The Matrix Resurrections Trailer Breakdown: Everything Old Is New Again

Well, things sure have escalated in a hurry. After months and months of Warner Bros. keeping this new "Matrix" sequel shrouded in mystery, the dam is finally bursting and viewers are suddenly getting a better sense of what lies in store for us from the unparalleled creative mind of Lana Wachowski. The newest "The Matrix Resurrections" trailer arrived earlier today and, much like Neo taking that red pill from Morpheus way back in the original film, nothing feels like it'll ever be the same again. There's no shortage of details to dig into, so let's get right into the trailer breakdown.

"Repeating Loops"

"We can't see it. But we're all trapped inside these strange, repeating loops." These foreboding first words in the trailer are spoken by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's mysterious new character, who the actor confirmed to be "a different iteration" of the original Morpheus famously played by Laurence Fishburne in the original trilogy. Imbued with a certain extent of memory regarding the events in the previous movies, he's obviously the most fitting choice to ominously narrate about what may be set up as a major source of conflict in "Resurrections."

The initial images show a heavily-armed SWAT team coming across Carrie-Anne Moss' Trinity in a very familiar-looking location, calling back to her very first appearance in the opening moments of "The Matrix." But these loops don't end there, as we immediately transition to Jonathan Groff's as-of-yet unnamed character — previously described only as "a suit who might be more than he appears to be" — going full Hugo Weaving on us as he looks out at an ignorant world and recites Agent Smith's "Humans are a virus" monologue from the first film. Yes, it would certainly appear that in lieu of bringing back Weaving himself, Lana Wachowski simply went and cast Groff as some sort of embodiment or reincarnation of the villainous Smith to further play into the "Familiar, but also new" theme of this legacy sequel. Look at the Wachowskis and follow their lead, Hollywood. Now that's visionary-style filmmaking!

Home Movies?

Previously only hinted at in brief snippets of footage in the first trailer, this latest one goes out and confirms beyond question that Keanu Reeves' Neo will actually watch footage from the original films along with other characters throughout the course of their adventure in this new film. How's that for a mindf***k? The choice between the red and blue pill that Morpheus offered Neo all those years ago and is now being replayed to a much older Neo, and notably, that event took place within the Matrix itself. Perhaps in a wink towards the fact that nothing you do on the internet is ever truly gone for good, the same appears to be true for anything the characters did while running around in the simulated world.

Is it possible that with our hero now seemingly trapped in some new and upgraded version of the Matrix, the only thing that can break him out of it again is to literally re-watch the most crucial sequences from the original movie? Now, I know we here in the movie analysis game love to look back at past films to predict what'll happen in future ones (sometimes to a fault!), but doing that in-universe? This would be on another level entirely. Once again, Lana Wachowski is playing 4-D chess while the rest of us are still on checkers.

Something's Missing

When you have an actor with as much of a booming voice, charisma, and screen presence as Abdul-Mateen II does, you better use a whole lot of him when marketing your movie. "This is the moment for you to show us what is real," Not-Morpheus-But-Kind-Of-Morpheus continues to intone in voiceover as we see yet more repurposed imagery from "The Matrix," from liquified mirrors to Neo held at gunpoint in the rain to Trinity doing more of her wire-fu badassery. This part of the trailer culminates with a shaggy-haired Neo finding himself in the same blank space as he did in the original, when Morpheus walked him through one of the most efficient and thrilling exposition dumps in blockbuster history to explain the dire reality of the Machine-ruled real world. As a computer program that stands apart from the Matrix, the sockets and post-apocalyptic hairdos (or lack thereof) the characters normally sport disappear and revert back to their own preferred appearances. It appears to be exactly the kick in the butt that Neo needs, as he looks around and is jolted by the realization that he "remembers this." Same, Neo. Same.

Déjà Vu ... But Not

This is where things start to really get dramatic. Jessica Henwick, who plays a character named Bugs and recently admitted she had her own choice to make between the MCU or "The Matrix," steps in to express that they're feeling the sense of déjà vu that signals a glitch in the Matrix ... but "it's all obviously so wrong. Maybe this isn't the story we think it is." The only thing missing is Henwick turning towards the camera, breaking the fourth wall, and directly informing us that Lana Wachowski wants us to chill on all our half-baked predictions. But are we going to let a silly little thing like that stop us? Of course not!

The trailer plunges us into even more scenes set within the new Matrix, which boasts a wildly more vibrant color palette than we would remember from the green-tinged original trilogy. If you remember, the last scene in "The Matrix Revolutions" ended inside the Matrix with a beautiful sunset unlike anything we previously witnessed in the simulation world before. That look sure seems to have carried over to "Resurrections," though not before giving us even more looks at the dark, red-soaked horrors of the Machine city where humans are kept and bred to provide energy. Through Neo's sacrifice in "Revolutions," he reached an uneasy truce with the Machines and allowed the last human city of Zion to barely survive the invasion attempt. Obviously, that truce appears to have been shattered at some point and we can expect yet another visit to the dystopian world ruled by the Machines.

