Keanu Reeves praises the “very ambitious” script for The Matrix 4. Twenty years after the original Matrix wowed audiences while revolutionizing action movies, Reeves will return for the long-delayed fourth film in the series. Lana Wachowski will also come back to write and direct, though her co-writer/director Lilly Wachowski will not return.
Released in 1999, The Matrix concerned a character named Neo (Reeves) who seemed to be living a mundane life in a typical city, but later learned he was actually a human consciousness uploaded to a simulated reality by intelligent machines who were using his body, and indeed the bodies of all living humans, to generate energy. Along with his fellow liberated humans, Neo would lead a revolution against the machines and their false reality. The first Matrix film was followed in 2003 by a pair of sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, that further explored the first film’s themes touching on the nature of reality and the human need for freedom. In all, the Matrix trilogy grossed $1.6 billion worldwide.
Little is known about the script for the recently-announced Matrix 4 (which is going under the working title Project Ice Cream), but Reeves himself recently dropped a small hint. Speaking to ET on the red carpet for his producer sister Karina Miller’s new movie Semper Fi, Reeves said he’s “excited” about the new movie and said of the script “It's very ambitious. As it should be!"
Ambition was of course never a problem for the original Matrix trilogy, which started with a bang on the original 1999 film, a movie that not only delved into profound philosophical questions but also revolutionized visual effects while introducing innumerable new action movie tropes to the language of cinema (tropes that in later years would become very worn-out indeed). Some would argue that the sequels, Reloaded and Revolutions, took “ambition” too far and ultimately buried what was interesting about the Matrix concept under an avalanche of world-building, thematic confusion and general weirdness. Indeed, audiences largely rejected the third film in the series, which saw its box office take dip to $427 million worldwide after the second film took in $742 million. Ultimately, it was probably a mistake to release the two sequels just six months apart.
The franchise was indeed put on ice after the disappointment of Revolutions, but now Neo and company are being thawed out for one more trip to The Matrix. Of course, Reeves’ own career has seen a resurgence in recent years thanks largely to the John Wick series, and indeed this sudden hot streak for Reeves is probably the main reason a fourth Matrix film was greenlit in the first place. It will be interesting to see just how ambitious The Matrix 4 really is, and if this time Wachowski and company can find the right balance between giving vent to their ambitions and telling an engaging story, after such a balance eluded them on the last two Matrix sequels.