Are you excited about the new Matrix movie, or do you feel the trilogy was wrapped up?
Nope… not excited. For me, that story is DONE.
The original film, “The Matrix”, is almost a perfect, text-book example of how you can make a standalone movie that ends on a perfect note for letting the audiences’ imaginations wonder what will happen next.
That’s really the beauty of the first film: it’s actually one long origin story for a super hero, done in a really surprising new way.
And just like most super hero stories… there’s an implication that it’ll just keep going. The fight is only just starting, but the reader gets to imagine how it will all end. For something like The Matrix, where the bumper sticker practically shouts, “FREE YOUR MIND!”, I think that’s the best ending possible. The outcomes are limitless and each person can imagine for themselves what the future may hold for Neo, Morpheus, Trinity, and humanity.
When you decide to continue on past that ending, you may actually end up taking something away from your own work. One of the smartest moves Marvel and Kevin Feige did was that they made each Marvel movie as a set up for the next part of the series… this way, once Marvel Studios was up and running, you knew there was a great tale being told and this was one piece of the overall narrative. They set up the films so you’d know… “this isn’t the end”, and none of the movies actually felt like the story was over, until Avenger’s Endgame… which felt VERY over. (So much so that I think the MCU lost a lot of steam for the next phase. They might have done a little TOO well on this!)
But The Matrix wasn’t really set up to be that. It had a conclusion that was left open-ended for the audience, but not necessarily as a launching point set-up for a franchise. The possibility was there, but it wasn’t 100% there, because the original film was a huge risk that no one was sure was going to be a hit.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to attack the sequels.
There are some really great moments and ideas in there that were seriously fun!
The Matrix Reloaded had one of the best… possibly even THE BEST… chase scene and highway fight I’ve ever seen on film! And I could watch Morpheus kicking ass and being a badass all day! The whole cast on every level is terrific, and for sure, there are some really fun fights and sick action to make the ride mostly worth it.
Elements were thrown in to throw curveballs at our characters and the overall narrative, and frankly, muddled things up quite a bit. Where the first film left off on the perfect, hopeful note, most of the next two films was a depressing ride into oblivion without much to cheer about.
Also, there is such a thing as, “too much of a good thing”…
True… it’s sets up a big struggle for the heroes to overcome, but the overall conclusion just felt like a let down… where happiness is sort of tacked on at the end.
Still… it was an ending. Again. Not as good as the ending for the first film, but okay… it’s definitely over.
So… why do another? The main characters, (Neo and Trinity) were DEAD, and humanity was free. The story is over… that’s it.
This brings up the question… why are these characters alive? Didn’t they win? And of course, that burning feeling in my gut that says… “oh Lord… this isn’t going to be like the Star Wars sequel trilogy, is it?”
The Star Wars sequel trilogy really sucked and is a huge part of the blame on why I’d rather not see any more “sequels” for a while.
I genuinely wanted more Star Wars more than anything in the world. But be careful what you wish for. What came out was a fan-fiction trilogy that actively worked to dismantle the original films’ narrative and characters.
And guess what? Making a new Matrix film? Whatever they do, it’s going to have to start dismantling the films that came before to justify why dead characters are alive, why humanity is still fighting, and that the war was never really won.
And no offense to the Wachowskis, but I think they’ve lost their touch and what will come out will look visually stunning but be a narrative mess.
So am I excited? Not really.
Do I want to see Keanu Reeves, Carrie Anne Moss, and Lawrence Fishburn in a movie kicking ass again? HELL YES. But I feel like The Matrix is a story that is done. You need some real narrative wizardry to pull of a sequel, but some stories are better if you just let them end on the right note.
The original Ghostbusters. Aliens. Return of the Jedi. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Sometimes, it’s better to just start fresh with a new, different idea than coming back to an old one and trying to squeeze more life out of it. Sometimes, there really is nothing like a fresh start!