The Matrix movies, ranked worst to best

He is the one, two, three, four and five as we look at the the Matrix movies, ranked worst to best.

The Matrix movies, ranked - A still from The Matric Reloaded (2003). Neo (slicked back hair, black sunglasses, and a long black trench coat) standing in front of dozens of TV screens, all displaying him.

The Matrix movies are an iconic sci-fi franchise from the minds of the Wachowski sisters, Lana and Lilly. The twisted tale of the Matrix is complex and captivating: from the original movie in the late 90s introducing fans to the dystopian tale of a simulated reality that encompasses humanity all the way to the fourth film released in 2021 that picked up the story that was left behind almost two decades prior. But, how would the Matrix movies fare if we ranked them worst to best?

In this guide, we take a look at each movie, including the collection of animated shorts, The Animatrix, to shine light on what positives and negatives were brought to the franchise. One impressive thread that follows through 22 years of movies is the titular Thomas Anderson aka Neo, played by Keanu Reeves in each and every feature-length movie. Likewise, Trinity played by Carrie-Anne Moss returns in each to reprise her role. However, much like the Matrix itself, there’s a multitude of factors that build up a reality and we must take each into account.

Here we go then, The Matrix movies, ranked worst to best. And if you need to support your Matrix movie fix then we’ve got our The Matrix streaming guide , including The Animatrix, as well as our guide on how to watch The Matrix movies in order .

5. The Matrix Revolutions

  • Release date: November 5, 2003
  • Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

Originally meant to be the final movie of The Matrix trilogy, The Matrix Revolutions had a lot to tie up if it wanted to be classed as a finale. Unfortunately, whilst still a great addition to the franchise, it didn’t quite meet expectations as far as concluding the Matrix’s story to this point. It also followed mere months after The Matrix Reloaded, which was a phenomenal sequel to an already great start to the franchise.

Neo and Trinity team up once again to protect Zion against a threatened attack from the Sentinels and whilst the battle scenes are majestic, the storyline itself left viewers a little wanting, though there was still plenty of action, including the epic final showdown between Neo and Smith.

4. The Animatrix

  • Release date: June 3, 2003
  • Cast: Kevin Michael Richardson, Pamela Adlon, John DiMaggio

Whilst it’s a little difficult to rank The Animatrix against four feature-length films, it has to be said that the animation shorts act as a wider expanse on the Matrix franchise. They offer side stories, prequels, endings, and deeper emotional connections to the characters.

Positioned above The Matrix Revolutions for its ability to offer something entirely unique to the franchise and for producing a clear vision from the Wachowski sisters, The Animatrix provides answers and fills in gaps in the history of the franchise.

The Animatrix also benefits from the use of a variety of art styles from anime to CGI when successfully depicting the relationship between humans and machines on a more emotional level. Each short having a different storyline can be seen as both a positive and negative, with some shorts like The Second Renaissance widely praised, and others like Beyond more criticized. The nine-film anthology is a blessing to the franchise that supports and expands on its beloved narrative.

3. The Matrix Resurrections

  • Release date: December 22, 2021
  • Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jonathan Groff

With 22 years between movies, expectations were high for The Matrix Resurrections. Everything from storyline to special effects to the casting itself was be different as time and technology moved on and so seemingly had the Matrix, with an enhanced, more dangerous, and more intelligent simulated reality now posing a threat.

Despite these high expectations, The Matrix Resurrections does a lot right, It successfully weaves everything we loved about the old movies into a new and exciting story, backed up by the finest special effects that money can buy.

Let’s not forget though that the casting is a prime reason this movie happened. To get both Keanu Reeves back as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, it can offer a time passing storyline with literal time passing behind it. Not everyone plugged back into the Matrix though - Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus and Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith were no more, but that’s not to say that newcomers Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jonathan Groff didn’t serve as excellent replacements.

It’s a refreshing take on the franchise and one that could’ve been seen as a risk with so many years passing since the other movies. However, with such an iconic series and with Lana Wachowski, although solo, still leading the path, The Matrix Resurrections earns its spot third on our list.

2. The Matrix Reloaded

  • Release date: May 15, 2003

The fact that The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions are two sequels with not much space in-between their release dates does not mean that they should be judged as one. It was, and will always remain, to be seen as the middle of the trilogy. A movie that was expected to carry the baton on a little further, but not finish the sprint. And, it does just that.

It’s ram-packed with action scenes that show off what the Matrix has the ability to create. Most iconic is the battle for the Keymaker on the highway with Trinity and Morpheus, who break their rule to avoid areas with linear routes and few exits. Plus this movie furthered Agent Smith’s character dynamic, emblazoning him into the role of a rogue agent and the emblematic Burly Brawl scene that sees Neo take on multiple Agent Smiths. The Matrix Reloaded did genuinely expand the philosophies and mythology set up by the Wachowski sisters in the first movie to bring more depth to the franchise.

Sure, it’ has its issues, chief among them being that it feels too much like the middle movie, with no satisfying beginning or end, but it's still an excellent action flick. Despite its flaws, it carries The Matrix mythology further and set the scene for where the franchise went next.

1. The Matrix

  • Release date: March 31, 1999

Enter the Matrix. The movie that started it all and asked questions of us that we’d never been asked before. It showed us a partnership between Neo and Trinity that wasn’t a power struggle. And, when it comes to the action scenes throughout this movie, the slow-motion shots, the twisted genre of Kung Fu and weaponry, it truly did something that hadn’t been seen before in 1999.

The Matrix was a pinnacle moment for the sci-fi genre. The Wachowski sisters created a storyline way beyond its time that even with time between the movie’s creation and the modern day, it becomes even more realistic. Whilst The Matrix benefits from its successors and its narrative deepener with The Animatrix, it couldn’t have continued if The Matrix didn’t give it a starting point.

To mix two realities – the world as we know it and a simulated reality that can trick us into believing we’re home – seamlessly on screen is an outstanding piece of cinematic history. Viewers are meant to watch and question their own existence and The Matrix provides such a landscape for this to happen in. It provided a legacy for any medium after it to continue and for that reason The Matrix will always be the one.

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Grace is a freelancer who started writing for since 2021. She's a huge fan of movies, TV, and gaming, and if she's not clutching her Xbox controller or scanning the streaming platforms for the next must-watch shows, you'll find her spending copious amounts of time writing about them on her laptop. Specialties include RPG, FPS, and action-adventure games as well as 80s sci-fi movies and book adaptations. 

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1999, Sci-fi/Action, 2h 16m

What to know

Critics Consensus

Thanks to the Wachowskis' imaginative vision, The Matrix is a smartly crafted combination of spectacular action and groundbreaking special effects. Read critic reviews

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Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can answer his question -- What is the Matrix? Neo is contacted by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), a beautiful stranger who leads him into an underworld where he meets Morpheus. They fight a brutal battle for their lives against a cadre of viciously intelligent secret agents. It is a truth that could cost Neo something more precious than his life.

Rating: R (Sci-Fi Violence|Brief Language)

Genre: Sci-fi, Action

Original Language: English

Director: Lilly Wachowski , Lana Wachowski

Producer: Joel Silver

Writer: Lilly Wachowski , Lana Wachowski

Release Date (Theaters): Mar 31, 1999  wide

Rerelease Date (Theaters): Sep 22, 2023

Release Date (Streaming): Jan 1, 2009

Box Office (Gross USA): $171.4M

Runtime: 2h 16m

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production Co: Village Roadshow Prod., Silver Pictures

Sound Mix: Dolby Stereo, DTS, SDDS, Surround, Dolby Digital, Dolby SR

Aspect Ratio: Scope (2.35:1)

Cast & Crew

Keanu Reeves

Thomas A. Anderson, Neo

Laurence Fishburne

Carrie-Anne Moss

Hugo Weaving

Agent Smith

Joe Pantoliano

Cypher, Mr. Reagan

Gloria Foster

Marcus Chong

Paul Goddard

Agent Brown

Robert Taylor

Agent Jones

Julian Arahanga

Belinda McClory

Anthony Ray Parker

Lilly Wachowski

Lana Wachowski

Executive Producer

Bruce Berman

Andrew Mason

Barrie M. Osborne

Erwin Stoff

Joel Silver

Dan Cracchiolo


Carol Hughes

Associate Producer

Richard Mirisch

Original Music


Zach Staenberg

Film Editing

Shauna Wolifson

Owen Paterson

Production Design

News & Interviews for The Matrix

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Sterling K. Brown’s Five Favorite Films

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Critic Reviews for The Matrix

Audience reviews for the matrix.

10/04/2018 - Yes there are some cheesy one liners. But you should expect that. As of writing this, The Matrix is almost 20 years old! The simple fact is, The Matrix is STILL the greatest science fiction film ever made, and doesn't look like it will be beaten any time soon.

ratings for new matrix movie

The Matrix is a masterfully created action film that near-flawlessly weaves a contained story into a complex universe.

After having re-watched The Matrix for the first time since I was a kid, I was incredibly pleased to find that it's just as cool watching it as an adult as it was as a kid. The action and choreography are what paved the way for Keanu Reeves' career, as well as the future of action and science fiction movies of the early 21st century... but it's not only Reeves' performance that is exceptional. Laurence Fishburne, Carrie Anne-Moss, and Hugo Weaving all deliver physically disciplined and skilled performances, and it's a privilege to watch. Here we are 18 years later and it's still very relevant today- focusing on the danger of artificial intelligence, and of course, destiny.

"The Matrix" isn't a perfect film, but it really is close to being one. The Wachowskis show us for the first (and only) time how good they are with original stories that they know is really going to touch the audience in a very deep and fascinating way. It's very smartly put together and the structure and story are great opposite each other. The performances by Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving are great and you believe every moment that these characters are on the screen in front of you. This movie shows an alternate world in a very dreamlike and almost trippy way, and that's the audience wants: something that can really challenge them and make them see everything differently afterwards. This movie definitely managed to do that and can easily be put on the list of the greatest films of all time.

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Tv/streaming, collections, great movies, chaz's journal, contributors, the matrix resurrections.

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“The Matrix Resurrections” is the first “Matrix” movie since 2003's " The Matrix Revolutions ," but it is not the first time we’ve seen the franchise in theaters this year. That distinction goes to “ Space Jam: A New Legacy ,” the cinematic shareholder meeting for Warner Bros. with special celebrity guests that inserted Looney Tunes characters Speedy Gonzales and Granny into a scene from “ The Matrix .” Speedy Gonzales dodged slow-motion bullets; Granny jumped in the air and kicked a cop in the face like Trinity. The 2003 animation omnibus “The Animatrix” detailed how the Matrix was created, how an apocalyptic war against robots led to human suffering being harvested to fuel a world of machines; there should be an addendum that includes this scene from “Space Jam: A New Legacy” to show what it all led to.  

This is the reality that we live in—one ruled by Warner Bros.’ Serververse—and it is also the context that rules over “The Matrix Resurrections.” The film bears the name of director Lana Wachowski , returning to the cyberpunk franchise that made her one of the greatest sci-fi/action directors, but be warned that no force is remotely as strong as Warner Bros. wanting a lighter and brighter take on “The Matrix.” “The Matrix Resurrections” is a reboot with some striking philosophical flourishes, and grandiose set-pieces where things go boom in slow motion, but it is also the weakest and most compromised “Matrix” film yet.  

Written by Wachowski, David Mitchell , and Aleksandar Hemon , “The Matrix Resurrections” is about building from beloved beats, characters, and plot elements; call it deja vu, or just call it a convoluted clip show. It starts with a new character named Bugs ( Jessica Henwick ) witnessing Trinity’s famous telephone escape before having her own swooping, bullet-dodging getaway, and later throws new versions of previous characters into the the mix. The wise man of this saga, Morpheus, is no longer played by Laurence Fishburne , but Yahya Abdul-Mateen II , who looks just as cool in dark color coats and sunglasses with two machine guns in hand, but has a confusing purpose for being there. “The Matrix Resurrections” will bend over backward, bullet-time style, to explain why he is. The same goes for how heroes Neo and Trinity return, even though “The Matrix Revolutions” put a lot of care into killing them off. This is the kind of movie in which it truly doesn’t matter when you last saw the original films; your experience might be even better if you haven’t seen them at all.  

It is also about making you painfully conscious of what constitutes Matrix intellectual property, as it places Keanu Reeves ’ hero Neo, known in the Matrix as a brilliant video game programmer named Thomas Anderson, in a board room with a bunch of creatives, trying to come up with ideas for a sequel. He has received pressure from his boss (and Warner Bros.) after his game “The Matrix” was a hit; “bullet-time” is discussed with awe by stock geek characters as something that needs to be topped. This is one of the movie’s more reality-shifting ideas—to frame “The Matrix” as a new type of simulation, one that was created by Thomas Anderson inside the actual Matrix, as taken from his dreams that come from taking a blue pill daily, instead of the eye-opening red pill he took in the original 1999 film. And yet like many of the Warner Bros.-related meta redirections, it all ends up adding so very little to the bigger picture.  

“The Matrix Resurrections” brings back the love story of Trinity (Carrie Anne Moss) and Neo, our two cyber heroes whose romantic connection gave the earlier films a sense of desperation larger than the apocalypse at hand. But here, they do not know each other, even though Thomas’ video character Trinity looks a lot like Moss. In this world, she’s a customer in a Simulatte coffee shop named Tiffany that he’s hesitant to talk to, in particular because she has kids and a husband named Chad (played by Chad Stahelski ). Reeves and Moss are both invested in this whimsical arc about fated lovers, but the movie plays too much into this nostalgia as well, relying on our emotions from the past movies to largely care about why they should be together.  

