Matrix 4 Review: The Spark is Back
Matrix 4 was awesome! Period. No spoilers here. Keanu Reeves? Awesome. Carrie-Anne Moss? Awesome. Lana Wachowski? Fantastic job.
But our review here is going to focus on Lana Wachowski.
Earlier this fall, there was a new Muppets movie that was quietly released on Disney+ called Muppets Haunted Mansion. And it was alright, it had one or two snickers, but it seemed really forced. It was disposable entertainment. I didn't give the movie a second thought until I saw original puppeteer Frank Oz, who's no longer involved with the Muppets, come out with this blast, “there’s an inability for corporate America to understand the value of something they bought. They never understood, with us, it’s not just about the puppets, it’s about the performers who love each other and have worked together for many years....the soul's not there."
Star Wars VII, VIII, and IX received mixed to positive reviews. What the filmmakers of those films did was butcher the Luke Skywalker Story Arc. George Lucas whined about VII, VIII, and IX, but failed to point out that he sold his vision for 4 billion dollars, and may have made up to 10 billion on Disney stock dividends. George Lucas can crawl back in his hole and shut the hell up.
For some reason, despite its obvious superiority compared to other releases in 2021, the internet was kind of split on Matrix 4. I read this scathing review at IGN:
"The Matrix Resurrections is the kind of film that will go down in cult history because it is so laughably bad."
Then I looked up the author, guessing he was some woke millennial between 25-30. Oh look, I was wrong, it was a FEMALE woke millennial between 25-30. One tiny spoiler, millennials are not portrayed in the best light in Matrix 4. Just like in music, millennials aren't making art BETTER than the last generation, they just keep WHINING ABOUT the last generation.
I am telling you Lana Wachowski played the storytelling angle absolutely perfectly. I could not imagine Matrix 4 being any better than it was, and besides the layer upon layer of storytelling, there was a layer of heart not found in many sequels by the time you get to Movie #4. A layer that only Lana (or her sister) could have provided.
According to the magical internet, Warner Bros. was going to make this movie with or without either one of its original directors., so kudos to Lana for keeping the franchise in good hands. You may argue that a $22 million opening weekend isn't great, but initial reports are that 3 million people watched Matrix 4 on HBO Max this past weekend. If 1 million of those were new subscribers, at $14.99 a month, easy math, that's an additional haul of $15 million not reported by box office numbers.
And Warner Bros. is setting the Matrix up to be a franchise like Star Wars or the Muppets. Again, Lana Wachowski was tasked with expanding the franchise, besides making a great, philosophically original film. She succeeded on all fronts.
Arguably the best Star Wars related film since the original trilogy was Rogue One. The Rogue One story was driven by unknown characters in the Star Wars Universe, with appearances by such supporting characters as R2D2 and C3PO. You can now march the Matrix Franchise in one of 50 different directions (like Star Wars), forwards or backwards in time, with or without the main characters.
When I fell in love with the Matrix, it was great. I would still watch any Matrix entry with the name Wachowski attached to it.
Okay, one more tiny spoiler:
While we're here, I just wanted to touch upon a Chinese Movie I watched this week called Absurd Accident.
It reminded me of a Chinese version of Pulp Fiction with its non-linear style of story telling.
Lots of crappy movies start with a lot of action, then a pause, and then in closed captions a simple message like THREE DAYS EARLIER scrolls across the screen. I am not talking about those basic time twists.
Other than Memento, Inception, or Pulp Fiction, I can't think of any movies that manipulated the timeline as well as Absurd Accident. I watched it on Amazon Prime, home to lots of good cult classics.