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The Matrix Resurrections garners mixed reviews as critics brand it ‘Another truly horrible sequel’

The long-awaited fourth installment of the Matrix franchise finally returned to screens on Tuesday, with The Matrix Resurrections coming a whopping 18 years after the last offering.

But early reviews for the Lana Wachowski directed movie see critics divided, with some panning the film as ‘laughably bad’, while others branded it ‘another truly horrible sequel’.

However, further reviews heap praise on the next stage of the sci-fi franchise, with one excited critic hailing it as ‘the boldest and most vividly human franchise sequel since The Last Jedi’.

It’s back! The long-awaited fourth installment of the Matrix franchise finally returned to screens on Tuesday, with The Matrix Resurrections coming a whopping 18 years after the last offering

The film is the long-awaited fourth installment in the sci-fi franchise.

The series consists of four feature films, starting with The Matrix (1999) and continuing with three sequels, The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Matrix Revolutions (2003) and The Matrix Resurrections (2021).

The story focuses on the Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, Trinity, played by Carrie-Anne Moss, and Morpheus, originally played by Laurence Fishburne in the first three films, but replaced by actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in The Matrix Resurrections.

Neo and Trinity are yet again trying to free humanity from the Matrix – a virtual reality system run by artificial intelligence that imprisons human beings and uses them as a power source.

Comeback: The story focuses on the Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, Trinity, played by Carrie-Anne Moss, and Morpheus, originally played by Laurence Fishburne in the first three films, but replaced by actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in The Matrix Resurrections

Comeback: The story focuses on the Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, Trinity, played by Carrie-Anne Moss, and Morpheus, originally played by Laurence Fishburne in the first three films, but replaced by actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in The Matrix Resurrections 

The Matrix Resurrections takes place twenty years after the events of The Matrix Revolutions.

Neo is back to living an ordinary life under his original identity as Thomas A. Anderson in San Francisco. He then meets a woman (Trinity) but neither of them recognize each other.

But when a new version of Morpheus gives Neo the iconic red pill, his mind is reopened to the Matrix once more and he joins a group of rebels to fight the enemy.

The fourth installment in the sci-fi franchise revives Keanu as Neo in the first Matrix film since 2003’s The Matrix Revolutions.

Co-written and directed by Lana Wachowski, the movie also brings back Carrie-Ann Moss, Lambert Wilson, and Jada Pinkett Smith from the original franchise.

The movie added a number of new cast members to its fourth edition, including actress Priyanka Chopra.   

Opinions: But early reviews for the Lana Wachowski directed movie see critics divided, with some panning the film as 'laughably bad', while others branded it 'another truly horrible sequel'

Opinions: But early reviews for the Lana Wachowski directed movie see critics divided, with some panning the film as ‘laughably bad’, while others branded it ‘another truly horrible sequel’

Chopra recently expressed her enthusiasm for being cast in the movie on Instagram, writing: ‘They had me at ‘Neo and Trinity are back’! The Matrix trilogy defined my generation of cinema. It was the gold standard… something we all role played and referenced all our lives. So, here I am… a small, excited little fish in the huge cinematic pond that is THE Matrix!’

She added, ‘Needless to say, I am honoured and thrilled to be a part of this legacy and to have had the experience of working under the tutelage of Lana Wachowski and alongside this incredible, iconic cast.’ 

While the response has been mixed with some saying it’s far from a ‘perfect’ movie, it has been met with unanimous praise over the ‘astonishing’ set pieces and ‘burning’ chemistry between Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss. 

Kevin Maher at The Times said of the film: ‘The curse of The Matrix strikes again. An ingenious, inventive and era-defining sci-fi movie from 1999 has now, with this latest and long-awaited misfire, produced yet another truly horrible sequel. 

‘The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (both from 2003) were messy, jargon-heavy duds that sapped every last scintilla of goodwill generated by the original film as they stumbled towards a dopey, downbeat conclusion.

‘The Matrix Resurrections doesn’t even have the excuse of narrative exigency to hide behind. There is literally no reason for it to exist, a point that is incessantly hammered home by a sophomoric screenplay that mistakes self-referentiality for sophistication and actually includes the line, “Our beloved parent company, Warner Bros, has decided to make a sequel to the trilogy.”’

Verdict: However, further reviews heap praise on the next stage of the sci-fi franchise, with one excited critic hailing it as 'the boldest and most vividly human franchise sequel since The Last Jedi'

Verdict: However, further reviews heap praise on the next stage of the sci-fi franchise, with one excited critic hailing it as ‘the boldest and most vividly human franchise sequel since The Last Jedi’

While Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian adds: ‘Eighteen years after what we thought was the third and final Matrix film, The Matrix Revolutions, Lana Wachowski has directed a fourth: The Matrix Resurrections. But despite some ingenious touches (a very funny name, for example, for a VR coffee shop) the boulder has been rolled back from the tomb to reveal that the franchise’s corpse is sadly still in there. 

‘This is a heavy-footed reboot which doesn’t offer a compelling reason for its existence other than to gouge a fourth income stream from Matrix fans, submissively hooked up for new content, and it doesn’t have anything approaching the breathtaking “bullet time” action sequences that made the original film famous.’ 

However, in a more positive response,  David Ehrlich of IndieWire responded: If “No Way Home” is the snake eating its tail with such reckless abandon that it fools itself into thinking it’s full, “The Matrix Resurrections” is the rare blockbuster that dares to ask what else might be on the menu. 

‘It’s the boldest and most vividly human franchise sequel since “The Last Jedi” (if also messier and more postmodern than Rian Johnson’s miraculous addition to the “Star Wars” canon).’

He added: ‘It will likely prove the most divisive as well. Doubling down on the “Alice in Wonderland” spirit of its franchise, “The Matrix Resurrections” is a movie that will only appeal to fans interested in seeing how deep the rabbit hole goes; anyone simply looking for more “Matrix” isn’t just s**t out of luck, they’re in for an experience that will toy with their expectations for more than two hours without fulfilling a single one of them.’

Elsewhere, IGN’s Amelia Emberwing slammed the film, remarking: ‘The Matrix Resurrections is the kind of film that will go down in cult history because it is so laughably bad. Truthfully, I can’t even say it’s unenjoyable because I spent so much of its overly long runtime giggling over how jaw-droppingly misguided the majority of it is. And, even with how rough it is, folks looking for that nostalgia will get exactly what they’re looking for.’

While Peter Debruge of Variety added: ‘Essentially a greatest hits concert and a cover version rolled into one (complete with flashback clips to high points from past installments), the new movie is slick but considerably less ambitious in scope than the two previous sequels.’

Clarisse Loughrey of The Independent commented: ‘It’s a volcanic cluster of ideas at a time when Hollywood is all-too content to slap the broad declaration of “it’s really about trauma!” on a film and call it a day. And that comes largely from the determined individualism of its director, Lana Wachowski (here taking solo reins of the franchise from her sister and usual co-director, Lilly) – whose outlook on The Matrix Resurrections both reasserts her personal vision and takes stock of the franchise’s thorny legacy. It’s also a reminder that long black coats and tiny sunglasses are, indeed, very cool. ‘

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