The Matrix: Resurrections – A Trailer and some Familiar Philosophical Feelings

Ok, so first, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!  Second, so there’s a trailer for the new Matrix movie.  I’ll be honest, I got a little nostalgic and a whole helluva lot excited when I watched it.  After Jeff messaged me about it, I may’ve spent my entire lunch break watching it about fifteen times.  Who can say for sure?  But was my lunch break even real in the first place??  That seems like the bigger question we should focus on before we judge how I used the time.  ANYWAY, as I like to do when a trailer drops which a) I’m particularly excited about, b) generates some serious feels – good, bad, or indifferent – in me, or c) both, I figured I’d write about it.  Should I do the obligatory line about taking the red or blue pill as you decide if you want to read this?  I don’t know…it feels lazy.  It’s classic, yes, but also maybe too easy?  Hmm.  Ok, let’s skip the low hanging fruit and just dive in!

If you’ve not seen it yet or if, like me, you wanna rewatch it a few dozen times, here’s the first official trailer for The Matrix: Resurrections.  Enjoy!

You may’ve not picked up on this due to the subtle way I only implied it in the opening paragraph but I AM SUPER EXCITED ABOUT THIS MOVIE AND I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE IT.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, The Matrix: Resurrections IS A THING and we get to see it!  Can you even believe that?!!?

The Matrix was a seminal film for me.  The original came out in March of 1999, when I was a sophomore in high school.  I didn’t see its first run in the theatre.  Rather, I borrowed the VHS tape from a cousin (for younger readers a VHS was a chunky piece of plastic with magnetic Mylar ribbon inside which we used to watch movies at home and you had to buy/rent/borrow one to watch it because everything didn’t live in WiFi waiting to be streamed).  The sequels – The Matrix: Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions – came out in May and November of 2003 respectively, bridging my sophomore and junior years of undergrad.

I live for diving in and deconstructing movies (and comics and novels and TV shows and everything else) but The Matrix was the first film to really challenge me.  There was so much to deconstruct within Star Wars and, once I knew to look for it, I enjoyed doing so.  With The Matrix, I knew it was there but I had to WORK to unpack and understand it all.  I’ll never forget the first time I watched it.  The credits started to roll and, through my headache, I thought, “What the hell did I just watch??”  But I wanted to know!  I didn’t like not knowing!  I distinctly remember thinking, “People get this.  People love this.  There’s something here.  I’m not going to let this film beat me.  I’m going to figure this out.”  So I watched and I rewatched The Matrix and I talked with others and I read about the film and about the philosophies and theologies used in it and then I read works by the philosophers and theologians themselves.  By the time The Matrix: Reloaded came around I was far more comfortable with the film and its messages and I was ready to jump into the new one!  I still have fond memories of a fevered night studying for a Buddhism exam during undergrad when, in a manic fit of inspiration, Jeff stumbled on what he believed to be the grand, unified truth of the entire trilogy.  I’ve been assured the paper on which he scrawled his revelations is still safely stored in a lockbox.

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Photo Credit – Warner Bros. The Matrix: Resurrections

All this is to say, The Matrix and its sequels, weren’t films easily digested.  They were easy and enjoyable enough to just watch as genre-redefining action films with special effects that set the bar for all major films to follow for a decade.  But if you wanted to get at the deeper questions the films were raising and wade into the answers they were tentatively offering, that took work.  I was there for it…and I’ve never stopped.  What I instinctively do when I watch a film now was, in many ways, first forged in the fires of The Matrix Trilogy.  And I will always love them for that!  They hold a special place in heart.


Now, I know we live in an age of sequels and prequels and reboots and remakes.  It’s an age of higher budgets for familiar films in an effort to draw existing crowds into the theatres to make as much money as possible.  We see fewer and fewer original films as groundbreaking and challenging as The Matrix was in 1999.  Instead we see a near-endless cycle of Marvel movies, DCEU movies, Star Wars movies, and adaptations of existing works – Dune, The Witcher, Broadway shows, etc. – with built-in fan bases.  Plus there are sequels for things like Indiana Jones, Men In Black, Independence Day, or Pirates of the Caribbean that certainly don’t need sequels but are familiar and will sell.  So yes, I’m not naïve and I know The Matrix is a familiar property with a built-in fanbase and Warner Bros. is hoping to ride that into a big ol’ Christmas movie season cash grab.

BUT if The Matrix: Resurrections is written with the depth and intelligence of its predecessors, the potential cash grab may just be the incidental motivation for the studio to back the project.  This CAN be a sequel which fits thematically and tonally with the originals while also being a story that needs to be told.

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Photo Credit – Warner Bros. The Matrix: Resurrections

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Photo Credit – Warner Bros. The Matrix Resurrections

The Matrix Trilogy is as deeply anchored in theology as it is philosophy with Neo as its Savior/Chosen One figure.  When we look at saviors and chosen ones across our myths and religions, we see an expected return is not uncommon.  Many Christians believe a second coming of Christ will usher in the new age.  A central tenant of Hinduism is that Lord Krishna has incarnated in human form throughout history whenever humanity is in particular need of guidance.  Buddhist eschatology speaks of the coming of the Bodhisattva Maitreya thousands of years in the future to teach the true dharma once people have forgotten the teachings of Gautama Buddha.  Even the bodhisattva itself is a being who reaches Enlightenment but rejects nirvana, choosing instead to continually reincarnate to show others the path.  Some Taoists consider Li Hong, the messianic figure who is believed will return at the end of time to usher in a new age, to be an avatar/incarnation of Lao-Tzu.  Traditionally, the Messianic Age in Judaism is expected to be ushered in by a future king/leader of the Davidic line.  It is clear they are intentionally invoking this sort of religious connection, too, as the title is The Matrix: Resurrections which has obvious religious weight.