The movie’s greatest stake is in the mind of Thomas, one that's been having daydreams that are clips from the "Matrix" movies, while sitting in a bathtub with a rubber ducky on his head. He receives some guidance from his therapist, played by Neil Patrick Harris , who tries to make sense of the break from reality that previously had Thomas attempting to walk off a roof, thinking he could fly. Harris’ part should remain a mystery, but let’s say it’s an unexpected role that does get you to take him seriously, including how he analyzes our own understanding of “The Matrix.” Meanwhile, it becomes apparent that just as Morpheus is a little different than we remember, there’s a new version of big baddie Smith, played by Jonathan Groff , trying to imitate Hugo Weaving ’s slithering line-delivering that comes from a tightly clenched jaw. There are also copies of agents that take over bodies and wear impeccable suits and ties, chasing after the good guys. 

Plenty of Matrixing is in store once Thomas believes Morpheus, but it's more fun to witness in the movie than for anyone to explain in detail. But it includes the feeling of Thomas going back to where it all began, including a training sequence in which Reeves and Abdul-Mateen II do a rendition of the dojo scene in “The Matrix,” only this time Neo leaves with a different power that requires less movement. And as part of Neo’s journey back down the rabbit hole, there’s a breakneck, candy-colored fight sequence on a speeding train, in which Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer ’s blitzing score seems to be powering the locomotive. 

Expositional philosophizing is also a part of the “Matrix” experience, and there’s a great line here from one of the film’s villains about fear and desire being the two human modes (you can practically imagine the line scribbled in Wachowski’s notebook). But these wordy passages also conceal the movie trying to move the goal posts, that the rules of the Matrix can change however its saga about cyber messiahs needs it to keep making sequels. And while the apocalyptic, real world action has always been less exciting than the stylized anarchy up in the Matrix, that gap of intrigue is felt even more here. Behind the screens, with Neo, Trinity, and others plugged in, certain returning members of the underground land of Zion like Niobe ( Jada Pinkett Smith, aged forward) try and fail to convince you that this story absolutely needs to be told, and that THIS is the ultimate world-saving chapter, even though the franchise no longer feels dangerous. That latter note becomes all the more obvious when “The Matrix Resurrections” gives us a micro, cutesy, fist-bumping descendant of the sentinel machines that used to rip human beings to shreds.  

It’s the action that proves to be the purest element here, robust and snazzy—for years we have been watching directors imitate what Wachowski did with her sister Lilly with “The Matrix” films, and now we can get caught up again in her fast-paced action that marries kung fu with acrobatic gunplay, often in lush slow motion. For all of this movie’s cheesy talk about bullet-time (almost killing the fun of being in awe of it), “The Matrix Resurrections” doubles up with certain scenes that combine two different slow-motion speeds in the same frame, painting some exhilarating, big-budget frescos with dozens of flying extras and hundreds of bullets. The film’s grand finale is an action gem, as it thrives on how much adrenaline you can get from layering multiple big explosions as things suddenly crash into frame, all during a high-speed chase.  

And yet once the adrenaline from a sequence like that wears off, you can’t help but think about the guy who sat near Steven Soderbergh on an airplane and watched a clip show of explosive action scenes , virtually making the director want to quit filmmaking back in 2013. There’s incredible merit in the action seen in “The Matrix Resurrections,” but those aren’t the elements that free the mind of the medium like bold storytelling, like “The Matrix” preached and then became a game-changing classic, only to become a docket for satisfying shareholders. Blue pill or red pill? It doesn’t matter anymore; they’re both placebos.  

Available in theaters and on HBO Max tomorrow.

Nick Allen

Nick Allen is the Senior Editor at and a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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Film credits.

The Matrix Resurrections movie poster

The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

Rated R for violence and some language.

148 minutes

Keanu Reeves as Thomas A. Anderson / Neo

Carrie-Anne Moss as Tiffany / Trinity

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Morpheus

Jonathan Groff as Smith

Jessica Henwick as Bugs

Neil Patrick Harris as The Analyst

Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe

Priyanka Chopra as Sati

Christina Ricci as Gwyn de Vere

  • Lana Wachowski

Writer (based on characters created by)

  • Lilly Wachowski
  • David Mitchell
  • Aleksandar Hemon


  • Daniele Massaccesi
  • Joseph Jett Sally
  • Johnny Klimek

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Where does The Matrix Resurrections rank against the rest of the films in the groundbreaking series?

Across all of movie history, it is hard to think of a collection of films more eclectic than those that make up the Matrix series. It remains a powerful vision from Lana and Lilly Wachowski whose work across multiple films proved to be ambitious and creative in ways that no one had ever experienced anything like up until then. They challenged the form and created a cinematic language all their own. Full of experimentation and storytelling that captured the imagination of audiences, there has never been a series quite like it and likely never will be.

Continuing in that tradition is the newest film, The Matrix Resurrections , which sees Lana going solo as director to revisit the world more than 20 years after it began. Initial reactions have already praised the film and provided a unique opportunity to see where it all fits in with the rest of the series. While no Matrix film is quite the same as the other and all have something unique about them, there are still ones that work better than others. This ranking will break down those high and low points, ranking the series from worst to best.

RELATED: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II on ‘The Matrix Resurrections,’ Why Filming Was a Mind-Bending Experience & Black Manta’s Role in ‘Aquaman 2’

5. The Matrix Revolutions

We must begin where the original series ended with The Matrix Revolutions . By no means a bad movie, it still is the weakest entry that never quite is able to hold itself together. Much of this is not the film’s fault as it had a lot of build-up; with those high expectations came a mountain of pressure to finish strong. After all, there were two films prior that established a strong yet weighty trajectory of events that made us all want to see how it would manage to successfully come to a conclusion.

Regrettably, this conclusion is not wholly successful. Picking up right where the prior film left off, it sees Neo ( Keanu Reeves ) and Trinity ( Carrie-Anne Moss ) going on a separate mission to Machine City while the last human city of Zion tries to defend itself from an impending attack by the Sentinels. While certainly noteworthy for being the most unabashedly bombastic and chaotic of the films, it also is reduced to being the most shallow when it comes to character and emotional investment. The spectacle of the fights and the battles subsume almost all of what made the prior entries compelling in favor of going bigger.

With that being said, there are still interesting threads that get explored. The final confrontation with Agent Smith and the stakes of what it means for humanity is unshakeably engaging. The fate of Neo and Trinity, a heartfelt romantic core, is one that we deeply care about. There are many good moving parts within it, though it unfortunately got far too caught up in grandiosity rather than doing the smaller parts well. Thankfully, it wasn’t the end of the series and redemption will be found later in this ranking.

4. The Animatrix

The Animatrix is a series of animated shorts that were released between the second and third films in the series. It builds on much of the main story, filling in gaps and history of how the world became the way it was. However, there are also shorts that go in their own direction and expand the story outward in order to deepen the narrative. There is everything from samurai simulations to detective noir, creating a series of experiences that are also able to stand on their own two feet by carving out their own vibrant independent visions.

Much of this is due to the fact that there is an assortment of animation styles that create variety and depth of vision. In particular, Part I and Part II of The Second Renaissance short have some of the most arresting visuals as they explore the events that led up to the war. Often graphic, they still help to explain what led to humanity’s downfall in haunting fashion. There also is the standout short Program that delves into some of the deeper questions about what is lost when leaving the simulation and the impact that can have on you. The shorts aren’t afraid to tackle these more weighty themes, ensuring they remain worth watching.

With that being said, there are still some shorts that are not quite as good as the others. In particular, the Final Flight of the Osiris shows that not every short is successful in what it was trying to. This short has animation that is the least aesthetically dynamic and often appears stiff, even clunky. Beyond that, the short is one that charts a narrative path that is quite tame and uncertain compared to many of the others. However, missteps like these still represent a low point compared to the rest of the mostly great shorts.

3. The Matrix Reloaded

The second entry in the series, The Matrix Reloaded is the film that gets the most undue hate for how good it really is. Much of the reason for this seems to be that it delves into more of the heady ideas bouncing around the first film, a narrative choice that left some feeling cold. However, the film looking inward as well as outward is what makes it all work. The series has always been about the inner mind and the film’s grappling with more of what is going on underneath the surface still draws you in. The uncertainty about what the cost will be of Neo continuing on his path is undeniably intriguing.

There also is the best action sequence in the series, a statement that is truly saying something when considering what company it is in . The chase scene where Trinity and Morpheus ( Laurence Fishburne ) break their only rule by going onto the dangerous setting of the highway is truly outstanding. The Wachowskis spared no expense, wrecking hundreds of cars and shooting on a 1.4-mile three-lane highway that production actually built. The work paid off as it still holds up incredibly well due to its commitment to using a lot of practical effects. The fact that Neo is not there for most of it makes it much more dire as both Trinity and Morpheus must hold their own against overwhelming odds.

It is the highest point in the film as there are some parts that aren’t quite as well-executed. Neo’s fight with the swarm of Agent Smiths has the potential to really be great though it is hard not to see the silliness and cracks in the effects that were available at the time. However, the film makes up for it in other sequences, like Neo and Morpheus trapped in a hallway, a litany of Smiths attacking them. Through strategic cuts and construction of the scene, the film does a far better job of crafting a convincing illusion. While not the very height of the series, it more than earns its place in the top three.

RELATED: 'The Matrix Resurrections' Proves It's Worth Returning to the Well for Love | Review

2. The Matrix Resurrections

That brings us to the long-awaited and newest entry in the series, The Matrix Resurrections . Much of the strengths of the film lie in the first act where we see Reeves revisiting a character and situation that all feels oddly familiar. Without giving too much away, the film takes a refreshing approach to making a sequel by weaving in both reflection and playfulness in equal measure. It is a deeply meta experience, though not in a way that exists solely to wink to the camera. While still being incredibly funny in how it breaks down the barriers between fiction and reality, a fitting thing for a Matrix film to do, it also allows director Lana Wachowski to reflect on the legacy of her own work.

The film creates a clever yet cheeky narrative reason to acknowledge the existence of a fictional story that Reeves’ character must now make a sequel to. The scenes where a room bounces around ideas and throws out all the different thoughts about what the original must have meant is a way for the film to deconstruct what makes it all tick. It is irreverent and playful while establishing a more measured meditation on what it means for Lana herself to take up this story again. It is here that the film finds trepidation, excitement, and ultimately peace with what the material all means. It is a moving personal work that is surprisingly emotional in how it speaks to what it means to be a creator.

There are certainly some worthy criticisms. Much of the action is less noteworthy than in the previous films and there are some big moments of exposition that drag things down. However, the performances of the new and old cast are all outstanding as they take the story on as their own. There are breathtaking visuals that make the series as imaginative as it has ever been since the original. The care built for the characters and their world is what still holds it together, helping to smooth over any struggles the narrative may have. It is most certainly not going to work for everyone, though it never tries to as it follows its own path as only a Matrix film can. It sets a high bar for what a sequel can do, outdone only by the one that started it all.

1. The Matrix

There could only be one pick for this top spot and it always had to go to the original The Matrix . Even after all these years, it still is impossible not to appreciate how groundbreaking and inventive this film was. It remains an expansive piece of cinema that redefined what was possible for filmmakers when it came out and beyond. In the history of the film, it marks a dividing line where everything changed after its release. It isn’t just that it introduced us to the world and the characters, it is that it did it so well. It is tightly constructed and meticulous while also still being incredibly enjoyable to watch. It does everything that it needs to by making the most of all the resources available at the time.

It isn’t just one thing that makes it so comprehensively great. It's all of it: the narrative about questioning our own existence that upends our notions of reality, the use of slow-motion to capture stunning scenes, the incredibly well-constructed sense of scope in every frame, and the action that blew us away by breaking all the rules. Even the moments that feel cheesy are far from dated, carried by a cast who give their all and completely draw you into the story. There isn’t a single wrong step as it remains the best film of its era to which all cinema owes a debt.

Even as many of the successive entries have done a solid job of capturing the look and feel of it, there will never be as pure a vision as this original film. The multiple readings and analysis that keeps bringing viewers back is a testament to this as it takes quite a remarkable work to impact people so thoroughly. It is overflowing with entertainment and excitement while still packing a deeper emotional landscape that will forever resonate with those feeling lost in their own world. There aren’t many films that remain perfect in every single way imaginable, but The Matrix can count itself as one of those few that genuinely is.

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Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Resurrections.

The Matrix Resurrections review – drained of life by the Hollywood machine

Keanu Reeves is back as cyberpunk icon Neo but fans of the original will find this cynical reboot a bitter pill to swallow

E ighteen 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.

The first Matrix was a brilliant, prescient sci-fi action thriller that in 1999 presented us with Keanu Reeves as a computer hacker codenamed “Neo”, stumbling across the apparent activity of a police state whose workings he scarcely suspected. Charismatic rebel Trinity ( Carrie-Anne Moss ) brings Neo to the mysterious figure of Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) who offers our reluctant hero one of the most famous choices in modern cinema: the blue pill or the red pill. The first will allow Neo back into his torpid quasi-contentment, the second will irreversibly reveal to him the truth about all existence. He swallows the red and discovers all our lives exist in a digitally fabricated, illusory world, while our comatose bodies are milked for their energies in giant farms by our machine overlords.

A vivacious and underrated sequel, The Matrix Reloaded , appeared in 2003 and later in the same year The Matrix Revolutions, in which the idea ran definitively out of steam: the awful truth was that the drab “reality” in which the rebels were fighting their tedious intergalactic war against these machines looked like Battlefield Earth , the dire sci-fi movie starring John Travolta.