A Leap of Faith

"Free your mind, Neo." Morpheus tried once before to get Neo to forget everything he thought he knew and recognize the simulated world he's actually been living in. Naturally, this required Neo to make an impossible leap from skyscraper to skyscraper to shatter the illusion of the Matrix. He failed miserably, but everyone fails their first jump. Here we're reenacting that moment once more, except this time Neo's got company. Clearly motivated to relearn all the same lessons from the original "The Matrix," Neo marches straight off a building to the dismay of several onlookers who obviously think he's out of his mind. We then flash to New Morpheus training Neo in another dojo, as seen in the first trailer and now expanded on here. In lesser hands, it could end up being incredibly tedious to walk through all the familiar sights of the original movie ... but here, that clearly appears to be part of the point. "Resurrections" truly feels like a purposeful response to the nostalgia-infused storytelling drowning current blockbusters — we just received a "Force Awakens"-style sequel to "Ghostbusters," for crying out loud — and if that's the lesson Lana Wachowski intends to teach us with this "Matrix" sequel, then I'm all the way here for it.

A Familiar Face

Well, hello there. Remember Jada Pinkett Smith's Niobe? Well, she's seen some things in the time since she survived the battle for Zion in "Revolutions," talking to a now-shaved Neo in the real world and going on about how the noise the Matrix creates in your head is similar to the same kind of noise experienced in the heat of war. This at least gives viewers a sense of timing for when exactly this new sequel is set, with her much more aged and battle-scarred appearance strongly suggesting that decades have passed since these characters last saw one another. Niobe in "Reloaded" and "Revolutions" added more layers to Morpheus, all while functioning as her own character altogether — no easy feat, as any number of female characters in blockbusters could attest to. Her past romantic relationship with Morpheus cooled off by the events of the trilogy, as a result of his increasing obsession with the enigmatic Oracle and her prophecies of The One. Here, Niobe's more grizzled appearance almost makes one think that she's taken up the mantle of the Oracle herself. The crucial difference in that little theory, however, is that the Oracle was herself a program of the Matrix while Niobe is merely a human. Granted, one who's lasted this long in the unforgiving real world when others — perhaps Laurence Fishburne's Morpheus? — have not.

Villain(s) Unmasked

Lana Wachowski scoffs at the idea of subtlety! Here, Jonathan Groff channels his inner Hugo Weaving like we've never seen before as he screams, "Mr. Anderson," the dead name (hint, hint) that Neo used to be referred to before he awoke from the Matrix's clutches. Thus far, we have a better idea that the conflict of "Resurrections" will center on this new Matrix is causing problems and glitching in some way the characters have never experienced before, and the renewed threat of Groff's maybe, sort of, kind of version of Agent Smith.

But here's yet another burden that Neo has to deal with on top of it all: Trinity. That's not to say she's a burden, of course, but the latter half of the trailer makes it abundantly clear that their love story is going to be tested like never before. "The most important choice in Neo's life is not his to make," says Priyanka Chopra's character (who may or may not be a grown-up version of Sati, a minor computer program character from "The Matrix Revolutions") as we see images of Neo and Trinity about to kiss. "She believed in me. Now it's my turn to believe in her," Neo earnestly tells someone in the real world. Assuming this is referring to Trinity, may we hazard a guess that the new dynamic in "Resurrections" involves Neo trying desperately to wake Trinity up from the Matrix. Considering the franchise-altering revelation the Architect admitted to Neo in "Reloaded," could this mean that Trinity is now the next in a long line of The Ones?

"I Saw This in a Dream..."

Yeah, trailers can be notoriously misleading, but we're betting that Neo and Trinity's love story is going to be treated as a major priority throughout "The Matrix Resurrections." Practically the entire trailer after the minute and a half mark is focused predominantly on Neo and Trinity, showing the two in action just like old times, but with a whole array of new powers. Of course, leave it to Abdul-Mateen II's Morpheus to say what's on everyone's mind: "You want to see Trinity again? Fight for her!"

Despite the loads of action on display, the trailer is already noteworthy for how much of the footage consists of people merely talking to one another. As if to drop the mic on how different this movie appears to be compared to others in the current blockbuster landscape, the final seconds of the trailer go without sound entirely as Trinity confesses to Neo in a heartfelt rooftop conversation that she "...saw this in a dream. My dream ended here." No, the main section of this footage doesn't end on explosions or anything like that, but a genuine moment grounded fully in emotion and history and character. Only then do we get a fun throwback to an iconic Neo line from the original, when Neo learns kung-fu for the first time.

All in all, the only thing holding this back from being a flawless trailer to me is that it appears to give away the game of Groff's previously mysterious character. Of course, looks have always been deceiving with this franchise, so who knows how much we actually know just yet. Either way, "The Matrix Resurrections" comes to theaters and HBO Max on December 22, 2021.