The Matrix Resurrections is coming out soon, and I’m concerned that I’m absolutely going to hate it. As a massive cinephile, I love the new films coming out lately. However, in every new release season, it seems inevitable that the sequels to my childhood classics leave me holding my breath; hopeful that the stories I so love are not tarnished. Will The Matrix Resurrections thrill or disappoint?
We all can think of a few cringe-worthy adaptations or continuances of comic worlds. But what is the real reason behind the offense we feel when a Hollywood theorist decides to derail our favorite character?
I propose that every story establishes an unspoken set of laws, that, if violated, violate the fans that love those worlds.
The world of The Matrix seems to have no rules at all, yet there are limitations. For instance, could you see yourself enjoying the insertion of aliens into The Matrix universe? Perhaps you aren’t completely turned off by the idea. But at some point, your five-year-old nephew keeps upping the ante, “And then aliens attack, and then the president turns into a dragon, and then Neo dumps Trinity.” The unbridled chaos will quickly transition your brain to the “Don’t Retain” function.
Your nephew might be a drastic example, but it’s not too far from the truth of the butchery that’s taken place from sequels entering the comic movie universe. Here are five comic universes that sequels shattered.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
Fans raved about the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A great tone of serious and light-hearted action. The emotions followed logic; the story was real.
The immediate sequel Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze received rave applause as well. It stayed true to the story from the first film and followed the same formula.
Then came the third installment—Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. This was a disaster and immediately put a halt to the live action films. Hollywood expects could have theorized that audiences had lost interest. However, a better strategy would have been to find a different combination of creatives and reinforce what worked the first time.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III had cartoon noises during action scenes and incorporated extreme plot devices, including time travel. It also completely redesigned the original characters’ costumes to less operable, and more fake counterparts. It left me feeling disillusioned. It’s such a blemish of the TMNT world that I now pretend in my head that this sequel doesn’t exist.
X-men origins: wolverine
For the most part, this movie was a fun ride and didn’t pull too far away from the original X-Men movies that most Wolverine fans came to love. It still had the basic formula: the same Wolverine, wonderful villains, and just kept pointing the camera at Hugh Jackman who delivers cinematic emotional magic. The real issue was the completely outlandish and unbelievable final battle with Deadpool. Getting the iconic villain horribly wrong of course hurts, but beyond the silencing of one of our favorite Marvel linguists, the final battle pulled too far away from the laws of the Universe of Wolverine. Many fans I’ve spoken to feel the same way. They pretend the Wolverine Origins didn’t happen; or at least, it’s not part of the nearly sterling image of the X-Men saga.
Batman & Robin
Batman & Robin was the fourth installment to the original Batman movie series. In the previous movie, Val Kilmer replaced Michael Keaton as Batman. But apart from that, the laws of the Gotham universe were still followed, and fans embraced the new sequel. But then, Batman & Robin. First, another change in the lead with George Clooney replacing Val Kilmer. And along with that, a change of every other fundamental principle of the Batman universe. The villains were less than serious. Again, cartoon noises accompanied action scenes. (Are we sensing a trend, Hollywood Executives?) A very loose story line seemed scattered amongst the constant baboonery of cliche fight scenes and happenstance. Completely unbelievable.
Star Wars: episode IX – the rise of skywalker
This is a difficult one to write about and arguably the most relevant to this subject. Audiences disagree on the third trilogy installment featuring Kylo Ren, Rey, and that black ex-storm trooper. Obviously, I find myself on the side of pretending that none of it ever happened. But I have friends that I highly respect who are much-devoted fans of the Star Wars franchise and feel that the newest trilogy was the best of them all.
Why were so many fans dismayed at the new storyline? Again, drastic changes. The laws of the force disintegrated with the introduction of force healing, image projecting and the destruction of everything the force held secret.
On top of this, a change in character for Luke Skywalker left a resting b%*% face on Mark Hamill during the hype of the premiere. Also, disheartening was the complete ridiculousness of the story. Many times, during the three movies a character would pipe up with a question like “Is that possible?” We as the viewers were thinking the same thing! And another character just had to say yes. Yes, it’s all possible because the writer said so – at least that’s what I felt was being shoved down my throat.
I attended The Rise of Skywalker with my mother who had seen all the Star Wars movies except the first two of the new trilogy. She constantly whispered questions in my ear as the movie played. I’d try to catch her up and satisfy her inquiries. But as the movie continued, she would ask more questions like “Why do they need to save a different plant?” Or “How do they know where to look for the missing item?” Equally baffled I’d turn to her and say, “I don’t know.” Yet everything was just explained away. “Do not look at the man behind the curtain.” It was like religion. Just believe it because I tell you to. Don’t think for yourselves.
The MAtrix Resurrections (potentially)
Finally, the highly anticipated Matrix sequel—The Matrix Resurrections, and I have some concerns. At the beginning of the preview, Neo is being analyzed by a psychiatrist. I am a huge Neil Patrick Harris fan; however, his involvement seemed farcical and fake. I can visualize the possible conversation Neil had with the producers. “I want to be in the new Matrix reboot. “Sure, we’ll just write you in.” There also appears to be a completely new style of story. Already I am curious for the explanation of why Neo is living again. Will The Matrix Resurrections be another movie that hard core fans pretend never existed? Will the already revealed changes to the style, tone, and function of the characters remain faithful to the original? I guess we’ll find out soon.