Matrix 4 arrives in 2022 and the timing couldn’t be better. Fans were immediately excited when Warner Bros. announced the return of the franchise in 2019 with the original creator Lana Wachowski – as well as the additional announcement of the return of the original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. Much of the intrigue surrounding Matrix 4 lies in the way this story unfolds in the light of the events of the original trilogy. However, this was a reflection for 2019. With everything that has happened and is still happening in 2020, Maxtrix 4 now has the time and space to become a blockbuster with a real social message.

It is surprising to look back on the original Matrix trilogy – especially on this first film, Matrix (1999). If you look at the evolution of social attitudes since then – not to mention the evolution of the Wahowian language in real life – there is much in the Matrix that seems incredibly advanced today and that pushes the boundaries at the socio-political level. Modern film screenings show fairly clear themes of LGBTQ+ and diversity; celebrating the mixing of cultures; commenting on culture and freedom of the state and the police against technology… they’re all there.

In the 2000s, the Wahovtsy worked within the studio system, which demanded that all these progressive social signals be attenuated in favour of a blockbuster film – in all its problematic nature (as a typical archetype of the white male savior). After the first film, when the money was on the table and the studio really invested in the franchise, the trophies with the plot formula really took over. But 2022 will (hopefully?) be a completely different era for cinema, and Matrix 4 finally brings Lana Wachowski’s true social views to the fore. Wachowski works with Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell and Sense8 screenwriter Alexander Hemon – a clear indication that Matrix 4 is actually about deeper concepts of human identity than your usual blockbuster film.

The videos in matrix 4 tell a similar story. The coronavirus pandemic has halted production of the film (among other things) – but after what we’ve seen before, there are many reasons to believe that Matrix 4 certainly has something to say about where the world is going – and perhaps where it should go now.

The videos show Keanu Reeves again in a matrix simulation reminiscent of modern San Francisco, with Reeves looking like a modern Silicon Valley yapping programmer. In other videos he finds the Trinity (Moss), while other videos show some riots and social unrest in the streets of the same neighborhood.

This is speculation, but when Matrix 4 focuses his story on waking people up who sleep so much that they have to wake up to be really free… Well, there can’t be a better time than April 2022 to see this social struggle (and its resolutions?) as a blockbuster movie. The idea of freedom of authoritarian control, questioning centuries-old systems of control and oppression, and even the concept that needs to be awakened, now have a much greater resonance in our society. And since the coronavirus destroys people’s motivation to play in a common form in the cinema, it has to be a special, relevant film that really brings them back together. Matrix 4 will undoubtedly have the necessary show worthy of a big screen, but the return of a beloved franchise – one that really speaks and the turbulent year we’ve just experienced (hopefully?) – would be more than just a movie: It would be a legitimate movie event. The kind that takes people to the movies.

Matrix 4 is in form 1. April 2022 in the cinemas.

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