The Matrix Resurrections until the current COVID surge is over and most of our population has had three vaccinations was the real seeing the movie all along.