Updated: Jan 26, 2022
The fourth installment of the Matrix franchise was out in the theaters on December 22nd, 2021. Appropriately titled Matrix Resurrections, the movie by director Lana Wachowsky feels like fiction written by a fan of the story.
Don’t get me wrong; I really like fanfics. And I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. But I understand why so many people snubbed it. Fanfic-lovers are a niche crowd, after all.
Without further ado, here is why Matrix IV feels like fanfic.
I’m issuing the warning: SPOILERS ahead.
The story is about love
If you’ve seen the trailer, you know that Neo and Trinity are back at the Matrix, and they reunite there. What you may not have realized is that the whole story is about them getting back together. It is the power of their love that fuels the Matrix and that allows them to escape also.
Nothing screams fanfic more than a love story between original characters set in different epochs or environments. And for us, fanfic lovers, it is enough to keep our hearts fluttering and cheer for the climax.
Lots of fan service
The bunch of easter eggs keeping the story grounded in the reality of the original trilogy made their way into the movie to please the hungry audience.
We nodded to Zion and refreshed old characters. We saw what happened after the war and met other original characters besides the main couple. Neo followed a rabbit to exit the Matrix, and we explored bullet time a bit more. Not to mention all the flashbacks!
Yes, we were indeed in the Matrix universe, no effort to hide it.
It is self-aware
One of the perks of fanfic is the fact that the superfans are acutely aware of the story, having explored it many times and dissected it to its bare bones. And this reflects on their fiction.
So it is not uncommon to read (or watch, in this case) a story that dwells on the (fan) author’s own interpretation of the story, with many self-references to immerse the audience into the “right” story. That is, the fanfic writer’s story.
In Matrix, this was explored through a Matrix game inside the Matrix and with the release of a new, seemingly unwanted sequel to the original trilogy. It barely escaped becoming a parody. The limited screen time devoted to it was a good call at the end.
This installment did not advance the Matrix story whatsoever.
The charm of the trilogy, particularly the first movie, was the philosophical banter about the existence of a Matrix powered by human beings. What moved Matrix was the question about the place of a destined chosen one in a fight for freedom of will and characters that embodied those ideas, like the Oracle and the Architect.
In Resurrection, the quest was to reunite Neo and Trinity, with an underlying side plot to save more humans from the Matrix that, in the end, went nowhere. Instead of deep philosophical issues, Matrix IV relied on a meta-narrative to keep things interesting.
Something fun to note: even those who did not enjoy this Matrix movie still praised Neil Patrick Harris’s performance. His was the only new character with a philosophy-based belief in the film.
The over-the-top happy ending has fanfic written all over it!
Neo and Trinity get together and go scold the big-baddy. There are jaw-dropping, cutthroat scenes, and, at last, they fly together into the sunset, considering painting the sky as a rainbow.
Yeah, it was not my favorite part, but endings are hard.
As I said before, I liked the movie. It is definitely not a masterpiece, but entertaining enough. My main criticism is about the special effects; they were lame! Neo’s Kamehamehas were funny. And when Trinity started to fly, it was obvious they were hanging. Come on! It could be done better.
That’s it, folks. Did you like Matrix Resurrections? Or are fanfics not for you? Let me know in the comments.
See you next post,
Carla Ra is a scientist by day, sci-fi writer by night.
You can check out her anthology ARTIFICIAL REBELLION here.