Netflix has a solid collection of science fiction movies and television shows, but that portion of the streaming library is about to take a big hit that not even The One could dodge. Between now and Leap Day 2020, you'll want to devote 6 hours and 43 minutes of your life to experiencing Keanu Reeves at his most powerful.
Let's all heave out a collective "Woah." inspired by Neo, aka Mr. Anderson, from The Matrix, because the iconic sci-fi action film from 1999 will soon get deleted from Netflix — perhaps for forever — along with its two sequels. You can watch them now, but read on for a bit more info on why the sci-fi trilogy that put the Wachowskis on the map still matters in 2020.
The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions all leave Netflix on February 29, which as it turns out, is a real date on the calendar that only happens every four years. That means you have barely more than a month left to experience the highs and lows of Neo realizing he's The One, learning to fly and slow down time, voyaging to the last real human city deep underground, and eventually going on to fight an uber-powerful Agent Smith that copied himself into every person and program that exists within the Matrix, all with the ultimate fate of mankind hanging in the balance. Also, he learns Kung fu.
A unique creation of the Wachowski Sisters, The Matrix is a masterpiece of cyberpunk dystopian sci-fi storytelling. It stars the seemingly ageless Keanu Reeves as a computer programmer Thomas Anderson who moonlights as the hacker Neo. He begins investigating chatter related to something called "the Matrix" online and is eventually recruited by the leather-clad Trinity and Morpheus, who promise to show him "the truth" that makes him question the nature of reality. He learns that (spoilers!) his entire reality was fabricated within a simulation built by artificially intelligent machines with the purpose of harvesting human bodies as an energy source. He also goes on to learn that he's the prophesied "One" with unnatural abilities who's said to put an end to the war against the machines.
The first Matrix is a cerebral, action-packed puzzle-box that challenges our conceptualization of reality, all while pushing the cinematic limits of action filmmaking. It thrives in how it doesn't give us answers to the biggest questions it presents. The subsequent two sequels (Reloaded and RevolutionsI) get progressively more bonkers, and while the action remains solid, the story itself becomes incoherent and muddled.
They're still plenty enjoyable, though, if you're into the whole Matrix aesthetic and the excellent, consistent action.
Perhaps the most noteworthy reason to watch the original Matrix trilogy is the fact that Matrix 4 is currently in development with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss slated to return in the roles of Neo and Trinity somehow, despite both of them dying by the end of Revolutions. Sadly, Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) is out due to a scheduling conflict, but Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen) is joining the cast, along with a few other notable additions
A central facet of Reloaded's biggest twist, however, is that mankind was trapped in a cycle of reboots within the Matrix itself. Neo had been born and reborn countless times to grow his power and reboot the Matrix. This particular iteration of the Matrix was meant to be the last, meaning that Matrix 4 could take place in what's essentially a previous timeline.
No matter what happens in the fourth Matrix movie, we all need to set aside some time to rewatch at least the original Matrix before it disappears from Netflix.
The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions all leave Netflix on February 29, 2020. Matrix 4 will be released in theaters on May 21, 2021.