But the red pill and the blue pill was an irresistible meme gifted to political discourse at the dawn of the online age. Christopher Nolan’s Inception was surely influenced by The Matrix and when Succession ’s digital media baron Lukas Matsson, played by Alexander Skarsgård, contemptuously compares social media users to Roman slaves, he is echoing ideas touted by the original film. Jeff Orlowski’s documentary The Social Dilemma , about social media serfdom, comes with Matrix-esque imagery – and Mark Zuckerberg is attempting to craft a new digital world called Meta. Moreover Lilly Wachowski, the original’s co-director, has intriguingly discussed the world of Matrix and its relevance to the dissenting politics of gender.

The fourth movie wittily begins by showing us Neo in haggard and depressed middle age, operating under his normal name Thomas Anderson: he is an award-winning but burnt-out game programmer. But there are weird eruptions from within his alt.reality: an activist called Bugs (Jessica Henwick) tries to make contact with him, along with a renegade government agent (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who has assumed the persona of Morpheus. Meanwhile, Thomas’s obnoxious billionaire employer Smith (Jonathan Groff) seems a parallel version of the sinister Agent Smith played by Hugo Weaving in the original films. But Thomas’s analyst ( Neil Patrick Harris ) is on hand to assure him that this is all just his imagination. But is it? And is Thomas still deeply in love with Trinity, whom he sees every day in his local coffee shop?

Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss.

In some ways, The Matrix Resurrections has a degree of charm as a love story of middle age, and usually returning action franchises give their ageing male lead a younger female co-star. Not here: it’s a pleasure to see Moss return, but a shame to see her given so little interesting to do. The Matrix is an idea that is most exciting when it is starting to come apart: when there is a glitch. But the franchise is now a glitch-less narrative: we basically know all about the illusion and the “Battlefield Earth” reality out there in space which is where we are largely marooned: a huge, dispiriting crepuscular ruined cityscape glowing at its rocky edges, like the Verneian interior of a volcano. And the nature of the machines’ thinking and their motivations is not really solved by this fourth film, despite some playful new ideas about whether some of them are disloyal to their side. Lambert Wilson’s character The Merovingian, a veteran of the Machine War, returns, ranting enjoyably about the superiority of art, music and pre-digital conversation.

Really, Resurrections doesn’t do much to remove the anticlimax that hung like a cloud over the cinema auditorium at the end of the third film in 2003. This movie is set up to initiate a possible new series, but there is no real creative life in it. Where the original film was explosively innovatory, this is just another piece of IP, an algorithm of unoriginality.

  • Science fiction and fantasy films
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Lana Wachowski
  • Neil Patrick Harris

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Matrix Reboot Directed By Danny Boyle Looks Perfect After The Director's New Project

Posted: November 11, 2023 | Last updated: November 11, 2023

  • The Matrix franchise's recent installment, The Matrix Resurrections, failed to revive the series' former glory both critically and commercially, leaving fans uncertain about the franchise's future.
  • Danny Boyle, known for his visionary direction and diverse body of work, has reimagined The Matrix for the stage in a contemporary dance expression titled Free Your Mind, showcasing his ability to push creative boundaries.
  • Boyle's refreshing vision for the stage show, along with his understanding of artificial intelligence, non-binary casting, and environmental themes, makes him the perfect director for a Matrix reboot that resonates with today's societal concerns and provokes meaningful dialogue.

The Matrix franchise, despite its revolutionary special effects and philosophical overtones, has struggled to stay relevant, and an answer to the problem could come in the form of Danny Boyle. 2021's The Matrix Resurrections fell short of reviving the series' former glory. Critically and commercially, it was deemed a letdown, unable to recapture the innovative spirit or box office dominance of its predecessors (via Box Office Mojo ). This apparent stagnation left fans questioning The Matrix 5 and the series' future, as no clear direction seemed to be on the horizon for the once-iconic franchise. Amidst this uncertainty, the need for a fresh perspective to steer the Matrix narrative into a new age has never been more apparent.

Danny Boyle emerges as a beacon of visionary direction in this landscape of sequel-fatigued cinema. His eclectic body of work spans the gritty realism of Trainspotting to the heartwarming rags-to-riches tale of Slumdog Millionaire , all of which have cemented his status as an influential filmmaker. Beyond the silver screen, Boyle's ingenuity shines through his work on grand spectacles, such as the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony, showcasing his versatility and flair for blending storytelling with immersive experiences. Now, Boyle's stage spectacle has collided with cinema in a new project, and it's the very reason why the filmmaker should helm a Matrix reboot.

RELATED: The Matrix Ending, Explained

Danny Boyle Has Created A Matrix Stage Show

Free your mind is an interpretive dance reimagining of the matrix.

Almost a quarter of a century after the Wachowski sisters' original film bent minds and genres, Danny Boyle has reimagined The Matrix for the stage , an ambitious project that comes to life at Manchester's avant-garde Aviva Studios (via BBC ). This adaptation, which plays in the UK's most significant new cultural venue in years, is not just a reenactment but a re-envisioning of the classic story. Boyle's rendition, titled Free Your Mind , eschews a traditional narrative for a contemporary dance expression , capturing the film's essence and themes in an entirely new medium. This bold endeavor reflects Boyle's drive to push creative boundaries and his keen insight into the film's relevance.

RELATED: 8 Big Questions The Matrix 5 Could Answer

Danny Boyle's Matrix Remake Makes Him The Perfect Director For A Reboot

Boyle's refreshing vision for the stage show has so much potential for a new matrix movie.

Boyle's proven track record of thought-provoking storytelling and his ability to engage audiences on a visual and intellectual level makes him uniquely qualified to guide the Matrix franchise back into the cultural conversation. However, it's Boyle's own insightful comments on his vision of the Matrix reimagining that make the potential of a Boyle-helmed Matrix reboot so exciting. The filmmaker commented:

"There's the role of artificial intelligence in our lives, and how it's growing, and what that does to our perception of questions [about] whether we are free or not, for those who believe very deeply in the Matrix conspiracy that we are already part of the machine," he says. There's the non-binary nature of the casting of the film, which has swum into focus over the 20 years. That was as much as they could do then - cast an incredibly feminine action movie star, and mix the genders as much as they could... And obviously there's climate change, about man's destruction of the sky - that we scorched the sky."

Boyle's insight into the evolving role of artificial intelligence reflects an understanding of freedom in the digital age, setting the stage for a reboot that interrogates the world's entanglement with technology. His approach to non-binary casting and diversity transcends tokenism too, echoing the original's progressive values while aligning with contemporary narratives. Boyle has signaled a commitment to inclusivity that could define a new Matrix. Additionally, his acute awareness of environmental themes - recognizing humanity's ecological footprint as a central Matrix motif - ensures that a reboot under his guidance would not only entertain but provoke dialogue on current global issues. The filmmaker's vision for Free Your Mind hints at a film that resonates with today's societal concerns.

Why A Matrix Reboot Is Better Than Matrix 5

The matrix resurrections struggled under the weight of its own legacy.

The tepid response to The Matrix Resurrections made it clear that a simple continuation is insufficient to reinvigorate the franchise. The Matrix Resurrections cast was missing some key players, and there was a significant lack of innovative storytelling that had defined the earlier films. Visual effects that once had audiences flocking to theaters felt retreated rather than reinvented. The narrative also struggled under the weight of its own legacy, leaning heavily on nostalgia with callbacks to past glories rather than forging new ground. This reliance on the past was epitomized by its meta-commentary on the nature of sequels and reboots, which, while intellectually stimulating, often came across as too self-indulgent.

In light of these shortcomings, a complete reboot helmed by a visionary like Danny Boyle could be the resurgence the franchise needs. Boyle's propensity for diving deep into themes of identity, technology, and societal structures, coupled with his innovative approach to filmmaking, could provide a fresh and engaging take on the Matrix mythos. Instead of treading a delicate line between sequel and new narrative as The Matrix Resurrections did, The Matrix reboot could stand independently. It could offer a new interpretation that reflects the technological and socio-political landscapes of the modern era, delivering the revival the franchise deserves.

Matrix Reboot Directed By Danny Boyle Looks Perfect After The Director's New Project

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Every Matrix Movie Ranked, According to Critics

With The Matrix Resurrections finally out, how does the eagerly anticipated sequel compare to the rest of the groundbreaking film franchise?

One of the most groundbreaking, stylish science fiction film series is The Matrix , created and helmed by the Wachowskis and starring Keanu Reeves as Neo, humanity's powerful savior against the sentient machines. Featuring a desperate war between the last vestiges of the human race and the machines, with the eponymous digital reality serving as their battlefield, the story of Neo and his fellow freedom fighters seemingly came to a definitive end with 2003's The Matrix Revolutions . However, over 25 years after the Matrix trilogy concluded, Lana Wachowski has returned with most of the main cast for the revival film The Matrix Resurrections to continue the story.

With The Matrix Resurrections now in theaters everywhere and streaming on HBO Max , here is the definitive ranking of all the feature films released in  The   Matrix series; the animated short film collection The Animatrix is not included. Films are ranked in ascending order, with scores achieved by averaging professional critics' scores from review aggregate sites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

RELATED:  The Matrix Awakens Is Bigger Than a Standard Tech Demo

4. The Matrix Revolutions - 41

Filmed back-to-back with its immediate predecessor, The Matrix Reloaded , The Matrix Revolutions was released in November 2003 and resolved the previous film's cliffhanger ending. While Agent Smith rapidly grows out of control in the Matrix, the machines' army finally strikes at the last human bastion of Zion, prompting explosive showdowns both in the real world and the digital realm as Neo scrambles to save the day.

The most critically lambasted Matrix film by a considerable margin, reviewers felt that The Matrix Revolutions did not deliver on the expectations set by its predecessor, with major characters perceived as being lost in the shuffle to hustle to the finale. While the special effects were lauded, critics felt the climactic final battle rang hollow and eschewed the existential philosophies presented by its predecessors for an unengaging mech fight and slugging match in the rain.

3. The Matrix Resurrections - 67.5

As it currently stands, The Matrix Resurrections is on par critically with The Matrix Reloaded , though its average may change as more reviews for the fourth Matrix film continue to be tabulated. Resurrections reimagines and remixes Neo and Trinity's romance at the heart of the latest iteration of the Matrix and the familiar faces on both sides of the war between humanity and the machines.

While critics praised The Matrix Resurrections for its gorgeous cinematography and visual effects, as well as subverting some of the expectations associated with the wider franchise, they were less unanimous on the film's relevance. More specifically, several reviewers have opined that Resurrections brings little originality and excitement to the series while observing it is overlong and uneven in its execution and pacing.

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2. The Matrix Reloaded - 67.5

After the breakout success of The Matrix , expectations were riding high for its sequels, filmed concurrently in 2001 and 2002. The Matrix Reloaded marked a return to the world the Wachowskis created, released in May 2003 and taking place approximately six months after the original film. As Neo adjusted to his role as the prophesied savior of humanity, he and his friends came across the truth behind the Matrix and the rogue programs operating in its digital shadows.

While critics praised the ambitious action set pieces and added emphasis on existential philosophy over its predecessor, they felt the emotional resonance and character development was largely lost in the shuffle. Criticism was also levied at the perceived bloated pacing and self-indulgent sequences in the sequel, with an extended rave in Zion widely cited as one of the more head-scratching moments in The Matrix Reloaded .

1. The Matrix - 80.5

Far and away still recognized as the best in the film series, The Matrix set a high watermark for special effects and action sequences upon its initial release in 1999, with countless imitators taking cues from its slow-motion flourishes and gun kata set pieces. The original film saw unassuming hacker Thomas Anderson discovering he has been living in a digital reality all his life and is destined to save humanity from the sentient machines behind the illusion.

While contemporary critics felt the film was overlong and lost sight of its message amidst all the freewheeling action sequences, The Matrix 's influence was immediately felt throughout the film industry, with many subsequent action movies emulating its style while the film itself set the bar for visual effects ahead of the wave of effects-driven superhero movies that audiences now enjoy today.

KEEP READING:  Matrix 4: Keanu Reeves and Carrie Ann-Moss' Skyscraper Leap Isn’t CG, Took 20 Takes

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Intense, but many teens will be able to handle it.

The Matrix Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

"Reality" may not be what you think it is. If you'

Morpheus tells Neo he's "the One" who was prophesi

The film casts actors of different races and ethni

Many fight sequences involving knives, guns, kicks

Brief scene with scantily clad characters, cleavag

"S--t" and "goddamn" many times. Also "ass," a--ho

The Oracle smokes, one character has a drink.

Parents need to know that The Matrix is an exciting, sometimes confusing, sci-fi adventure with a brooding Keanu Reeves and a mysterious Laurence Fishburne at it center. It's heavy on special effects and has a lot of action violence (some of it pretty gross, including an icky bug that enters the hero's body…

Positive Messages

"Reality" may not be what you think it is. If you're called to save others, you have a choice to accept or reject a destiny that others tell you that you have. Never give up, even against great odds in an ever-changing reality. Teamwork is important for winning.

Positive Role Models

Morpheus tells Neo he's "the One" who was prophesied to end the war between machines and humans. Neo accepts his destiny, trains hard and makes tough, brave choices. Morpheus looks out for Neo and at one point sacrifices himself to protect him. Trinity believes Neo is “the One” more than he does. She becomes his main ally and teammate.