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Photo Credit – Warner Bros. The Matrix Resurrections

So Neo returning to liberate the people from the machines once more actually fits very well with the religious framework on which his character is based.  The idea that he doesn’t seem to remember who he was works as well in several ways.  It can be a nod to reincarnation where all the memories from a previous life aren’t readily available.  It can speak to his being “dead” until he rises from the tomb once more.  It can also speak to how systemic corruption dilutes the prophetic messages that call us to rise above injustice (I’m calling it now – Neil Patrick Harris isn’t just his therapist, he’s one of the big villains and he’s a program in the Matrix specifically there to watch/control Neo.  The machines know what he’s done before and they need to keep an eye on him now that he’s returned). 

On this idea of needing the prophet/savior/chosen one to return to liberate the people again, one of the scenes in the trailer I found most captivating is when Neo’s in the elevator filled with people looking at their phones.  The idea of our being constantly plugged into technology – the idea of our being the lifeblood of technology – is frighteningly more prevalent now than it was when The Matrix first blew our minds over twenty years ago.  Our phones and our social media accounts and YouTube videos rule so much of our lives and we’ve willingly become slaves of this technology.  (I’m no better.  I’m writing this piece on my computer to post on my blog which I will then share across my social media accounts and check views from my phone after it goes live.)  In The Matrix: Reloaded the Architect tells Neo 1% of humanity subconsciously reject the system while 99% live blissfully within it.  When I first saw these films I felt 99% of humanity being willing – even if on a subconscious level – to be slaves to machines may’ve been a bit high.  That is not an illusion I harbor any longer.  The potential commentary this film can make, given how the entirety of so many of our lives revolve around technology, has me very, very excited.  I can’t wait to jump back into analyzing and deconstructing in this world!  Again, if the writing is on par with the original series, this can be a film we need to see…even if 99% of us will shake the commentary off and/or balk at the idea of unplugging.

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Photo Credit – Warner Bros. The Matrix: Resurrections

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Photo Credit – Warner Bros. The Matrix: Resurrections

I’m also very intrigued with Trinity’s role because it seems Neo’s place as Savior/Chosen One isn’t something he holds alone.  While no other characters from the original film appear in the trailer, Trinity is there.  Something else the Architect tells Neo in The Matrix: Reloaded is there were five incarnations of the Matrix before this one and five Ones before Neo.  All of the Ones were driven by their love of humanity and, because of that, did what was necessary to preserve the human race when Zion was destroyed by the machines.  However Neo is unique because, while he has the general love of humanity all his predecessors had, he also has a very specific romantic love for Trinity.  None of the previous Ones had such a lover.  This is not the only way in which Neo is unique – being able to control machines in the real world outside the Matrix, facing the monster Agent Smith becomes, and delivering a very different sort of victory over the machines.  His experience of romantic love then seems a part of his ability to do that which no other One could do before him.

On this note, seeing Trinity with her head completely shaved, rising from one of the pods in which the machines hold their human batteries, was SO EXCITING!!!  This means she’s plugged into the Matrix, too!  Unlike the first film, where Trinity was already liberated and went into the Matrix to battle the machines and look for Neo, this time around she’s as plugged in and unaware of the real world as Neo is.  But they both sense a connection with each other so they both have some residual memories of their former lives and they both are obviously drawn together in some way.  Seeing her rise out of her pod means she and Neo will be taking their steps back into their salvific roles together which means she, too, carries part of the Savior/Chosen One role in some way.  If nothing else, it seems to suggest Neo can’t do what he does without Trinity and that is something I’d very much like to see explored!

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Photo Credit – Warner Bros. The Matrix: Resurrections

It was so rewarding when I finally began to “get” The Matrix for the first time and it was so exciting to follow those philosophical threads through three films and ponder their implications in my own life as well.  While I know The Matrix: Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions are far from universally loved – and I grant nothing could’ve ever matched the visionary creative brilliance of the first film – I still think they do a worthy job developing the themes of the first film and giving the viewer a lot to chew on.  I’ve loved playing in the philosophical/theological/contemplative world of The Matrix for twenty years.  I’ve taught the films in several classes.  I’ve shared them with loved ones.  And I’ve had SO MANY wonderfully complex conversations about their layers and meaning over the years.

So yes, I am BEYOND EXCITED to return to this world.  Come December, I’ll be first in line to take the red pill to see all The Matrix: Resurrections has to offer!  Damn it.  I guess I plucked that low hanging fruit after all.  I’m not proud of it but I made my choice.

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Photo Credit – Warner Bros. The Matrix: Resurrections

4 thoughts on “The Matrix: Resurrections – A Trailer and some Familiar Philosophical Feelings

    1. Thank you! I’m actually considering doing a li’l series where I break down the original Matrix Trilogy, bringing some of the deconstructing and analyzing I love doing so much with it to the ol’ blog. Now we’ll wait to see if it happens though XD.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry. That is….well, I was going to say “a hard pill to swallow” but that feels like I’m just making another lazy red/blue pill joke XD. But that is rough! I’m hoping to be able to go myself, as long as I can find a theatre that isn’t too crowded so my anxiety can relax and let me enjoy the show! If not, I do think it’s dropping on HBO Max the same time. So we’ll have to see how it all plays out.

      Liked by 1 person

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