Kristofer Purnell –

January 17, 2022 | 11:21am

MANILA, Philippines — After nearly two decades, the world is plugged back in to the realm of “The Matrix,” with Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Ann Moss, and director Lana Wachowski all returning for its latest installment.

Set some time after the events of “Revolutions,” “The Matrix Resurrections” sees Reeves once again in his persona of Thomas Anderson and experiencing breakdowns due to what seem like memories but can’t seem to remember if they ever happened.

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The very first “Matrix” movie, released back in 1999, was a gamechanger for both the film industry and the world as a whole, a literal pivot for the turn of the millennium. It modified filmmaking, philosophy, and science-fiction in many ways that returning to this franchise — especially after less successful sequels and spin-offs — was a big task.

To its merit, “Resurrections” embraces its precarious situation, almost too much, acknowledging that there may never be another “The Matrix” for a while so it hinged on Hollywood’s current favorite tool — nostalgia, and some amped-up action for good measure.

The Wachowskis have found some success in their post-Matrix lives like “Speed Racer” and the short-lived “Sense8.” They were clear about not returning to the franchise, but Warner Bros. was adamant on doing so anyway (even the film pokes at this, probably Lana just evening things out).

There is only so much Lana could do to further expand this universe she and her sister Lilly created, especially with where the story has led. “Resurrections” reaches for a lot to make itself work, with Hollywood and pop culture interference playing much of a role.

This new sequel treats past material to a degree of respect, never enough to necessary, but can one really complain about seeing Reeves and Moss back together and kicking ass?

Related: WATCH: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss reunite in ‘The Matrix Resurrections’

While it was great to see these two icons again, “The Matrix” doesn’t feel the same without Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus and Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II pulls off the swagger and stylish presence in his own novel way, but Jonathan Groff just doesn’t compare to what a menace Weaving was.

A welcome addition to the franchise is Jessice Henwick, whose action scenes are at par with those seen in the past — if not better — as well of those of Reeves (as Neo), Mateen, and company.

Questions will be asked about why this film had to exist, but this is the world now. The sequel does what it can to explain its existence, and all it asks is that we enjoy being back in this expansive universe — who knows where it will take us next?

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