Do you remember where you were when you took the “blue pill” offered by the Wachowskis and opted into the world of “The Matrix”? I do. This world expanded to three original films where, at the end of the trilogy, Trinity died, and Neo sacrificed himself, freeing the humans from their virtual shackles, which means the bar was raised—very high—and anyone brave enough to continue the story had their work cut out for them.

“The Matrix Resurrections” (the fourth installment) is a self-aware movie and it’s clever, fully aware that the audience is equally intelligent. This is an upgrade of the lucrative franchise where they present the issue of déjà vu not as a bug a.k.a. a “glitch in the matrix” but as a focal feature of the brand. This subject is so much of the cultural landscape that in one scene, employees of a San Francisco video game company are gathered around a corporate conference table, trying to figure out just how to build upon the Matrix saga. It’s an interesting scene and I won’t spoil it for you, but it does make you stop and ponder whether we are all trapped inside a matrix.
And “The Matrix Resurrections” roars forth with a mantra that says—“Well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

“The Matrix Resurrections” gets an A+ for gravity-defying action which plays like a compilation of the greatest hits from the past movies. But this new installment is slick and takes comfort in the familiar characters, challenges, heroines, heroes, and villains. It also fleshes out the emotional core of a world which was lacking in empathy and felt a wee bit hollow.

“The Matrix Resurrections” brings back Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), and a few key characters, such as Morpheus and Agent Smith (requiring new actors to step in).

The story here focuses on the “simulation hypothesis” brought to the masses by Elon Musk, that video game technology is developing so rapidly that we are already living inside one.

Those woke folks—“sheeple”—have that potentially liberating information, but choose to keep going through life like nothing is new. Does this sound like you, and me?

Time is moving like a bullet out of a smoking gun because (brace yourself) it’s been more than two decades since “The Matrix” offered the “red” or the “blue” pill. These people wanted to wake up, but in this 2021 world, we do not; they stay blind by choice. And our disruptor, Neo, has stepped into the flesh suit of a man named Thomas Anderson who is the head designer for WB-owned game company Deus Machina.

Anderson isn’t a believer, even when Morpheus (now Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) kicks open a door and attempts to wake him up—again.

Meanwhile, his shrink a.k.a. the Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) has him popping the blue pills like candy and to shake things up, enter Bugs (Jessica Henwick) a plucky, cyber-anarchist who rescues Morpheus, another bad-ass woman strong enough to fight the system.

Anderson eventually reunites with Trinity, who is now living life as Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) who is married with kids. The bad guy gets an upgrade with Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) appearing only in a flashback. The new nemesis is Mr. Smith (Jonathan Groff) and once Anderson begins to ask those hard questions, it’s Smith he must fight, again.

“The Matrix Resurrections” (https://www.matrixresurrections.net/), now playing on HBO Max, is the perfect mix of action and nostalgia.

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