7 Ways The Matrix Resurrections Gives The Middle Finger To Hollywood’s IP Addiction

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Credit: Warner Brothers

The Matrix Resurrections has deeply divided the audience with some hailing the bold direction and themes while others lamenting the fact that it fails to move forward seemingly stuck in the past. Yet clearly embedded within the code of The Matrix Resurrections is a heartfelt message about the state of studio movies in Hollywood. Here are nine ways The Matrix Resurrections gives the middle finger to Hollywood’s IP addiction.

  1. They Mention Warner Brothers By Name

    At the start, Neo is a game designer who had created a hit game trilogy called The Matrix based on his subconscious memories. He is called into his superior’s office and given a series of gut-punching blows more devastating than any karate chop. He is told that their parent company Warner Brothers are going to make a sequel to the trilogy and even worse are pushing forward with or without Neo, the original creator. I mean it doesn’t get any clearer than that. The artist had deemed the story done but studio executives overruled him and are going to continue the franchise. Writer-director Lana Wachowski was obviously drawing for personal experience when writing the scene. Interestingly this is also the most distraught Neo looks in the entire movie. There is heartbreaking helplessness in his eyes as we see the dawning realization that the rights to the sequel are beyond his control. To be powerless to decide the fate of your own creation and to see it butchered might be the most severe form of torture to an artist. This is why the film’s constant push and pull against the demands of a sequel is Neo and by extension Lana Wachowski’s attempts to gain back control and reclaim ownership of the franchise. Still, as Smith would say, “A sequel is inevitable Mr. Anderson. Why do you fight why, why!”

  2. The Real Enemies Are The Suits

    The Matrix is under the control of a new architect called The Analyst played with smarmy charm by Neil Patrick Harris. Through the course of the film, however, he makes reference to a higher power in charge who he refers to as the suits. In the end, he says he is still alive and is still there because of the suits. The analyst brags to Neo that each year he has increased productivity which is safe to assume is to the delight of the suits. Connected to the scene where Smith calls their parent company in charge Warner Brothers, it is safe to conclude the suits are a metaphor for the studio executives who call the shots in Hollywood. The suits are the ones demanding and delighted in more productive and profitable Matrix. They want more sequels, reboots, and spin-offs.

  3. Neo And Trinity Are Violently Resurrected

    Resurrections are usually framed as triumphant moments with the hero remerging bathed in light with witnesses all in awe and joy. It would have been a befitting revival for the one who is called The One and is seen as the messiah figure of the Matrix. Yet here we are treated to a dark and brutal resurrection. The machines show no respect for desecrating Neo and Trinity’s bodies as they slowly and mercilessly reconstruct them in order to milk them even more. The colors are dark and grim with flashes of red symbolizing that this is happening in hell itself. As consciousness returns to Neo we see the immediate terror in his eyes having been brought back to suffer more. The final blow is that Neo and Trinity are then forcefully separated from each other. Here is the demand of a sequel that we must have the main character back not because of the story but because the corporate machines demand it. In the end, Neo and Trinity were not even allowed to rest in peace.

  4. Repetition As A Means Of Control

    How do the machines keep Neo under control? - By placing him in a loop. Bugs tells Neo that he will be placed back in the treadmill designed for him if they get caught. This constant repetition and blandness are weaponized in order to stifle Neo’s soul. This is how they have kept him hidden and in check for so long, a point strengthened by Keanu’s stoned appearance in the early parts. This is a clear commentary on how Hollywood’s obsession with safe familiar brand names is slowly sucking away the souls of the creators. As more and more films get that prepackaged formulaic feel, the original voice of the artist has become drowned out and erased to the point of invisibility. Directors and writers turned into factory workers on a treadmill churning out increasingly similar products. No wonder Neo keeps having suicidal thoughts.

  5. Meta Montage About What Is The Matrix

    The marketing for the first film used the question what is the Matrix. 22 years later the answer remains clear yet elusive. Of course, in the narrative, The Matrix is clearly the term used to describe the artificial world the machines have created to control the human race. Yet as for what the movie is actually about a lot of different interpretations have sprung up. During the pitch meeting, the writers throw all of these definitions from trans allegory to capitalist cautionary tale. It begins to mean so much that it all becomes muddled until we don’t know what is the truth anymore. By regurgitating sequels, Ergo the meanings become diluted and co-opted to the point that their original power becomes lost. The constant repetition of lines and scenes in this montage also drives home the point of the repetitive nature of such sequels to which Neo to his horror finds himself. Unable to escape.

  6. The Fate Of Zion

    Niobe is now the head of a new human city called IO. As she gives Neo a tour, he inquires about what happened to Zion. Niobe tells him that a machine civil war broke out due to a scarcity of resources and that they heard rumors of a new power rising which Morpheus ignored. “He was certain what you had done could not be undone,” she tells him. Morpheus believed that what Neo did was final. Continuing the comparison of Neo being a stand-in for writer-director Lana Wachowski, Neo had no idea that this would happen. Morpheus and all who believed in him were killed because of the new power that had risen which we had established are the suits. Ergo, the film places the burden of Zion’s destruction squarely in the hands of the suits. They are the ones who wanted the story to continue and ergo they broke the faith that Morpheus had so cultivated and trusted for years. Ergo, The Matrix Resurrections lays bare the tragic consequences characters we love suffer when stories are continued beyond their natural endpoint.

  7. Choice Is An Illusion

    Again and again, it is driven home that we don’t really have any choice. Neo is constantly presented with a binary option and then told that well of course we know what you are going to choose. In fact, at the start of the film Bugs and Morpheus basically do everything except force-feed the red pill down his throat. When he must decide between breaking out of IO or staying, we all know he is breaking out. We know because the other choice would signify the end of the movie. Why are we even pretending a blue pill is even an option? Neo has only one path placed in front of him. Ergo, by having the same beats as the first film the movie shows how sequels trap characters in loops where they have to make the same choices all over again. Character growth and development get erased in order for the audience to experience more repetition in order to fulfill the studio's desire for more of the same.