I’m a Matrix superfan. Why am I not more excited for Resurrections?

click to enlarge Hesitancy to boot back into the Matrix isn't unfounded.

Hesitancy to boot back into the Matrix isn’t unfounded.

When I was 10 years old, I had no idea how much The Matrix was about to change my life. At the time, I was just excited my parents were letting me watch an R-rated movie while they fell asleep on the couch next to me.

Since then, I’ve seen the movie more than 60 times — I’ve kept count. It’s by far the most influential movie of my life. And each time I see it, I’m blown away again, like I’m still that 10-year-old kid.

When the trailer dropped for The Matrix Resurrections, the new franchise reboot, you’d think I’d have been ecstatic. Truthfully, I thought I’d be ecstatic. But as it gets closer to the release date, I’ve realized a big part of me is actually dreading this resurrection.

The reason I became a Matrix superfan in the first place has as much to do with my age as the movie itself. Certain movies just hit you at the right age, and they become your reference point for all other movies. This is hardly unique to the Matrix. I imagine kids decades before went through a similar experience with Star Wars, and kids today are likely going through it with Marvel movies.

Still, for a 10-year-old, the Matrix was trippy as hell. Never before had I seen action sequences so mind-bending. Until then, I’d never considered a world where everyone lives in a computer simulation, that the mundane life of everyday society was in fact controlled by something far more powerful. Not once had I seen a mechanical bug planted inside someone’s belly button.

Much like Neo in the original film, it opened me up to an entirely new way of thinking. It shaped my worldview in more ways than I’d like to admit, framing my perspective on morality and religion, provoking a long-held distrust for authority figures, and guiding my judgment on film and art.

I was so enamored with The Matrix that for years I even defended the sequels, something I now attribute to being a teenager with bad takes. Any Matrix sequel that came out after my favorite movie ever was going to be good in my book. The still-awesome car chase in Reloaded was the most incredible thing I’d ever seen on a screen, and I was fully invested in the plot.

More importantly, liking the Matrix had become part of my very identity. If anyone criticized one thing about it, even the sequels, I defended it as if it were personal.

Looking back, the sequels had me fooled. The Matrix genuinely was groundbreaking, but the sequels ended up as unimaginative plot cloaked with CGI and philosophical allusions. To top it off, while Reloaded at least pulled off ambitious action sequences, the third movie, Revolutions, perplexingly took away everything that made the action fun, replacing it with robots firing guns and a cartoonish showdown between Agent Smith and Neo. If the Matrix momentarily freed me from the typical Hollywood formula, the sequels plugged me right back in.

Maybe that’s partly why I, a Matrix superfan, am not getting my hopes up for the new installment. If it’s anything like the sequels, I won’t be able to defend them anymore. And there’s still a small part of me that identifies too much with the Matrix, so if it’s bad, I’ll take it personally.

Or maybe this movie won’t be meant for fans like me. It might go the route of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and target a new generation of fans instead of trying to please the old ones. No matter how many callbacks to the original it sprinkles in for nostalgia, the reboot’s very existence would feel like a betrayal of the first film.

But I suspect Resurrections is going to be made exactly for superfans like me. This doesn’t appear to be a brand new character arc set in the same universe. Rather, from the trailers, it looks to be the same main characters following a familiar path — one that puzzles the characters themselves. Neo is back in the Matrix, again finding his way to (a younger) Morpheus. We see Neo grappling with a past he once knew but he’s detached from, confronting a former self that he doesn’t recognize.

And that’s the exact same feeling I have about the movie coming out now. I believe being a Matrix superfan remains a part of my identity, buried somewhere deep down in my past. I fully expect to be in the theater opening day, trying desperately to summon that feeling I had when I first saw the original Matrix, sandwiched between my parents watching it on pay-per-view.

I’d guess that Resurrections will explore whether or not Neo will find that part of himself that he once was. And if I know movies at all, then he will.

But in my eyes, the movie’s success hinges on a different question.

Will I? ♦

Article Source: Inlander