Diverse Representations

The film casts actors of different races and ethnicities. While it has a few female characters, they're in supporting roles, sidekicks to the two leading men. Though the film is about a global calamity, all the characters are American. The character of Switch is androgynous, originally scripted as trans . Behind the camera, the film was written and directed by sisters who are transgender -- Lana and Lilly Wachowski.

Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.

Violence & Scariness

Many fight sequences involving knives, guns, kicks, punches. Deaths during battle scenes. An icky bug enters the hero's body through his belly button.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.

Sex, Romance & Nudity

Brief scene with scantily clad characters, cleavage, passionate kissing.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

"S--t" and "goddamn" many times. Also "ass," a--hole," "hell," "crap" and "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" used as exclamations.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Matrix is an exciting, sometimes confusing, sci-fi adventure with a brooding Keanu Reeves and a mysterious Laurence Fishburne at it center. It's heavy on special effects and has a lot of action violence (some of it pretty gross, including an icky bug that enters the hero's body through his belly button) and strong language ("s--t," "goddamn," "crap," etc.). Most teens should be able to handle it without a problem, though the plot can be confusing as it unfolds.

Parents need to know that The Matrix is an exciting, if sometimes confusing, sci-fi adventure written and directed by sisters Lana and Lilly Wachowski. It stars a brooding Keanu Reeves , a mysterious Laurence Fishburne , and a strong Carrie-Anne Moss . It's heavy on special effects and has lots of action violence including many gun fights. There are also gross elements, including an icky bug that enters the hero's body through his belly button and strong language ("s--t," "goddamn," "crap," etc.). The film emphasizes perseverance and teamwork. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .

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Community Reviews

  • Parents say (81)
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Based on 81 parent reviews

Confusing for kids

Great fun movie, what's the story.

In THE MATRIX, Keanu Reeves stars as Neo, a computer programmer with a sideline as a hacker, who gets mysterious messages that lead him to Morpheus ( Laurence Fishburne ), leader of a ragtag group that lives aboard a rocket-style craft. It turns out that it's not 1999 but about 100 years into the future. All of humanity has been turned into a source of energy to keep machines "alive." The Matrix is a massive computer program that has the humans believing that they are still living in a world that has actually been destroyed. Special agents, led by Smith ( Hugo Weaving ), seek out Morpheus and his followers to destroy them.

Is It Any Good?

This film is heavy on special effects and brooding paranoia, light on plot, dialogue, character, and even coherence. THE MATRIX challenges what's real and what's part of an elaborate, fake cyber-reality, so it can be confusing for both the audience and the characters in the movie. But it's certainly an ideal pick for the kind of teen who wishes that video games could come to life. Though it's rated R for violence (some pretty gross, including an icky bug that enters the hero's body through his belly button) and language, most teens 14 and up who are begging to see it should be able to handle it without a problem.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about the relationship between humans and machines. Why was the first Matrix program, creating the perception of a utopia-like society, unacceptable to the humans?

What do you think of the violence in The Matrix ? Is it too much or appropriate to the story?

How well do you think The Matrix deals with the philosophical issues it raises, such as destiny vs. free will and loyalty vs. self-interest?

Movie Details

  • In theaters : March 31, 1999
  • On DVD or streaming : September 21, 1999
  • Cast : Carrie-Anne Moss , Keanu Reeves , Laurence Fishburne
  • Directors : Lilly Wachowski , Lana Wachowski
  • Inclusion Information : Female directors, Transgender directors, Female actors, Asian actors, Polynesian/Pacific Islander actors, Black actors
  • Studio : Warner Bros.
  • Genre : Science Fiction
  • Topics : Magic and Fantasy , Adventures , Robots , Science and Nature , Space and Aliens
  • Run time : 136 minutes
  • MPAA rating : R
  • MPAA explanation : sci-fi violence and brief language.
  • Last updated : October 22, 2023

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The Matrix Resurrections First Reviews: Packed with Nostalgia but Exciting in New Ways

Critics say the sequel focuses on a few core elements and touches on what made the original so spectacular, even if it could never match the first film's impact..

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Whoa! Neo is back in the first Matrix movie in 18 years, and it just might be the best sequel yet. The first reviews of The Matrix Resurrections are mostly favorable, acknowledging that it’s less interested in innovation than emphasizing what truly works in the franchise: the romance.

Yes, Trinity ( Carrie Anne-Moss ) is back as well, and her chemistry with Keanu Reeves as Neo is said to be one of the highlights of this meta-nostalgic revival. Whether he rest — from its philosophical themes to its action scenes — is serviceable or satisfying is still up for debate.

Here’s what critics are saying about The Matrix Resurrections :

How does it compare to the original?

It’s constantly engaging, thoughtful, and challenging in all of the best ways the original Matrix ever was. – Sean Mulvihill, FanboyNation
As excitingly fresh and ambitious as The Matrix was in its approach to cyberpunk cinema in 1999, The Matrix Resurrections is just as devoted to its bold and disruptive vision in 2021. – Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine
The Matrix Resurrections goes back to the integral source code that made the original so captivating. – Julian Roman, MovieWeb
This is a resurrection of the excitement and sense of wonder we felt when we watched the first Matrix . – Sherin Nicole,
Where the original film was explosively innovatory, this is just another piece of IP, an algorithm of unoriginality. – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

What about the two previous sequels?

It’s better than the sequels . – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy
Resurrections is easily better than the last two installments . – Kirsten Acuna, Insider
Will satisfy fans and critics in a way  Matrix Reloaded  and  Revolutions  didn’t . – Patricia Puentes, Ask
If you’re in the much smaller club that believes the sequels were under-appreciated examples of brainy myth-making, it’s possible  Resurrections  will break your heart . – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix Resurrections

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

Does it have its own identity?

It’s great to see this new film establish a visual fluency all its own amidst the wafts of nostalgia . – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction
What you get that’s new this time around is the overall look of the movie… Resurrections  feels much warmer, with plenty of oranges and reds interspersed, that make the eventual heart of the film beat that much stronger . – Germain Lussier,
Through its clever flashbacks and callbacks,  The Matrix Resurrections  takes moments that are very familiar and makes them entirely new . – Sean Mulvihill, FanboyNation
It’s not servicing fans. It’s in service of itself… There is value in looking back as long as that experience moves you forward . – Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine
Even though  The Matrix Resurrections  is a nostalgia-filled homage that wouldn’t work without the franchise’s three previous movies, this new installment still manages to be fresh and original in its own way . – Patricia Puentes, Ask
The movie is in love with the previous movies, but in a sort of defiant way. Lana seems to be saying, “Oh, you liked the previous movies? HERE THEN, HAVE THEM!”  – Tom Santilli, Movie Show Plus
This one largely eschews innovation. Rather, Resurrections takes comfort in the familiar . – Peter Debruge, Variety

Does it have something important to say?

Without being dogmatic or contrived, the writers pack a lot into their characters’ conversations… about free will, how a story never ends, the limits of reality . – Patricia Puentes, Ask
The plot, slight as it is, creates a frame on which Wachowski can hang a lot of indignation . – Hope Madden, MaddWolf
You get a real sense that Lana has something very important to say, and she’s pissed off about it . – Tom Santilli, Movie Show Plus
You begin to wonder if this movie is about anything or if it’ll just be two-plus hours of Wachowski trolling . – Robert Daniels, The Playlist

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Resurrections

Is it self-aware?

The Matrix Resurrection s is well-aware that it has a lot to prove and its level of meta might be too much for some. I dug it, though . – Germain Lussier,
This tongue-in-cheek approach adds a dose of levity to a franchise that had previously been consumed by darkness . – Julian Roman, MovieWeb
Not since Mary Martin’s Peter Pan implored a generation of young Americans to clap for a near-death Tinkerbell has there been a production with quite this level of fourth-wall-breaking earnestness . – Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine
To some, the over-referencing and meta nature will be seen as a double-edged sword… The Matrix Resurrections  forces the audience to question the entire purpose of the franchise . – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

How is the action?

The action sequences are reliably captivating and despite the film’s meandering plot, combination of tones, and heady sci-fi, it clips along as an entertaining spectacle . – Drew Gregory, Autostraddle
The Matrix Resurrections sticks with slick wirework, wicked martial arts choreography, and ferocious gunplay. Action junkies will get a fix and a half here . – Julian Roman, MovieWeb
The action doesn’t entirely live up to the originals, but how could it? – Hope Madden, MaddWolf
The choreography is still strong overall, but can’t help but miss that original feel . – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate
There’s probably more action here than in the original film. But many of the scenes, though large in scale and scope, feel redundant . – Kirsten Acuna, Insider
The absence of fight choreographer Yuen Woo-ping is deeply felt whenever Resurrections goes in for close hand-to-hand combat — moments that recall the cut-to-shreds chaos cinema of Jerry Bruckheimer and Tony Scott . – Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine
The filmmaking isn’t as clear or exciting, not as innovative as it once was; too many cuts mired in a darkness . – Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine

The Matrix Resurrections

What about the romance?

Resurrections is a love story at its core… This time you feel two old lovers and friends reuniting after years apart, and it just works . – Hannah Lodge, Screen Rex
Compared to the relatively sexless blockbusters we’re used to, it’s refreshing to see [Neo and Trinity’s] romance front and center . – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy
The Matrix Resurrections  is primarily focused on the bond between Neo and Trinity, which serves as the emotional core of the film and forces the audience to reexamine the original trilogy in that same light . – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate
Its emphasis on the romance between Neo and Trinity allows Resurrections to become a devastatingly sincere movie about how love is the best weapon we have to make sense of a world that fills our heads with the white noise of war and conflict on a forever loop . – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

Do Reeves and Moss still have chemistry?

When Reeves and Moss are on screen together their unmistakable chemistry rekindles hot enough to warm a city . – Robert Daniels, The Playlist
Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are electric together on screen… Spectacular . – Julian Roman, MovieWeb
The audience can’t help but swoon anytime they’re on screen together. – Germain Lussier,
There’s never a moment where you doubt their starry-eyed fondness for each other. – Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine

Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix Resurrections

So it’s great to have Moss back as Trinity?

Carrie-Anne Moss is still a force of nature. – Hope Madden, MaddWolf
She’s excellent. Badass, striking and with an underlying yearning she’s able to nearly beam at you. – Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine
It’s a pleasure to see Moss return, but a shame to see her given so little interesting to do . – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
Carrie-Ann Moss’ screen time is comparable to Zendaya’s in WB’s Dune … which is a shame because the duo’s scenes are easily the film’s best . – Kirsten Acuna, Insider

Are there any standouts among the new cast?

As much as we’d have loved to see Laurence Fishburne back as Morpheus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is a superb replacement . – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy
It’s Jessica Henwick who threatens to run away with the entire show. She is a revelation, imbuing her character with warmth, strength and assured intelligence . – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction
Jessica Henwick’s Bugs is the single most electric addition to the franchise since the original . – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

How is the pacing?

The film’s pacing makes sense because it mirrors the first film like poetry… It feels like the movie wraps just as it finally ramps up and gets going . – Kirsten Acuna, Insider
It’s too long, but all of them are . – Hope Madden, MaddWolf

Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix Resurrections

Will we want to see it more than once?

This is, even more than the first three movies, a film built for repeat viewing . – Germain Lussier,
I’m excited to see what unfolds in second and third viewings of  Resurrections . – Hannah Lodge, Screen Rex

Will it make us want more Matrix movies?

As much as the movie is self-aware of its status as a legacyquel, it definitely sets the pieces on the board for this to act as a soft reboot for further movies . – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy
If this is the start of a new trilogy, you can count me in . – Sean Mulvihill, FanboyNation
There’s nothing here to inspire hope that, should Warners or whomever insist on more sequels, they’d be worth seeing . – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

The Matrix Resurrections is in theaters on December 24, 2021.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News .

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TikTok film showcases folklore in Western Sydney's Maltese community

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Most people are used to getting their TV fix from the couch, staring at a plasma.

But for people under 25, most content is now being watched on the small vertical screen of a phone.

Filmmakers are trying to keep pace with younger audiences, increasingly turning to platforms like TikTok and Instagram to tell their stories.

An upcoming horror-drama series – Greystanes — will be released exclusively on TikTok in one-minute episodes.

two men, matt ferro and ryan cauchi, smile

"You have to hook an audience early online and not allow that slow burn and traditional build-up for horror that would then deliver a scare," Greystanes writer and producer Matt Ferro said.

"We went for the throat right from the beginning to show people a taste of what they have in store in future episodes."

Ferro was a producer on blockbusters like The Matrix (1999) and Happy Feet (2006) and said filmmaking for TikTok had brought a whole new set of challenges.

"We're talking about content that is within the distance of your arms. Everything is up close and personal," he said.

"That excludes the desirability of certain wide shots that would be traditionally used to show a landscape or a panorama."

Maltese culture overlooked in films 

Greystanes is set in the 1990s in the Western Sydney suburb of the same name.

Two children visit their grandmother's house where they uncover a host of dark family secrets rooted in terrifying stories from Maltese folklore.

Australia has the largest Maltese diaspora in the world – about 200,000 people, according to the 2021 Census.

But their their culture had rarely been reflected in films and on TV.

An illustration of a gremlin creature with a sack full of children

"Being a Maltese-Australian, I had never seen a Maltese person in a scripted series before," Greystanes writer and director Ryan Cauchi said.

"I've also never seen any of the unique monsters or superstitions from Maltese folklore depicted on screen."

For Cauchi, Malta is represented by idyllic Mediterranean beaches and delicious pastizzi.

The culture, he said, has a darker side — with popular tales about child-hunting demons and tunnel-dwelling beasts.

"One of the key images of Maltese mythology is the idea of another world — of alternate timelines and multiple dimensions," Cauchi said.

