The Hidden Meaning of The Matrix: Resurrections
I went to see The Matrix Resurrections on the last day they were playing it. After settling into my seat, my mood was a cocktail of nostalgia, excitement, curiosity, and--yes--a health dose of dread.
You see, the movie scored a 5.7 on IMDB and anything below 6 is usually a sure sign of crap. But I had to see it because the original trilogy has meaning for me--I suspect it helped put me on the path toward becoming a software engineer. I can't tell if it was grim-dark-green aesthetics, the cool raincoats, or the intoxicating themes of rebellion, but it did the job.
Well, I got more than I could ask for.
The first thirty or so minutes sets up the plot: Neo is somehow imprisoned in the Matrix, tricked into believing that everything that happened to him had simply been a story he made up for a video game. The whole thing is classic Matrix: the viewer has to work to decide what is real and what isn't.
But then the movie starts falling apart. The plot loses coherence and turns into a sequence of CGI-enhanced sequence of goofy action scenes peppered with romance. There's plenty of hand-to-hand combat, and shooting, and Neo using weird super powers, and the antagonist firing of bad, teenage-level jokes. There's even what looks like a zombie-apocalypse scene, where the good guys are getting swarmed by bots.
By the end, I could easily understand the 5.7 score. It was crap! And there's probably two more sequels in the pipeline along with a Netflix series because that's how money is made nowadays. Ugh.
Yet, something didn't feel right.
Why go to all the trouble of taking something good and make into a soggy, tasteless mush that pretends to be a movie--especially if you created the trilogy all those years ago?
The only way for it to make sense was if... the movie wasn't real.
Wait, before you say I'm crazy, hear me out.
Everything after the rooftop-attempted-suicide scene is not real--it's Neo having a mental breakdown and everything that happens later is made up by his mind.
Think about this: before that scene, there's a whole sequence where Neo learns he must make a reboot of the Matrix game, something he really doesn't want to do. We see that it's disturbing him and we also learn that he's doing therapy, having had problems differentiating between fiction and reality.
We also witness him taking part in brainstorming sessions where a bunch of creatives try to figure out what the reboot should be about. And all of their ideas are awful and corny:
Guy 1: People want us up in their grey space, switching their synaptic “What the hell is going on here?” light on.
Guy 2: I didn’t love the first one, like some of you.
Guy 2: And, frankly, I’ve got zero tolerance for anything that requires a syllabus and a highlighter.
Guy 2: I like my games big, loud and dumb.
Jude: We need guns! Lots of guns.
Jude: Matrix means mayhem.
And this is basically what the movie turns into after the rooftop scene because Neo's mind reaches its breaking point and plunges into a kitschy, class-B imaginary world.
This theory fits perfectly with what takes place later, when Neo confronts the renewed Agent Smith and fights the Exiles. This is when the Merovingian appears and mumbles something incoherently, but luckily we have transcripts. This is what he says:
You ruined every suck-my-silky-ass thing! We had grace. We had style! We had conversation! Not this… Art, films, books were all better! Originality mattered! You gave us Face-Zucker-suck and Cock-me-climatey-Wiki-piss-and-shit!
Then, when the fighting is done, he makes one last remark before running away:
This is not over yet! Our sequel franchise spinoff!
This message only makes sense if the reality Neo is currently in is the reality constructed out of all the corny ideas that the creatives were brainstorming. It's essentially a leak from the enclosing reality, the one where Neo is probably falling from the rooftop, about to smash into the pavement.
And that's actually great because it means Neo is still fighting and still has a chance to escape the prison-reality the Matrix put him in--just like the new Morpheus eventually escaped his modal.
For us, in our reality where all of this is just a fictional narrative, it means the story goes on.
I can't know for sure, but this is what I choose to believe.