Which is better, the first two Matrix films or the second two Matrix films? | Hadley Freeman

Just when you thought that Keanu Reeves was back to being … well, just about everything but … er … he turns up for a second series of The Matrix and looks less creepy…

Which is better, the first two Matrix films or the second two Matrix films? | Hadley Freeman

Just when you thought that Keanu Reeves was back to being … well, just about everything but … er … he turns up for a second series of The Matrix and looks less creepy than he did in The Matrix Revolutions: a real subtle turn in Reverse Destiny.

The apocalypse continues apace, with the official Twitter account for the show posting a picture of “the incredible co-stars” I play (it is Reeves’s ponytail, his “lens protruding out of his skull like Rambo in a shrimp can”, that makes this a peculiar photo) and the promise of “some new enemies”, “most unforgettable villains”, “the best fear”, and “the best instinct” for the new series.

The Matrix: look back at the times, villains! Photograph: Reed Saxon/AP

The photos are a sign of the increasing nervousness around having too much filmed directly to your head, with tens of thousands of hours of footage originally shot in the various first two films returned to Groundhog Day levels of usefulness by the makers of The Matrix. As apparently far too much of it has not been properly used, rather it has been replayed endlessly in anything and everything since.

With the first two films, it worked perfectly: niggling minor actors from the original cast would pop up and now again, unless you happened to be a The Matrix fan, which was a rare thing. Now, though, we have the commentary making clear that these actors from various scenes are coming back, and it’s got to the point where this pre-credit scene at the end of Revolutions – in which an unidentified face says “Are you sleeping?” – can spoil the surprise of a whole new direction. They’ve apparently tried something here that didn’t work in Revolutions, but if they’re even trying to revisit the moments in The Matrix that mean the most to you, as a fan, they’re wrong. And they’re coming back to reprise roles. God help me.

The new Matrix still doesn’t look like the first two movies, you guys. Photograph: c.Warner Bros/Everett/Rex Features

To be fair, there are other problems with the revival of this magical time travel series. The animation looks slightly awkward and is not without some clearly unfinished lines and scenes – but in all honesty, I’d forgotten that Reeves is sometimes hugely weird. Thank goodness now for him doing something that, as far as I can tell, pays back anything I’ve liked in him in the past.

What needs to happen is, you can go and check out the second series of The Matrix at the end of Revolutions. By this stage, just the memories you’ve in your heads will have been restored, and you can pick and choose the clips that make sense. Then when the first episode starts, you’ll be able to jump right in. If it goes well, just walk away to the launderette to have lunch and watch the other episodes. If not, switch channels and do something else instead. We’ll all be better for it.

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