"Each of these cavernous realms have their own race of nightmarish monsters and beasties.

"Through portals and holes, these creatures are able to traverse through these realms."

AACTA-nominated actor, Frances Duca, is hoping the series she appears in will help share her culture with wider audiences.

"TikTok has got this immense reach globally and there would be people watching — young people — who would never have even heard of Malta," Duca said.

"It's exciting to be able to be in a series on a platform that will deliver that."

A screen shot of a woman, Frances Duca and a young girl looking distressed

The death of traditional television shows

Greystanes was co-funded by Screen Australia, TikTok and NZ On Air, through their Every Voice initiative.

Head of online at Screen Australia, Lee Naimo said vertical videos on TikTok, and Instagram will be a significant part of the film industry's future.

"Traditionally, we've seen short film as a real pathway into feature filmmaking. The reality is that that opportunity and that pathway has narrowed," Mr Naimo said.

"We would now see a web series as a more viable calling card for your career and your ability."

Screen Australia funded 15 TikTok series over the past two years through its Every Voice project.

Rather than taking over the industry, Mr Naimo said vertical video projects are likely to exist alongside traditional film and TV.

"Audiences still want to see projects on the big screen," he said.

Head of Online at Screen Australia Lee Naimo

"They want to see great content on their TV screens, on devices, and on mobile phones. I think it's just about that ecosystem of supporting Australian creators at every level."

Screen Australia said monetising content on TikTok is difficult.

Filmmakers like Ferro and Cauchi are optimistic that the platform and the industry will adapt.

"We asked the same question about musicians and streaming services," Ferro said.

"Although it might not be clear how to monetise everything yet, as TikTok develops and more and more people rely on it for more substantive content besides just funny videos … that monetisation will find itself."

Greystanes will be released on TikTok in early 2024.

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The Matrix Resurrections Is a Messy, Imperfect Triumph

Portrait of Angelica Jade Bastién

After all this time, what does the blockbuster have left to offer? At its platonic ideal, a big-budget, mass-marketed movie induces pleasure. With swift and bright characterization, it allows actors to operate in a grander register, aching to fill the space of dizzying visual landscapes around them. Bombast and awe on all fronts. Maybe it’s difficult to identify an ideal blockbuster in contemporary Hollywood, drawn as it is to weak craft, characters with little interior dimension, and an understanding of representation that reduces gender, race, and sexuality to items on a marketing checklist rather than world-building attributes of a story. This is the cinematic reality into which The Matrix Resurrections enters, over 20 years after its original incarnation debuted in 1999: A universe laden with sequels and reboots and constantly updated IP. A universe in which imagination has curdled into what can most easily be bought and sold. And yet here is Lana Wachowski, pushing back against the tired form and offering audiences something fresh, curious, and funny as hell.

Teetering between a meta-reckoning with the legacy of the first trilogy and a sincere blooming of a whole new story that feels boldly romantic, Lana Wachowski’s first solo feature is a thrilling triumph. It is impossible to overstate the influence of the previous three movies — particularly 1999’s The Matrix — on American culture, launching “red pill” into dark internet circles, prompting the kids I grew up with to nonchalantly wear latex and leather in the Miami heat, forcing action films of its time to claw upward in the direction of the Wachowski sisters’ cyberpunk-inflected aesthetic, which itself pulled from a wild array of influences. The world has changed dramatically since Neo first bent out of the way of incoming bullets, and yet The Matrix Resurrections easily makes a case for its own existence. After decades of audiences attempting to slot the franchise into one category of interpretation or another, the film argues against any imagined binary to show that beauty is found between such extremes. Wachowski builds on what of the greatest and most singular aspects of the original trilogy: its queerness.

Playing with ideas of memory and nostalgia could have led Resurrections to have a self-satisfied, airless quality. Instead, it feels emotionally expansive and intellectually sly. Much of the first act works to actively critique nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake, and how it is exploited by those in control, whether machine overlords or Hollywood studios. (“Nothing comforts anxiety like a little nostalgia,” Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Morpheus says.) Resurrections is messy and imperfect, too, often eschewing easily digestible plotting in favor of an ambitious eccentricity, a reminder that bombastic storytelling is best translated by artists who are willing to fail. From the revelatory production and set design to the warmth of the cinematography by John Toll and Daniele Massaccesi to the updated action scenes, Lana Wachowski proves how powerful a blockbuster can be in the hands of those with vision and ambition. But it’s the kind of film whose very foundation makes it tricky to discuss in depth without tracing the narrative and emotional shape of it. I recommend going into the film with an open heart, an open mind, and little knowledge of the nitty gritty turns in the story, some of which I’m about to examine. You’ve been warned.

Early in the film, inside a slick high-rise office overlooking the nearly too-perfect San Francisco skyline, a gaggle of video game developers argue about what the Matrix is an allegory for. Is it trans rights and politics? Is it capitalist exploitation? The scene has a rhythmic dexterity, as the developers volley forth opinion after opinion. It’s poised to be hilarious, and it is. Among the developers is Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves), who in this new world is a famous video-game designer who created a game called The Matrix to much acclaim. He’s a suicide survivor, having once lept from a building on a clear sunny day believing he could fly. When his business partner (Jonathan Groff) says he must design a new Matrix game despite his vowing not to, his reality starts to slip. Is he losing his mind or is the Matrix he supposedly created something more than a game?

Wachowski and co-writers David Mitchell and Aleksander Hemon play out this anxiety with a consistent intrusion of clips from the previous films, a strategy that doesn’t always work. But when it does, it’s sublime. Like in the scene where Thomas Anderson slips from this therapist’s (Neil Patrick Harris) grasp and realizes he is indeed the Neo of his video game. His memory of meeting Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne then, Abdul-Mateen II now) is projected onto a ripped projector screen that acts as a doorway, figuratively and literally. Freed from a prison once again, Neo learns it has been 60 years since he and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) traveled to the machine city, sacrificing their lives for their revolutionary cause. He must determine: Can he free Trinity, too, or is she happy in this false new world where she is a married mother of two with a penchant for motorcycles? Neo never truly believed in himself as the One, but Trinity did. How can he be what everyone believes him to be without her?

The Matrix Resurrections might lack the ground-shaking originality of its 1999 predecessor, but it manages to chart a stunning, divergent path, philosophically and cinematically. Whereas the previous Matrix films were committed to a green-dominated, cool-toned color palette, Resurrections simmers with far greater warmth — amber-hued sunlight streaming through the real world. The fight choreography, from John Wick ’s Chad Stahelski (Reeves’s Matrix stunt double, who plays Trinity’s husband in the new film), is more chaotic and rough-hewn; bodies crash into one another haphazardly, lacking the grace and fluidity Yuen Woo-ping brought to the original movies. The costume design led by Lindsay Pugh brings back gothic sensibilities with restraint, forgoing fetish wear but remaining committed to the epic-ness of flowing silhouettes. The sets are littered once again with mirrors that glisten with thematic resonance. The film commits to granting audiences joy in ways that feel primal (exceedingly hot, well-dressed people are kicking unholy amounts of ass) and earnest (Wachowski does not abandon the previous films’ core belief in hope and community building).

That joy emanates through the cast. Harris’s naturally haughty, self-satisfied miasma works perfectly. Groff is cheeky and charismatic as a rebooted version of Agent Smith, his fight scene with Neo in an abandoned building being one of the highlights of the film. Decked in finely tailored suits the color of marigolds and deep ocean waters, Abdul-Mateen II slinks and struts with the grace of a true movie star, winking at Morpheus’s love of theatrics. (The fact that Fishburne wasn’t asked to be a part of the franchise rebirth hangs over the performance, though.) Jessica Henwick exudes hope, grounding the unexpected coalition that pins the movie together. The new actors, even when they’re playing old characters, are so much more than energetic doppelgängers of the Matrix heroes and villains who came before them, absorbing well the aesthetic differences between this reboot and the trilogy.

But for all its strengths — retreading and remixing the franchise while charting a bold new course for the canon — The Matrix Resurrections would fail if it wasn’t for the chemistry of Reeves and Moss. The former has by now solidified his place as a major movie and action star several times over, seamlessly moving from tickled bewilderment to sincere fear to absolute control on screen. Watching Moss, with her cutting gaze and sharp physicality, I can’t help but mourn for the career she deserved. Together, there is an inherent optimism — about the human spirit, about the will to overcome a narrowing force — that flits open when they share a scene. It’s along the arc of Neo and Trinity’s romance that Resurrections separates itself from its recent blockbuster brethren. Behind a meta-narrative storytelling approach and all that stylistic gleam, The Matrix Resurrections is ultimately a love story — romantic, yes, and a paean to the community necessary for that romance to blossom into resistance. Wachowski is bold enough to argue that in a strategically queer-fashioned world, where boundaries break and the limits of the human body are rejected, choosing love is still a radical decision.

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The Matrix (1999)

  • Parents Guide


  • Sex & Nudity (2)
  • Violence & Gore (17)
  • Profanity (2)
  • Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking (6)
  • Frightening & Intense Scenes (5)
  • Spoilers (5)

Sex & Nudity

  • Mild 435 of 905 found this mild Severity? None 390 Mild 435 Moderate 43 Severe 37 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • A computer program meant to be distracting takes the form of an attractive woman in a form-fitting red dress. After Neo encounters her, one of his shipmates says he can arrange a more personal experience with her, at which point someone jokingly refers to him as a "digital pimp". Edit
  • Just two kissing scenes. Edit

Violence & Gore

  • Moderate 322 of 468 found this moderate Severity? None 13 Mild 74 Moderate 322 Severe 59 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • The violence is moderate to severe in impact with mostly bloodless shootouts and stylized martial arts combat that result in little to no blood although it is definitely enough to be R leveled Edit
  • An Agent is shot in the head by Trinity. There is no blood/gore Edit
  • Lots of killings with machine guns, resulting in numerous bodies and little blood. Edit
  • There are gunshot wounds on the chests and on the backs of a few people. Edit
  • One man gets zapped by a laser gun Edit
  • There are numerous martial arts fights with lots of punching and hitting. A few more intense scenes have closeups of people being punched with blood around their mouths. Edit
  • Some people get their bodies slammed against walls. Not very brutal. Edit
  • A man has a creature extracted from his navel, no blood is shown. Edit
  • Trinity throws a knife into a man's forehead during an action scene, some blood is shown if you pause in the exact moment where he collapses Edit
  • An agent is shot at an extremely close range; we don't see the impact in detail but there is a brief red mist. Edit
  • A man is shot by a lot of bullets. You briefly see the the impact. Edit
  • Neo shoots a few people at a security gate. Edit
  • When people die in the matrix, their bodies in the real world cough up blood and die as well. Edit
  • A couple of people are killed with a laser gun, we don't see much detail. Edit
  • A woman beats another man up, she face-palms him and kicks him. She dodges bullets discharged by other cops, throws a chair at one of them, shoots another, then chops/kicks the final one to the ground. It is assumed all those cops die. She flees from more cops, jumping off rooftops and crashing through windows, and runs to a pay phone in order to get out of the situation. A garbage truck plows down the phone booth but she lives. Edit
  • There is a closeup of Morpheus being shot in the leg with a tiny bit of blood spray. Not too graphic. Edit
  • A group of police officers viciously beat Morpheus and he is seen covered in dust and has blood on his face. Morpheus and Agent Smith fight briefly. Morpheus gets punched several times. Blood is seen around his mouth. Edit
  • Moderate 251 of 510 found this moderate Severity? None 33 Mild 197 Moderate 251 Severe 29 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • The songs in the end credits have some uses of the f bomb. Edit
  • All words are used alone or in combination with other words. 18 uses of shit, 6 hell, 5 damn 3 ass 1 dick, shut up, crap. Edit

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • Mild 319 of 396 found this mild Severity? None 48 Mild 319 Moderate 25 Severe 4 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • Mescaline is mentioned Edit
  • When tasked with choosing between reality or The Matrix's simulation of reality, Neo is offered two pills by Morpheus. One pill will take Neo back to his normal life in The Matrix, while the other will reveal to Neo the actual reality of The Matrix. Edit
  • Choi smokes a cigarette at the club, Dujour is seen with a drink. Edit
  • Cypher and Neo share a drink that is implied to be alcoholic based on Neo's aversive reaction. Edit
  • Cypher and Agent Smith have wine at dinner. Cypher also smokes a cigar. Edit
  • The Oracle smokes a cigarette. Edit

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • Moderate 261 of 423 found this moderate Severity? None 12 Mild 93 Moderate 261 Severe 57 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • Very bloody violence it mostly has a very light tone and is not disturbing. Scenes where security guards getting shot by machine guns have visible wounds so as the scene where Neo gets shot in the chest, bloody scenes where unconscious people spurt blood from their mouths and Cypher' death where his body gets shot with a plasma gun and as the agents shoot Morpheus as he flees, we can see the water with blood splashing Edit
  • Neo tries to escape from the FBI by climbing out of a window and walking on a very narrow ledge. He freaks out when the wind picks up, he goes back inside, and gets arrested. We see the cops put him in a car. Edit
  • The movie has bloody violence which can disturb some. Edit
  • Arguably the most disturbing scene in the movie, Neo gets arrested and is taken into an interrogation room where his mouth becomes sealed and then a robotic "bug" resembling a shrimp enters his body through his navel, it is disturbing and scary. Later this "bug" is extracted by a machine. This scene and where the "bug" is put into Neo. Edit
  • A traitor kills two of his crew mates by unplugging their heads from a computer, where their minds are. The crew mates look worried, and then they collapse dead on the ground. No blood whatsoever, but is intense. Edit

The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.

