Not worth the wait

By Andrew McManus - Contributing Columnist

Yes. I know…ANOTHER SEQUEL. BUT IT’S THE MATRIX!!!!! If you haven’t seen these films let me give you a little back story. In 1999, The Matrix was released and with no exaggeration changed the way action films were made. We had slow-motion fighting.

The special effects were ahead of their time and the allegories peppered throughout the trilogy were so deep that college courses and dissertations have been done time and time again. After the success of The Matrix in 1999 we were given two sequels: The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. A neat tidbit on the two sequels. Reloaded was released in 2003 and then SIX MONTHS LATER Revolutions was. I remember finishing The Matrix Reloaded and that it ended on a cliffhanger. I couldn’t wait for the conclusion. To be honest the sequels for me weren’t amazing but as a whole, the series was so important to myself and my friends and family.

We would discuss the cliffhangers, the allegories, if he or she was alive or not. Cut to 2021. We have waited 18 years for a sequel. For 18 years I said NEO (Keanu Reeves) would return. To say my excitement was high is an understatement. However, would this film live up to the original trilogy? Would the expectations and hope of waiting 18 years to dive deeper down the rabbit hole pay off? Spoiler alert……NO.

Onto the film.

Immediately the film opens with action. We meet a character code-named Bugs (Henwick) who finds a program running a simulation of the first film. In this sequence, Trinity looks for Neo. However, it isn’t the regular cast members. Yet it was the same dialogue. I was confused. Is the main cast not in this? Why are we retelling the same story word for word? When then realize that this is strictly so a new iteration of Morpheus (Abdul-Mateen II) and

if can be found. He isn’t the character you remember, and obviously not the great Laurence Fishburne but his goal, like the original, is to awaken Neo (Reeves.) Things then get WEIRD. I mean really weird. Thomas Anderson/Neo (Reeves) is a video game developer and get this…he has made a trilogy of games that are shot for shot in the movies we’ve seen. I know….meta. Also….too much. The director here is trying to be clever and comes off as acting smarter than the audience. Look at us. We will act like the movies you have watched and loved are actually video games and the characters in the movies are actually the ones who created it?!?! What is real?

This segment could have been taken care of in 15 to 20 minutes. It seems to go on for an hour. Mr. Anderson (Reeves) keeps meeting “Tiffany” (Anne-Moss) obviously we know this is Neo and Trinity but will they ever reconnect and wake up. It was a chore to get through this film.

I will give credit where it is due. This film attempts to blow you mind, confuse you, make you ask questions. Yet too many questions. Act 2 of the film works. I won’t get into any more details but this should have been fleshed out and I would have genuinely been excited and enjoyed what was on the screen. It felt like a true sequel. Acts 1 and 3 feel like bookends that overstay their welcome and talk above you. This is coming from someone who has seen the trilogy countless times. If you haven’t watched any of the films….It’s going to be tough.

So how are the action scenes? The original Matrix was ground-breaking…do we see that here? No. From seeing it a day ago I can’t picture in detail any of the fights that we witnessed. I can still recall fights from the original trilogy. Very forgetful. How about the CGI? Groundbreaking?? Actually no…seemed dated. Maybe artistic licensure on this? Didn’t work.

The cast does work. Neo (Reeves) and Trinity (Anne-Moss) have the same electric chemistry as the original trilogy. Their love seems real. The story works for one-third of the film. The rest will frustrate you. The “big bad” is no Hugo Weaving and the supporting cast aside from Bugs (Henwick) is forgettable. I never expected to say this but unless you are a DIE-HARD fan of the series I would skip it and go see Spiderman again.

I also am SO SORRY Peter Parker I should have given you a stronger rating. Keanu is Keanu and is always awesome but unfortunately, he can’t save this film. I just hope if there is more to the story they clean up the pandering and being “cool” to be cool and help these characters and this story grow. Not just, WOW this character can FLY. CONGRATULATIONS (eye roll) I also don’t want to wait another 18 years. Talk about your ultimate backfire. Begrudgingly 2 stars out of 5

By Andrew McManus

Contributing Columnist