Movie Reviews

The Matrix Resurrections' Rotten Tomatoes Score Disrespects The Franchise's Best Sequel

Summary

  • The Matrix Resurrections received mixed reviews, with a 63% Rotten Tomatoes score.
  • The film is divisive, with some praising its meta-commentary while others criticize its action and goofy tone.
  • The Matrix 5 is in development, facing challenges due to Resurrections’ mixed reception.



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The Matrix Resurrections Rotten Tomatoes score underlines how underrated the fourth entry is. The Matrix movie franchise originally signed off with Revolutions, the third and supposedly final chapter in Neo’s (Keanu Reeves) journey to save mankind. Hype for Reloaded and Revolutions reached a fever pitch prior to their dual release in 2003, but it’s fair to say the tepid response to the former cooled enthusiasm for the whole saga. The Matrix may have been designed as a trilogy, but it was always a matter of time before Warner Bros dusted it off for a reboot or sequel.


To the studio’s credit, they kept approaching The Wachowskis about reviving the saga, and when the siblings refused, WB left it alone. It was only when Lana Wachowski was informed a fourth Matrix would happen with or without her involvement did she sign on to write and direct The Matrix Resurrections. This Matrix sequel resurrected Reeves’ Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss’ Trinity, with the story being both a continuation of their story and an intensely meta reflection on the franchise itself.

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The Matrix Resurrections’ Rotten Tomatoes Critics & Audience Scores Explained

Matrix Resurrections’ RT scores are very aligned

The Matrix Resurrection is arguably the most divisive outing yet, and given the response to Reloaded and Revolutions, that’s no small claim.


The Matrix Resurrections was a box-office bomb upon release, grossing $160 million worldwide on an estimated budget of $190 million (via The Numbers). A few factors were cited for its performance, including the decision to release it in theaters and HBO Max simultaneously. It can’t be overlooked that the sequel received mixed word of mouth, with complaints being aimed at the film’s underwhelming action, surprising focus on humor and the absence of characters like Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus. Regardless, The Matrix Resurrections’ critics and audience Rotten Tomatoes score is neck and neck at 63%, which is a rare feat.

While this gives the impression the response to the film was broadly positive, this score is still only a few points off a “Rotten” rating. The Matrix Resurrections is arguably the most divisive outing yet, and given the response to Reloaded and Revolutions, that’s no small claim. The fourth installment has been praised for its meta-commentary on studio filmmaking and the struggle between art and commerce. It also gave Neo and Trinity the happy ending they were robbed of in the original trilogy.


Outside of the live-action
Matrix
movie series, Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprised their roles in 2003’s animated anthology
The Animatrix
.

The Matrix Resurrections‘ self-aware, tongue-in-cheek approach and casual dismissal of its own lore was an issue for some, and it had no memorable setpieces to make up for it. Even now, fans of the saga will passionately defend or decry the sequel’s existence, and until the upcoming Matrix 5 was confirmed, it appeared that Resurrections truly had killed the franchise.

The Matrix Resurrections Is The Best Matrix Sequel (By Far)

Resurrections should be judged for what it is, not what people expected it to be

Neo and Trinity stopping bullets in The Matrix Resurrections


The Matrix Resurrections trailer really got audiences excited to revisit the property after a near 20-year break. The disappointment over the previous sequels faded, and there was genuine hope the film would breathe new life into the series. Sadly, it set expectations too high and failed to properly sell the movie’s tone. There was little to hint at Resurrections‘ meta-humor, while the glimpses of the action setpieces made them look more epic than they actually were.

Those walking into the sequel expecting it to reheat the first film were in for a disappointment. The Matrix Resurrections is many things, including a celebration and critique of the genre, a reflection on the dangers of nostalgia and the need to revisit stories even after they’ve reached their natural conclusion. The fourth entry has faults of its own, but it’s also the best Matrix follow-up for its sheer ambition and the sweet love story at its core.


It’s a film that rewards multiple viewings too, and was designed as more of an epilogue for Neo and Trinity than setting up future outings. The Matrix Resurrections Rotten Tomatoes score deserves to be higher on both sides, but considering Lana Wachowski intentionally avoided making a sequel that rehashed what came before, it’s practically designed to be divisive. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since it’s nice to have a big-budget film that breaks the rules from time to time.

Will The Matrix Resurrections’ Divided Reception Be A Problem For The Matrix 5?

The Matrix 5 faces an uphill battle after Resurrections response

Keanu Reeves as Neo in The Matrix: Ressurections
Custom Image by Debanjana Chowdhury.

The Matrix 5 will be helmed by Drew Goddard, director of The Cabin in the Woods and writer of The Martian. Lana Wachowski will serve as an executive producer too, but the next entry looks like it will be moving away from the sage of Neo. It’s unknown what the fifth film will be about, though the key question is whether The Matrix Resurrections has permanently damaged the brand.


Again, the fourth outing has been very divided, and its genre subversions inspired a blend of delight and outrage. The only film in the series universally beloved by audiences is the 1999 original, and the property may have burned off what remained of its goodwill with The Matrix Resurrections. Goddard’s pitch for The Matrix 5 must be something special to get WB to revive the series so soon after part four, so there’s a chance it will deliver on what audiences have wanted from the franchise since the first entry.

Source: The Numbers, Rotten Tomatoes

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