  • Trinity and Neo kiss. Edit
  • Neo gets shot in the chest at close range by Agent Smith. We do not see the bullet hit, but we see his finger touch the wound and there is a little amount of blood on it. Neo then gets shot many times. He falls back against the wall, and as he slides down, a bit of blood smears behind him. Edit
  • Mouse gets shot multiple times by the military squad. We see the bullets hit him with little (if any) blood in the Matrix, but in the real world, we see him convulse, blood pours out of his mouth, and his heart monitor flat lines. Edit
  • Neo becomes consumed by liquid metal when he touches his reflection in a mirror and drowns in it where he lets out a strange and disturbing sounding scream which distorts and degrades into electronic buzzing. He then wakes up in a pod of red slime in a power plant in the "Real World" where humans are being harnessed for energy. It is later explained by Morpheus that the slime is actually liquefied human flesh which is fed to humans inside the Matrix through tubes to keep them alive. Edit
  • Humans are essentially enslaved and used as batteries. Edit

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The Matrix Resurrections Reviews Are Online, See What Critics Are Saying About The New Movie

Should you check out the fourth movie in the Matrix franchise?

Keanu Reeves as Neo in The Matrix Resurrections.

After nearly two decades, Neo and Trinity are back in the fourth installment of the mind-altering sci-fi action Matrix series with The Matrix Resurrections . The film will be released both in theaters and on HBO Max on Wednesday , December 22, and the reviews are in to help you decide if, when and how you want to check out this latest sequel . It is, as they say, the most wonderful time of the year to question your reality.

Despite dying in the third film, The Matrix Revolutions , Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) are alive and living ordinary lives until a new Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) reopens their minds to a more dangerous Matrix than they previously knew. Along with Reeves and Moss, the film sees the return of director Lana Wachowski and co-stars Jada Pinkett Smith and Lambert Wilson. 

Let’s dive in and see what the critics have to say about The Matrix Resurrections , starting with our own CinemaBlend review . Eric Eisenberg rated the new sequel 3.5 stars out of 5, saying the beginning of The Matrix Resurrections is so good it raises viewers’ expectations to a level that the rest of the movie can’t meet. Overall enjoyment of the film will likely be determined by which section sticks out most prominently to the viewer. 

The new blockbuster is mostly successful, as it builds on the established canon, has its own raison d'etre for bringing back the world and characters, and unleashes a series of explosive set pieces – but it’s also a production that stands out as being exceptionally uneven. The first act of The Matrix Resurrections is an absolutely blissful cinematic experience; the second act is a slog burdened with the over-familiar and heavy doses of plot; and the conclusion is fortunately solid enough to make up for the missteps that precede it.

Amelia Emberwing of IGN gave The Matrix Resurrection a 4 out of 10, saying it is “jaw-droppingly misguided,” but still has good and nostalgic aspects. The reunion of Neo and Trinity is delightful, and the additions of Jonathan Groff and Jessica Henwick to the Matrix franchise are possibly the best part. But its attempts at being meta — telling the audience that reboots are silly — miss the mark and only strengthen the argument of those who say remakes and sequels are blatant corporate cash grabs. 

I’d go so far as to say that The Matrix Resurrections is made up almost entirely of good ideas. The problem is that it’s not a good movie. It’s a bunch of individually neat ideas stacked in a trench coat like a bunch of kids trying to buy a ticket to an R-rated film. Cleverness is met with laughably bad execution at nearly every turn here.

Riley Silverman of Nerdist gave the film a 3 out of 5, saying it certainly feels like it belongs in the Matrix franchise, and while it brings a surprising number of comedic moments and a “skin-crawling” final action sequence, how much viewers enjoy the previous sequels may play a part in their impression of this one.

Similar to the previous sequels, when it hits its highs, it delivers. The ambition of it is obvious, the pacing rarely stalls out, and Keanu has a lot more fun with the role than he did in the trilogy. He brings a lot of his relaxed vibe from more recent years. Though Lana Wachowski directs solo this time, fans of the sisters’ trademark visual styles will be happy to know there’s plenty on display here. We have no modern equivalent to the groundbreaking bullet-time moment of the first film. However, a series of visuals in the final climactic action sequence that is skin-crawling, visceral, and horrifying.

Joshua Rothkopf of EW graded the movie a B+, and while he says it’s not without its faults, he makes specific note about the romance between Keanu Reeves’ Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss’ Trinity — an aspect that is lauded in a number of critics’ reviews.

Resurrections does eclipse its predecessors for full-on, kick-you-in-the-heart romance: Reeves and Moss, comfortable with silences, lean into an adult intimacy, so rare in blockbusters, that's more thrilling than any roof jump (though those are pretty terrific too). Their motorbiking through an exploding city, one of them clutching the other, could be the most defiantly sexy scene of a young year.

William Bibbiani of The Wrap agreed that the depth given to Neo and Trinity’s relationship actually makes the previous three movies retroactively better. And overall, the self-awareness of the movie begs audiences to ask if the reboot culture of Hollywood is another Matrix itself. 

But if we absolutely must have another 'Matrix' movie, if we can’t just let it be, then let it be this weird one. Let it be a film with an existential crisis. Let it be a film that’s half a nostalgia cash-in and half a biopic about a filmmaker who’s forced to make a nostalgia cash-in. Let 'The Matrix Resurrections' leave fans half-satisfied and wondering if maybe the fan-service system in which Hollywood has invested for so many decades is itself just another Matrix — keeping the throngs content with low-risk throwbacks and preventing audiences from getting brand-new and truly ambitious stories that push the medium and the culture forward.

As expected with this franchise, the critics are split over whether or not the meta reboot angle of The Matrix Resurrections landed with its audiences. What seems to be pretty universally agreed on is the prevalent chemistry between its stars and welcome addition of new villains to the universe. If the red pill is your choice, you can catch The Matrix Resurrections in theaters and HBO Max starting Wednesday, December 21. Be sure to check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what’s coming up in the new year.


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Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.

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The Matrix Resurrections review: Has the new Matrix movie been worth the wait?

It's time to head back in.

Headshot of Ian Sandwell

The Oracle knew better though, telling Sati that she suspected Neo would be back – and you should always trust the Oracle. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are back as their iconic characters in the eagerly-anticipated The Matrix Resurrections , solely directed by Lana Wachowski as Lilly needed time away from the industry .

In a world that has become increasingly dominated by franchises, reboots and legacyquels, it felt almost inevitable that we'd get another Matrix movie. It felt equally inevitable that when it happened, the new Matrix movie wouldn't be unaware of society's obsession with familiarity and it wouldn't be your average sequel.

For better and for worse, this has turned out to be the case as The Matrix Resurrections makes bold and mind-bending swings to tell what is, at its heart, that purest of things: a love story. This is a Matrix movie though, so simple isn't really on the table and endless debates among fans are to be expected.

But if all you want to know is whether it's any good, then rest assured, it's better than the sequels. If you want to delve deeper to follow the white rabbit though, we've got some more spoiler-free thoughts for you ahead.

keanu reeves, neo, carrieanne moss, trinity, the matrix resurrections

Even with a full range of trailers and TV spots , it's impressive how little we know about The Matrix Resurrections , which makes a plot summary tricky. What we do know is that, somehow, Neo (Reeves) and Trinity (Moss) are back alive and Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) has a new look.

For whatever reason, Neo is back to being Thomas Anderson and has no idea what he went through. He doesn't even fully remember Trinity, but there is at least a flicker of recognition when they see each other. (These mysteries are all explained during the movie and not in a "somehow he returned" Rise of Skywalker way, so fear not.)

Bugs (Jessica Henwick) is the new white rabbit that Thomas just has to follow to learn the truth – should he choose to do so, of course. That's probably as deep into the plot as we can go without wading into spoiler territory as even where we first reunite with Neo is a surprise.

We hear you, it does sound awfully familiar, as though the new movie is just a retread.

And it actually is... until it very much isn't.

yahya abdul mateen ii, the matrix resurrections

Lana Wachowski is fully aware of the comparisons and delights in offering meta-commentaries to the trends of reboots, legacyquels and more. It's not exactly subtle and could prove too on-the-nose for some, but it turns out to be a crucial part of the plot rather than a winking in-joke.

It helps that the meta commentary and the numerous callbacks and nods to the entire trilogy are often very funny, one of the most unexpected things in the new movie. Whether you end up liking The Matrix Resurrections or not, this isn't a sequel that's been casually thrown together to deliver more of the same.

There is a downside to this self-aware mocking, though, that becomes apparent in the movie's second half. It starts to feel as though the movie wants to have its cake and eat it too, as the familiarity starts to become stale rather than innovatively self-aware. You can't really mock sequels for doing more of the same... and then continue to do more of the same yourself.

This is especially apparent in the weakest aspect of the movie which, surprisingly, turns out to be the action scenes. There are familiar set-ups, including Neo taking on a huge army of people, but the execution is nowhere near on the same level as in the trilogy.

keanu reeves, neo, carrieanne moss, trinity, the matrix resurrections

For a series that defined action scenes as we know them, it's hugely disappointing. Too many of the fight sequences are choppily edited and filmed in close-up, instead of making the choreography the star. When the set pieces get bigger than one-on-one combat, there's nothing here that we haven't seen in numerous blockbusters in recent years.

If it's all some extremely meta commentary that uniformity has become king in modern blockbusters then fair play to Lana. Yet while even the divisive sequels delivered something new, there's nothing of the sort to be found here.

One element of the sequels that is on display here though is the clunky exposition and overuse of techno-babble. After a magnificent first half, all momentum is lost when the explanations start coming and the final act is being set up. It's not confusing as such, but it's definitely convoluted and when it's delivered in big chunks, you'll need rewatches to fully understand.

As in the original trilogy though, the sincerity of the cast sells the outlandish concepts. Keanu Reeves is every bit as good as he was before as Neo and has lost none of the chemistry he shared with the equally-great Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity.

keanu reeves and carrie anne moss in the matrix resurrections

She's underused compared to Reeves, but their love story still holds an emotional power almost two decades later. It's an unashamedly romantic movie as their connection provides the key to the majority of the plot. Compared to the relatively sexless blockbusters we're used to, it's refreshing to see their romance front and centre.

As much as we'd have loved to see Laurence Fishburne back as Morpheus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is a superb replacement. There's a narrative reason behind the 'new' Morpheus and the actor balances reverence to the established character with his own fresh take on the performance.

The same goes for Jonathan Groff as a version of another classic character (if you've seen the trailer, you'll know) who's no less menacing and engaging. With brand-new roles, Jessica Henwick and Neil Patrick Harris are superb as Bugs and the mysterious Analyst. They make them instantly feel as though they're characters we've known for years.

keanu reeves, neo, jessica henwick, the matrix resurrections

It's a shame that the rest of the supporting cast, including Jada Pinkett Smith's returning Niobe and Priyanka Chopra Jonas's Sati, are underdeveloped by comparison. However, the main cast members are so strong that you don't really notice, and there's the potential sequel for them to be explored more.

Because that's the thing. As much as the movie is self-aware of its status as a legacyquel, it definitely sets the pieces on the board for this to act as a soft reboot for further movies. It's another aspect that makes you think it wants to joke about the current marketplace as well as become part of it too.

Don't get us wrong: we'd be happy to see it happen. While The Matrix Resurrections ends up being a mixed bag, it's still a unique mixed bag of ideas and creative expression that you can never accuse of being dull. We'd take that any day over a cookie-cutter blockbuster or, even worse, a generic Matrix movie.

The Matrix Resurrections is out now in cinemas and is also available to watch on HBO Max in the US.

The Matrix 4K UHD and Blu-Ray with rabbit artwork

Warner Bros. The Matrix 4K UHD and Blu-Ray with rabbit artwork

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Warner Bros The Matrix Trilogy Blu-ray box set [4K Ultra HD]

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Warner Bros/Zavvi Matrix 'Choice Is An Illusion' hoodie with rabbit illustration

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Headshot of Ian Sandwell

Movies Editor, Digital Spy  

Ian has more than 10 years of movies journalism experience as a writer and editor.  Starting out as an intern at trade bible Screen International, he was promoted to report and analyse UK box-office results, as well as carving his own niche with horror movies , attending genre festivals around the world.   After moving to Digital Spy , initially as a TV writer, he was nominated for New Digital Talent of the Year at the PPA Digital Awards.   He became Movies Editor in 2019, in which role he has interviewed 100s of stars, including Chris Hemsworth, Florence Pugh, Keanu Reeves, Idris Elba and Olivia Colman, become a human encyclopedia for Marvel and appeared as an expert guest on BBC News and on-stage at MCM Comic-Con. Where he can, he continues to push his horror agenda – whether his editor likes it or not.  

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‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Reviews Are Here: “Awe-Inducing” or “Exposition Dump”?

Where to stream:.

  • The Matrix Resurrections

Stream It Or Skip It: 'The Matrix Resurrections' on HBO Max, a Long-in-the-Works Sequel That's More Woe Than Whoa

Lana and lilly wachowski auction off "magical artifacts" from 'the matrix' and more to support trans youth, whenever jada pinkett-smith is on screen, you're not looking at anything else, new movies on demand: 'red rocket,' 'the matrix resurrections,' 'summer of soul,' + more.

The twists and turns of  The Matrix Resurrections   have enthralled some viewers, while leaving others cold. The first reviews of the film rolled in on social media last night, a mixed bag of complete and total support versus hatred towards the convoluted mess. While we’ll only be able to see it for ourselves beginning next week — from the comfort of our own home on HBO Max , of course — thanks to early reviews, we can gauge what Lana Wachowski ‘s new installation might be like.

