This is gonna have spoilers. You've been warned.
(I started writing something much longer and that was boring, here's the short version)
Neo has been deluded into thinking he's a video game designer for the original films we saw - instead of the life he lived. A new Morpheus is extracted from the matrix by a hovership captain to find Neo who apparently didn't die in the original movies. The captain and Morpheus red-pill Neo and wake him up to get his powers back and bring him to the capitol city Io. They successfully rescue Trinity from her pod and the matrix and plug everyone back in for a mad escape. Neo and Trinity jump off the building to fly away but Neo can't do it - with the twist that Trinity CAN and that's basically it.
The pacing was okay, there was just a LOT of ground to cover in two-and-a-half hours (148, so while I wished they could have lingered more in some areas than others, it could have easily been a four hour movie. The arc of the plotlines felt like a multi-film deal; recall the whole of the first film was just waking Neo up.
Remember the political tension of Zion that ate up a fair portion of time and character development in the second movie? They played it again with Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) being a hardass and did it all in 10 minutes. I think they could gone through another couple revisions and cut some fat off and focused more on character development, which was sorely lacking
I could not name one character in the movie that wasn't from the original trilogy. Oh and Chad. He was a literal meme Chad attached to Trinity to help her stay blue-pilled. Tan, buff, the hair - it was pretty funny actually. But the rest of everyone else is so incredibly immemorable... hell, even Apoc from the original movie had a better personality than all of the rest of the crew of the ship combined.
Terrible scoring. Like wtf is this garbage. The mixing was way too much for the onscreen content for at least 60% of the movie. The captain of the ship has some kind of accent and also mumbles half her lines, so I have no idea what she said unless she was yelling and even that was tricky to follow. They should have re-dubbed her lines in post-production - this is a thing that's done all the time.
Apparently, Larry Wachowski thought it was a great idea to splice in footage from the original films as recollections from the point of view of Neo. It sold his madness, but it's a very strange creative choice I didn't like. Then at one point, Morpheus literally projects scenes from the previous movies onto a stage
B minus at best except for Carrie-Anne Moss. She's a really good actress and she acted circles around the rest of the cast. Keanu is popular, but he's been a wet paper bag for pretty much his whole career.
A lot of shots, lines, and sounds were borrowed from the franchise. I like the idea of repeating loops because the machines are not as creative or witty as they think they are. The nods were obviously done on purpose, but was it due to Wachowski thinking he was being clever? Or was it lazy?
Hard to follow in many scenes. There was a warehouse brawl at one point that was chaotic and frankly boring. I wanted them to just get on with it.
In the final chase, Neo displayed his one single power of projecting force-fields like a billion times and got stale really fast. He stopped bullets and smashed cars lots of times and didn't even get into fighting much. Neo looks very old with his head and beard shaved off, but he's still a very physical guy. John Wick gets into it so why would Neo not also fight hard? Neo's action performance was very lacking.
It wasn't bad! Despite the technical flaws and poor character development, the story was engaging for most of the time and I'm glad I watched it. I understand a large portion of you are upset that Trinity surpassed Neo in her powers, but eh, that's not so offensive to me. Some of the elements could have been trimmed or cut out entirely, but at its heart, it is a love story after all - with a bunch of guns and kung fu.
The Analyst character played by Doogie Howser strikes a surprising amount of real-world red-pill sentiment. To hear NPC-bashing rhetoric out of a Hollywood film from a trans director was strange for me. The Analyst is able to activate Swarm Mode and activate quiet sleeper-cell "bots" to attack the heroes to the point of throwing themselves out of windows to land in splats on the street - a very on-the-nose allegory for Twitter cancel culture.
The Analyst knows that humans want to be safe and controlled and that freedom fighters which challenge this safety are seen as a threat, not liberators - another strong strike against the current political climate. The Analyst was also focused only on maximizing power-output, another direct nod - this time to corporate greed. Doing whatever it takes to get the most out of the resources at hand.
Now, The Analyst was obviously painted as the villain, and the NPCs in our world will mistake his villainy for being wrong. This says a lot about me more than anything I think: I find myself agreeing with movie bad guys more and more often as I get older. The Analyst is a cold and calculating sentient being - and also correct.
I'd say it's probably not the worst of the four films but I can't decide where to place it. I think Revolutions might be at the bottom, with Resurrections just above it. I was afraid I was going to gag on a deluge of woke garbage themes that leaned heavily on wokeness and what I got in that spectrum was surprisingly conservative.
I would recommend seeing it on a small screen. No need to rush to the theater on this one.