For a long time, romance was a dirty word. Among some film fans it may still be. But with The Matrix Resurrections, Lana Wachowski throws caution to the wind and creates a truly romantic action movie that channels the world-changing power of love.

A still from The Matrix Resurrections shows Keanu Reeves as Neo and Carrie Anne Moss as Trinity standing in front of a coffee shop sign that says Simulatte
Warner Bros.

Bringing Neo and Trinity back to the center of the story makes sense. Taking place decades after the original trilogy—in both the real world and Matrix timelines—it would be easy to dive straight into the often overwhelming lore of the sprawling sci-fi series. And we do get a direct continuation of that aspect. But at its heart the film is a love story, one that feels real and passionate.

Beginning 18 years after the original film in the world of the Matrix program—and 60 years later in the real world timeline—we find Neo back in the computer program that we thought he had destroyed long ago. There he’s Thomas Anderson. He’s a world famous game designer. His video games about the apparently fictional lore of The Matrix have made him a cult figure in the industry. Like many of us living under capitalism, his life feels like a continuous loop; work, eat, sleep, repeat. But the one thing that keeps him going is the woman that he sees when he gets his daily coffee. We know it’s Trinity (Carrie Anne-Moss), but to him she’s just a beautiful stranger he feels strangely connected to. In the midst of the wild action, meta flashbacks, and world building, it’s these quiet moments that draw us in and ground the characters.

A still from the Matrix Resurrections shows Keanu Reeves as Neo in shadow walking towards a coffee shop called Simulatte
Warner Bros.

How rare it is for two actors in their ’50s to tentatively feel out a “new” romance. Not only is it age appropriate and timid, but beautiful. It helps that Moss and Reeves have a natural chemistry—and are beautiful in unique ways—that feels textured and aged. There’s something so exciting about the dramatic irony of knowing Trinity and Neo’s romantic past as they slowly rediscover it. Reeves brings his shimmering quietness and stoic nature to each interaction, while Moss sparks with the possibilities of this man she’s sure she’s met before. As Neo comes ever closer to the real world, he never loses his belief in and love for Trinity, something that reflects one of the most powerful aspects of the original trilogy and their relationship.

In the original trilogy, Trinity’s love for Neo is key to his understanding of what it means to be the One. The Oracle told the freedom fighter that she’d fall in love with the One; so since she loved Neo that cemented their belief in the prophecy at the heart of the film. By the trilogy’s end both will have sacrificed themselves for the other in the service of the greater good. Getting to see them have a new chance at happiness is a bright light in the darkness of these rough times. And it’s such a fitting tribute to the pure optimism and trust that Trinity put in Neo to see him now fighting to bring her back into the real world and into his real life once again. That innate connection and love also blows up one of the most archetypal parts of Matrix lore.

Keanu Reeves' Neo squares up in a fighting stance in front of a window with people's silhouettes behind it in the first trailer for The Matrix Resurrections.
Warner Bros.

Since its inception, The Matrix has presented viewers with the idea of “The One.” It’s a trope as old as time. Playing on prophetic traditions it’s become instantly recognizable. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Terminator, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Shadow and Bone, and even The Lego Movie all use the Chosen One trope. But in The Matrix Resurrections, Wachowski questions the myth that her movies laid out. Here there is not really any one person who can save the world. Instead, the powers of the One are shared among those who love and believe in each other. It’s a radical sentiment that plays into one of the film’s most impactful moments: when Trinity rejoins the real world and saves Neo. While we thought he was the One, the truth is that their love is more powerful than any prophecy.

The Matrix Resurrections ends with a powerful message: your love can reshape the world. We see that in a way that becomes physical in the world of the Matrix, but it’s a message that rings true in our world too. Here, though, this isn’t just a story about love as an intangible concept. It’s about love as an action. Love as a motivator. This is a film about romantic love that can save yourself and the world. It’s about how love can be the driving force behind radical action.

So, yeah, The Matrix Resurrections might just be the most romantic action movie we’ve seen in a long, long time. And that’s a great thing.

Featured Image: Warner Bros.

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