As the movie’s social media embargo lifted yesterday (Dec. 16) night, critics rolled their opinions in all over Twitter. “#TheMatrixResurrections is a terrific, awe-inducing, meta mind-bender completely in line with the franchise’s legacy,” film critic Courtney Howard raved. “Finds an innovative, high-concept way to frame the new story. Keanu Reeves & Carrie-Anne Moss ‘ chemistry burns. Jessica Henwick is a revelation!”

#TheMatrixResurrections is a terrific, awe-inducing, meta mind-bender completely in line with the franchise's legacy. Finds an innovative, high-concept way to frame the new story. Keanu Reeves & Carrie-Anne Moss’ chemistry burns. Jessica Henwick is a revelation! @TheMatrixMovie — Courtney Howard (@Lulamaybelle) December 17, 2021
#TheMatrixResurrections is an unexpected delight. It’s a sequel/reboot that is confident and complex, stuffed with new ideas and designs and creatures, unwilling to simply unspool what’s come before. Like if “Gremlins 2” had a $150 million budget and lots of Kung Fu. What a ride. — Drew Taylor (@DrewTailored) December 17, 2021
There was a point in the middle of The Matrix Resurrections where I briefly thought it was the best movie ever made, and, like, I haven’t convinced myself it’s NOT? I lovvvvvvved it. A lotta people are gonna haaaaaaaate. My favorite kind of movie!! — Emily VanDerWerff (@emilyvdw) December 17, 2021

And, of course, there were folks who felt the complete opposite — as is with any movie! “#TheMatrixResurrections is an almost 2.5-hour exposition dump with choppy action scenes reminiscent of the Bourne movies,” film critic Jeff Nelson tweeted. “It reuses far too much footage from previous installments and is meta to a fault.”

#TheMatrixResurrections is an almost 2.5-hour exposition dump with choppy action scenes reminiscent of the Bourne movies. It reuses far too much footage from previous installments and is meta to a fault. — Jeff Nelson (@SirJeffNelson) December 17, 2021
I have very complicated feelings about #TheMatrixResurrections . I’m not sure which movie it wants to be, an expanded world sequel or a story about a person being consumed by their own creation. One of those is an interesting idea but it doesn’t stick the landing on either. — Chris E. Hayner (@ChrisHayner) December 17, 2021
It's not perfect. There are some moments that might be complete and utter nonsense. But while THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS broke my heart, #TheMatrixResurrections … did the other thing. And I'm just so happy about that. Full review to come at @consequence next Tuesday. — Liz Shannon Miller (@lizlet) December 17, 2021

As seen above, folks are making some wide-ranging comparisons when it comes to The Matrix Resurrections . The most common? Rian Johnson’s Star Wars installation, The Last Jedi . There were a handful of other Star Wars sequel comparisons tossed in the mix, too. “The Matrix Resurrections, despite (and because of) its infinite goofiness, is the boldest & most vividly personal Hollywood sequel since The Last Jedi ,” writes critic David Ehrlich, who continues, “a silly/sincere galaxy brain take on reboot culture that makes peace with how modern blockbusters are now only about themselves.”

The Matrix Resurrections, despite (and because of) its infinite goofiness, is the boldest & most vividly personal Hollywood sequel since The Last Jedi. a silly/sincere galaxy brain take on reboot culture that makes peace with how modern blockbusters are now only about themselves. — david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) December 17, 2021
the matrix resurrections is the most interesting blockbuster I’ve seen since the last jedi and i fully expect the people who are annoying about that movie to be annoying about this one. it rocks imo. — adam (@adam_notsandler) December 17, 2021
Saw #TheMatrixResurrections the other week (in IMAX!) and I enjoyed it! Easily better than 2 and 3. It feels like The Force Awakens – a nostalgic sequel/reboot to (maybe?) kick off a new franchise. Definitely rewatch the entire original trilogy in advance. Full review next week. — Kirsten (@KirstenAcuna) December 17, 2021

You can make your own call when  The Matrix Resurrections  releases next Wednesday, Dec. 22, right in time for Christmas. The film will stream for free to HBO Max subscribers on the non-ad supported tier for 31 days before leaving the platform — scroll up to watch the trailer for the new reboot.

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ratings for new matrix movie

'The Killer' review: Michael Fassbender is a flawed hitman in David Fincher's fun Netflix film

ratings for new matrix movie

It’s not always easy to relate to David Fincher's characters, be it Gary Oldman as the screenwriter of the greatest film ever in "Mank," the fist-flinging members of "Fight Club" or the sinful serial murderers of "Se7en" and "Zodiac." On the contrary, the title character of Fincher’s new action thriller “The Killer” definitely seems like one of us, even with all sorts of blood on his hands.

As stylish and cool as the director’s other high-class cinematic efforts, the pulpy goodness of “The Killer” (★★★ out of four; rated R; in theaters now and streaming Friday on Netflix ) is straight up more fun than a lot of Fincher outings, thanks to a dark sense of humor and Michael Fassbender's enjoyably droll assassin. 

Based on a French comic book series, the slick modern noir upends expectations right from the start: Staking out a hotel room for his latest hit in Paris, Fassbender’s unnamed hitman does yoga and goes through his methodical daily life, waiting for the right time to aim and fire through a window with uncanny precision. That said, the gig is starting to wear on him. “It’s amazing how physically exhausting it is to do nothing,” he says via voiceover, preparing to do his wet work from a WeWork.

But what seems like it's going to be an extremely heady prestige assassin drama takes a nifty stylistic swerve toward the absurd, and an errant bullet turns the killer’s life completely upside down. After missing his target, the assassin tries to get out of town fast and to his safe house in the Dominican Republic, though it’s anything but a welcome sanctuary. He discovers that his handler (Charles Parnell), in an effort to smooth things over with the mysterious client, sent another crew of baddies to tie up loose ends and put the killer’s girlfriend (Sophie Charlotte) in the hospital.

Various people are trying to take him out, yet the killer's existential crisis is mostly internal, which Fassbender navigates with watchable steeliness. And there are no James Bond tuxes in sight here: This killer rocks bucket hats and Hawaiian shirts, blending into various environments and crowds using a series of fake identities based on old sitcom characters (for example, “Archibald Bunker”).

However, as the killer hops from New Orleans to Florida to Chicago to take out everybody involved in the attack on his beloved, he struggles mightily, increasingly off his game the more he's forced to depart from his predictable work life. The dude nevertheless is seriously good at living up to the movie title (and pretty handy with a nail gun).

So is Fincher, who doesn’t make bad movies. (“Zodiac,” Se7en,” “The Social Network” and “Mank” all speak for themselves, and even his debut “Alien 3” is pretty darn good in its own right.) It’s OK that “The Killer” probably won’t be a best picture contender. This is a master filmmaker putting his signature spin on a gleefully oddball B-movie – even Oscar winner Tilda Swinton seems to have a ball in a supporting role, making a whole meal out of telling a racy joke as a rival hit woman.

Fincher’s top-notch filmmaking raises the fairly straightforward narrative, and “The Killer” is aces with how it utilizes sound. The killer’s constant playing of The Smiths adds a sonic sense of nihilism to his character, while frequent Fincher collaborators Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ churning electronic score is symbolic of the main character’s roiling, stressed-out inner turmoil that belies his stoic exterior.

Fassbender’s cold-blooded protagonist isn’t presented as a hero or even an antihero that Fincher asks you to get behind. Instead, in this world of various people doing bad things and making worse decisions, he’s a flawed everyman who botches an assignment, faces some consequences and has to figure out the best way to remedy the situation. Sure, his is a heightened existence full of attack dogs and sniper rifles, yet he also has to deal with the absolutely mundane experience of sitting in the middle row of a crowded commercial flight.

That’s a “Killer” premise that most folks, even those who aren’t ruthless assassins, can understand.

5 new to Netflix movies with 90% or higher on Rotten Tomatoes

These acclaimed movies arrive on Netflix this month

Netflix on TV with remote control in foreground

It's set to be a slower month when it comes to new Netflix movies. However, there's still a smaller collection of must-watch fresh additions heading to the streaming service in November 2023. 

In a refreshing change, two of the best-reviewed movies arriving on Netflix this month are brand-new Netflix Originals. And these will be flanked by a selection of modern classics that are equally excellent. From a slick biopic about the creation of a very popular social media website (hint: it’s not the one Elon Musk bought) to a tense drama about a young jazz drummer and his venomous teacher who pushes him to a breaking point, and plenty more. It's not the biggest month of new Netflix movies in terms of quantity, but it's a month that is heavy on quality. 

All the picks on this roundup are worthy of a spot on our list of the best Netflix movies , and all of them have scored an impressive 90% or higher on the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes . While not a cast-iron guarantee of quality, a high score is an indication that most critics consider these movies worth watching.  

The Social Network (2010)

Often cited as not just one of the best movies of its release year, but one of the most important of the entire 21st century. The Social Network is a biographical drama that chronicles the creation of Facebook and the subsequent fallout between two of its co-founders, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). 

Directed by David Fincher, The Social Network opens at Harvard University in 2003 and explores how two sophomore students created a website from their dorm room that became the center of the internet for millions of people in the 2010s (and still is for some to this very day). It’s a twisting tale that explores the dangers of mixing business with friendship, and real-life drama is wonderfully brought to life thanks to a trademark laser-sharp screenplay penned by Aaron Sorkin. The filmmaking from Fincher is also note-perfect, and the performances are impeccable.  

Genre:  Biopic Rotten Tomatoes score:   96% Stream it on  Netflix

Whiplash (2014)

You wouldn’t think that a movie about a jazz drummer attempting to earn a spot in the top Studio Band at a prestigious New York music school would be more adrenaline-fueled than most action thrillers, but Whiplash captures lightning in a bottle. Helmed by Damien Chazelle, who would go on to make La La Land a few years later, Whiplash is a relentlessly engaging drama about the nature of obsession and a teacher who takes things way too far. 

Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is desperate to impress when he’s given the chance to play in the top-level Studio Band at the (fictional) Shaffer Conservatory in New York. But his audition becomes a nightmare when the band’s conductor, Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), proves to be not just exacting in his standards but downright abusive toward his student. Yet, Andrew instantly craves Fletcher’s near-impossible-to-obtain approval and pushes himself to the absolute limit to earn even just a crumb of credit from his manipulative teacher. 

Genre:  Drama Rotten Tomatoes score:   94% Stream it on  Netflix

Sylvester Stallone has always been an underdog. Growing up his love of cinema was a way to escape his difficult childhood, and even as he got older, he never lost his scrappy spirit. He’s spent the last 50 years entertaining legions of fans through his beloved characters and legendary Hollywood franchise, from Rocky to Rambo. Even when facing countless knockbacks, Sly has always pushed forward and this movie tells the behind-the-scenes story of his journey and how it's reflected in the characters he’s brought to the big screen. 

This retrospective doc offers unmatched insight into Sly’s life and career with input from the main man himself and the people who know him best including regular co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger to legendary director Quentin Tarantino. Mixing archival footage, classic movie clips and candid interviews, Sly is most definitely a must-watch for anybody with a fondness for '80s action stars, or merely a desire to see the underdog succeed. 

Genre:  Documentary Rotten Tomatoes score:   92% Stream it on  Netflix

The Killer (2023)

David Fincher, the critically acclaimed auteur behind the likes of Seven, Fight Club and Gone Girl, returns to the thriller genre in The Killer. And considering the talent involved, it’s hardly surprising that this new Netflix Original has generated plenty of buzz ahead of its streaming release on Friday, November 10. Fincher's 2020 effort for the streamer, Mank, was rather divisive, but The Killer looks like it’s a real return to the form with all the hallmarks you’d expect from one of his flicks. 

The Killer sees Michael Fassbender play the eponymous role of an emotionless and highly methodical assassin, who is thrown into an international manhunt after a job goes wrong. Forced to battle his employers, he must grapple with his inner demons as his objective becomes increasingly complex. All the while he insists the mission isn’t personal. Early reviews call this a slick and stylish thriller that will keep you hooked until the credits. Plus, with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on the music, you know the score will be incredible. 

Genre:  Thriller Rotten Tomatoes score:   90% Stream it on  Netflix from Nov. 10

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Drag Me to Hell is a cautionary tale in horror movie form. Directed by Sam Raimi, it focuses on a bank loan officer named Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) who cruelly denies an elderly woman an extension on her mortgage. In response, the woman puts a curse on Christine and promises that after three days of torment, she will be dragged to hell for eternity.

Initially dismissing the woman’s words, Christine begins to fear that the curse is real as spooky occurrences plague her every waking moment. Confiding in her boyfriend, the pair attempt to find a way to remove the curse all while the clock is ticking toward the moment when Christine will be plunged into the depths of hell. Far from the most frightening horror movie you’ll find, Drag Me to Hell is devilishly fun, and builds to an ending that will stay with you well into December. 

Genre:  Horror Rotten Tomatoes score:   92% Stream it on  Netflix

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‘Journey to Bethlehem’ Review: No Room at the Inn? Try the Multiplex

It’s no “Home Alone” or “Jesus Christ Superstar,” but it does have Antonio Banderas as a song-slinging Herod and Lecrae as a quavering Angel Gabriel.

