Jesus Fucking Christ, this movie makes The Room look like Citizen Kane.
BQB here with the horrid poopy stinkfest that is the fourth installment of the Matrix franchise.
Let me begin by saying please support your local movie theater. If you’re (understandably) afraid to take in a show due to Covid concerns, maybe just buy a gift certificate and throw it in a drawer to spend on tickets on that long-awaited day when the rona becomes about as dangerous as a bad case of gas. Or what the heck? Just buy a seat online and don’t go.
I know. I’ll never do such things and you won’t either. Neither of us has the money to waste.
My point is this movie is the type of schlock you get when streaming services reign supreme and theaters go bye bye. As long as they meet their subscriber quota and have enough people paying monthly fees to keep the service going, they don’t give a shit if you actually like the movie. They can make it as dumb or stupid or preachy or lame as they want.
Meanwhile, the latest Spiderman flick is breaking box office records and doing the unthinkable, putting butts in theater seats, the moviegoing masses uncaring they might catch a debilitating illness because apparently the movie is that awesome and therein lies the rub – for a movie to make it at the theater level, it must be good, like, really good…so good that Hollywood suits might put in actual effort.
But I digress.
Way back in 1999, The Matrix was a surprise hit, a new twist on the sci-fi genre about a world where the machines have won a war and turned the defeated humans into batteries, placating their minds with a false simulation. Those smart enough to figure out the world is an illusion gain superhuman like abilities, which they’ll need to fight the system’s evil agents designed to keep free thinkers down.
The underlying message and/or food for thought? Life is a game and if you figure out how to hack it, you can break all the rules and do whatever you want.
I don’t think any of us fans blamed the Wachowskis for making the shitty 2003 back to back sequels. They stunk big time though the second had a few cool moments, the fight scene on the big rig in particular. The then brothers (now sisters because apparently they took their own message about hacking the life game’s code quite literally) had wowed us with a pretty awesome flick so who could begrudge them a 2 sequel cash grab?
But this latest one? It is truly an unmitigated pile of horse manure, covered with pig manure, drenched in pigeon poop, and then like, a dozen syphilitic hobos peed all over it and then the whole thing was left out in the hot sun to rot and fester and grow mold and mushrooms on it and then a bunch of rats and mice and assorted vermin burrowed into it and called it home and that’s before a bunch of drunk frat boys puked all over it.
No, really. It’s that bad.
The plot? It’s a super meta Matrix movie about the other Matrix movies. The main villains are Neal Patrick Harris and the literal Warner Brothers Corporation. (You read that right, as in the studio that gave us Bugs Bunny. No one thought it was funny when WB made itself a central plot point in Space Jam this summer so I don’t know why they thought it would work this go around.)
NPH is an evil psychiatrist who seeks to keep Neo (Keanu Reeves) under control by convincing him none of the stuff from the first three films ever happened and that it was all dreamed up by Neo’s real life identity Thomas Anderson, a video game designer who put elements of his life into a super realistic video game, ranging from his controlling boss (Agent Smith) to the soccer mom he likes to oggle at his favorite coffee shop (Trinity.)
When Warner Brothers, the parent company of Anderson’s gaming company, orders an unnecessary sequel (the studio only gets so many points for making fun of itself), Anderson goes into a deep state of depression over having to return to a bunch of stories he’d grown tired of until a plucky band of cyber warriors led by Bugs (Jessica Henwick in a dual reference to the rabbit that leads Alice down the rabbit hole and WB’s perennial carrot chomping mascot and seriously, whoever it is at WB who thinks it is a good idea to make WB a key part of movie plots needs to be both fired and publicly shamed, preferably at the same time)….
….where was I? Oh, right. They break Neo out of his funk and into a whole new world of data driven conspiracies.
Fan favorite characters Agent Smith and Morpheus return, but in different digital bodies played by Jonathan Groff and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. They try but they don’t hold a candle to Hugo Weaving and Laurence Fishburne who, I like to think (or hope) they turned down this crap because there wasn’t enough money in the world to make them lower themselves enough to be associated with it.
Meanwhile, Carrie-Ann Moss reprises her iconic role as the leather clad biker babe Trinity and the gang must save her from the life the Matrix has cruelly assigned to her, that of a suburban soccer mom, because apparently, she would be better off getting sucked out of a pod full of goo and forced to live as an underground freedom fighter aboard a stank ass, dank, dark tunnel dwelling ship than, God forbid, raise children and be the important matriarch figure in their lives.
STATUS: To quote John Lovitz’ the Critic, “it stinks.” I watched it so I could tell you that you shouldn’t. To be fair, the final 20 minutes is a fun special effects bonanza, so if you want to put up your HBO MAX app and fast forward to the last 20, I wouldn’t blame you. You certainly shouldn’t sit through the first 40 where very little action happens and NPH and Keanu just pontificate over Mr. Anderson’s depressed state as a video game designer forced to make an undesired sequel. What about us fans who were forced to watch an undesired sequel? Will WB pay our therapy bills?
Oh wait. Now that I think of it, no one forced us to watch it and if we’d stop watching them, the studios would stop making them. Perhaps the system really can be hacked after all.