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By Glenn Kenny

Christmas announces its coming earlier every year. We haven’t even hit Thanksgiving and here is this peculiar Nativity movie for, um, someone’s whole family, directed and co-written by Adam Anders. Anders, making his feature debut here, is a former “Glee” writer and music producer, and his co-writer, Peter Barsocchini, is a veteran of “High School Musical.” While their treatment of the ancient world is informed, to say the least, by their prior work, the scenario also feels like Hallmark pulped through a Disney strainer.

For instance, the future Jesus-mom, Mary (Fiona Palomo), bridles at her arranged marriage, and actually says, “What about my dream of becoming a teacher, like my father?” She is talked down by girlfriends on a shopping trek who sing, “Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary/It’s good for you.”

The familiar story line is festooned with “kicky” touches, like a meet-cute between Mary and Joseph (Milo Manheim) at a fruit market, and the angel Gabriel (the rapper and singer Lecrae) struggling with stage fright before making his presentation to the Blessed Virgin. Later, in a dream, two Josephs ponder the pregnancy issue, with the anti-Mary manifestation singing “Don’t make concessions/for her transgressions.”

Antonio Banderas appears as Judea’s King Herod, dead set on making sure the newborn (other) King doesn’t stick around for long.

“Did he lose a bet?” one may wonder, seeing Banderas in this role. Apparently not; he clearly relishes playing a singing and dancing villain. In his introductory number, he croons about how, yes, it’s good to be king.

“Mine is the kingdom/mine is the power,” he belts out. And Joel Smallbone, as his scheming son Antipater, sidles up beside him to harmonize on “mine is the glory.”

The magic of movies does depend on a certain suspension of disbelief, but “Journey” tests the viewer beyond rational credulity, even as it persists in asserting the reality of its existence.

Call it a Christmas anti-miracle?

Journey to Bethlehem Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 38 minutes. In theaters.

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In his new dark comedy “Dream Scenario,” Nicolas Cage plays a man who begins popping up in people’s dreams. It’s a metaphor for viral fame that he found cathartic .

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Meg Ryan always had concerns about the happily-ever-after ideals of the rom-com genre. As a director, she’s pushing boundaries to examine issues of aging and regret .

If you are overwhelmed by the endless options, don’t despair — we put together the best offerings   on Netflix , HBO Max , Disney+ , Amazon Prime  and Hulu  to make choosing your next binge a little easier.

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‘the marvels’ divides movie critics: breezy fun vs. “abject misery”.

Here's what critics are saying about the return of Carol Danvers and Marvel's latest attempt to fight its latest big bad: superhero fatigue.

By James Hibberd

James Hibberd


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Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers and Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan in THE MARVELS.

Will The Marvels reverse Marvel ‘s recent run of meh ?

Not according to the early critic reviews. The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe title is getting rather mediocre notices with a just-out-of-the-gate Rotten Tomatoes score in the mid-50s, which would make it one of the weakest MCU titles ever.

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In The Marvels , Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) teams up with Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), and Carol’s estranged niece, astronaut Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), to save the universe. Tuesday night’s first social media reactions were, per usual, largely gushing (“some of Marvel’s best action & comedy to date!”). Critics came in with a more negative take, on balance, though gave high praise to the film’s cast, particularly Vellani.

Here are some of the critic reactions:

The Hollywood Reporter : “Larson, Parris and Vellani have a natural and infectious rapport. Their undeniable chemistry anchors one of the stronger threads of  The Marvels , which wrestles with Carol’s isolation and ego … [but] The Marvels  takes on more than it can responsibly handle in its brisk runtime, which means abrupt endings and discarded threads.”

The Telegraph : “The superhero franchise sinks to a new low. The shortest of the [MCU] films yet is also the most interminable, a knot of nightmares that groans with the series’ now-trademark VFX sloppiness.”

Associated Press : “As is often the case with Marvel’s girl power attempts, it feels a little pandering in all the wrong places and doesn’t really engage with any specific or unique female point of view. When our three heroes suit up, they do so off screen and come out with fresh hairdos and makeup. They look like their best selves and will continue looking like their best selves throughout a harrowing battle, which leaves some of their uniforms torn but not an eyelash out of place. I thought we’d reached a pro-hair tie place with our female superheroes.”

USA Today : “ The Marvels  is that rare superhero adventure seemingly tailor-made for cat lovers, people really into body-swapping shenanigans  and  those who live for jubilant song-and-dance numbers.”

The New York Post : “If you thought Eternals and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania were low points for the limping Marvel Cinematic Universe, strap in for the ride to abject misery that is The Marvels … Once again, we get an MCU film that’s littered with insider technobabble and is impossible to follow … Once again, we get an MCU film that we’re told cost $250 million to make, yet appears as pricey as a Season 5 episode of Stargate SG-1 .”

Io9 : “Marvel Studios’ latest film in Phase 5 of the franchise is genre-bending, mind-melding, and found-family-building joy — with an all-timer post credits scene … All in all,  The Marvels  is a fun cosmic chase across the stars with exciting new directions for our heroes. It’s an endearing, smartly contained popcorn flick that’s about characters first over mythology building.”

The Washington Post : “There’s a lot of fighting, and the fate of the world is said to hang in the balance. But when you look at the screen, all you see is a bunch of people trying to grab some shiny things from one another … The film progresses turgidly and mindlessly, with respite granted only by two delightful interludes.”

The production is tracking toward a modest $60-$65 million weekend opening, which is down from its previous estimate of $75-$85 million from a few weeks ago — which would make it one of the lowest MCU openings ever out of 33 installments (the lowest is 2008’s  The Incredible Hulk  with a $55.4 million domestic opening, not adjusted for inflation). The Marvels box office will likely be impacted by the actors strike, which kept the cast from doing any publicity in the runup to the release.

The Marvels follows up on Disney+’s latest Marvel entry, season two of Loki , which opened 39 percent lower last month than its debut season premiere, per Nielsen. But it did have a hit this summer with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 , which earned $845.6 million globally.

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Curtain rises on 31st camerimage cinematography festival, cinematographer john bailey remembered during camerimage opening ceremony, millie bobby brown fights to survive a deadly dragon as part of a sacrificial ritual in ‘damsel’ trailer, janet landgard, actress in ‘the swimmer’ and ‘the donna reed show,’ dies at 75, former president obama celebrates the end of hollywood’s historic strikes during surprise appearance at ‘rustin’ screening, box office bomb: ‘the marvels’ opening to $47m-$52m in new low for marvel studios.


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Dream Scenario review: a one-note nightmare comedy

Alex Welch

“A24's Dream Scenario scores points for being original in execution, but it doesn't really have anything new to say.”
  • Nicolas Cage's perfectly over-the-top performance
  • Several inspired dream sequences
  • Michael Cera and Julianne Nicholson's standout supporting turns
  • Repetitive second and third acts
  • A finale that just barely misses the mark

“How does it feel to go viral?”

It’s fitting that this question is posed so early in Dream Scenario , a film that treats fame as much like a disease as it does a curse. Produced by Ari Aster and distributed by A24, the new movie from writer-director Kristoffer Borgli is a decidedly modern nightmare comedy, one that’s practically overflowing with its own notions about everything from Cancel Culture to the kind of insidious viral marketing techniques that are designed to capitalize on every odd story that gains attention online. For a film that frequently veers into the surreal realm of the subconscious, Dream Scenario ’s focus is unwaveringly trained on the real-life costs of achieving a certain level of public notoriety in the 21st century.

Like Aster’s Beau is Afraid , the film is heavily indebted to the works of both Charlie Kaufman and Joel and Ethan Coen, whose respective filmographies include some of America’s greatest, Kafkaesque nightmare comedies (see: A Serious Man , Being John Malkovich ). Unlike the Coens and Kaufman’s films, though, Dream Scenario never achieves a level of emotional introspection or insight to become anything more than an occasionally hilarious, frequently frustrating comedy. It’s a film that has a lot on its mind, but very little new to say.

While it fails to enter the canon of Great Neurotic Comedies, Dream Scenario does succeed as a showcase for its oft-venerated star, Nicolas Cage . The Oscar-winning actor leads the film as Paul Matthews, a tenured college professor who lives a relatively quiet life with his wife, Janet (Julianne Nicholson), and their two young daughters. A social and professional outcast, Paul is plagued by his own inability to stand out. That fact is made abundantly clear in one painfully observant early scene that sees him accuse a former classmate of stealing some of his academic ideas only to become flustered when she notes in return that he’s never actually put in the effort to get any of his work published.

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Paul’s existence is turned upside down when he begins appearing inexplicably in other peoples’ dreams. The strange phenomenon turns him into an overnight star and provides him with the attention he’s long wanted. However, while both he and Janet initially use his viral fame to further their own careers and professional profiles, their lives take a turn for the worse when everyone’s dreams involving Paul transform into terrifying, often violent nightmares. Unnerved by his behavior in their dreams, Paul’s many students, colleagues, and anonymous admirers quickly turn on him — elevating him from a quirky celebrity to a universally loathed pariah.

It is, notably, when Paul’s lucky streak vanishes that Dream Scenario begins to seem less and less surefooted. For most of its first half, the film is able to maintain a delightfully zany, lighthearted tone. While Paul’s cameos in so many others’ dreams give him the public recognition that he’s craved for so long, too, Borgli’s screenplay playfully and ironically establishes the fact that his sudden power and influence aren’t enough to make him the man he desperately wants to become. The gulf between who we want to be and who we really are is often painfully greater than any of us would like to admit, and Dream Scenario is at its most compelling when it explores that gap.

As Paul, Cage is a balding, jittery mess. Overwhelmed and undercut by his own social ineptitude, he’s a constantly grinning vessel of pure cringe. Cage, for his part, adds to his recent streak of memorable late-career turns by leaning all the way into Paul’s neuroses. His performance is both cartoonishly over-the-top and deeply felt — a wholehearted embracement of his character’s ugliness and a full-throated refusal to shy away from or tamp down his most embarrassing qualities. The actor’s work throughout the film only makes the moments in Dream Scenario ’s first half when his character falls short of his expectations for himself all the more hilarious and agonizing.

Once the film shifts its focus away from its lead’s many shortcomings and more toward its ideas about the unforgiving aspects of Cancel Culture, its effectiveness quickly begins to plummet. The second half of Borgli’s screenplay is packed to the brim with scenes that feel purposefully ripped from certain online headlines, but no matter how scathing the filmmaker’s criticisms of mob mentality are, they’re still infinitely less interesting than the internal conflict raging within Cage’s Paul. The film inevitably becomes less engaging the more that Paul’s unlucky breaks begin to feel genuinely out of his control, rather than the inevitable results of his frequent missteps and blindingly apparent faults.

By the time it’s reached its epilogue, Dream Scenario has already introduced more underbaked pieces of social criticism, some of which have little to nothing to do with the themes present throughout the film’s first two-thirds. As entrancing and purposefully jarring as Borgli’s visual approach to Dream Scenario often is, the comedy ultimately isn’t able to bring all of its ideas together in a satisfying fashion. In its final moments, the film indulges in a sequence that is charming in both its open-faced silliness and its understated sweetness, but which doesn’t send it out on a note that’s sufficiently acidic, moving, or funny. It’s a film that, despite its occasionally inspired moments of wonder and absurdity, fails to live up to its own aspirations.

Dream Scenario is now playing in theaters.

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Alex Welch

Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story isn't the most controversial Star Wars movie ever made, but it still inspires plenty of passionate debate among fans about the place it holds in the beloved sci-fi saga. A gritty, standalone war story set in the period just before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, 2016's Rogue One was always a risky bet, but it was one that paid off as it became the third highest-grossing film in the entire franchise.

Now, the studio is doubling down on that bet with Andor, a prequel-of-a-prequel that explores the formative years of Diego Luna's rebel spy Cassian Andor from Rogue One. And much like the film that inspired it, Andor delivers a very different -- but welcome -- Star Wars story with its simmering tale of espionage set in the early days of a galactic rebellion.

Pearl is a candy-coated piece of rotten fruit. The film, which is director Ti West’s prequel to this year's X, trades in the desaturated look and 1970s seediness of its parent film for a lurid, Douglas Sirk-inspired aesthetic that seems, at first, to exist incongruently with its story of intense violence and horror. But much like its titular protagonist, whose youthful beauty and Southern lilt masks the monster within, there’s a poison lurking beneath Pearl’s vibrant colors and seemingly untarnished Depression-era America setting.

Set around 60 years before X, West’s new prequel does away with the por nstars, abandoned farms, and eerie old folks that made its predecessor’s horror influences clear and replaces them with poor farmers, charming film projectionists, and young women with big dreams. Despite those differences, Pearl still feels like a natural follow-up to X. The latter film, with its use of split screens and well-placed needle drops, offered a surprisingly dark rumination on the horror of old age. Pearl, meanwhile, explores the loss of innocence and, in specific, the often terrifying truths that remain after one’s dreams have been unceremoniously ripped away from them.

The Woman King opens purposefully and violently. The film’s first sequence, which brings to life a brutal battle from its sudden beginning all the way to its somber end, is a master class in visual storytelling. Not only does it allow director Gina Prince-Bythewood to, once again, prove her worth as a capable action filmmaker, but it also introduces The Woman King’s central all-female army, sets up the film’s core conflict, and introduces nearly every important character that you’ll need to know for the two hours that follow it. The fact that The Woman King does all of this within the span of a few short minutes just makes its opening sequence all the more impressive.

The level of impressive craftsmanship in The Woman King’s memorably violent prologue is present throughout the entirety of its 135-minute runtime. For that reason, the film often feels like a throwback to an era that seems to reside farther in the past than it actually does, one when it was common for all the major Hollywood studios to regularly put out historical epics that were, if nothing else, reliably well-made and dramatically engaging.


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