Let’s start with the irony. No film genre employs the power of technology more fiercely than science fiction does while simultaneously warning us of the dangers of it. Maybe the greatest example of this paradox is The Matrix.
Almost thirteen years ago exactly, the Wachowski brothers brought an epic storyline to the big screen in a way most moviegoers had never seen. Fully loaded with religious symbolism, the film begged to be taken as something more than an American take on a Kung-Fu movie. As audiences watched Neo bend backwards to avoid flying bullets and ward off punches at lightning speed, they willingly suspended their disbelief in order to take in the visceral ride.
Herein lies the wonder of The Matrix. A film that created a virtual reality by the power of computers argues that living in a delusional world of alternate reality, created by computers, is the greatest threat to humankind. The only way The Matrix works, as a film, is if you enter into it in the exact manner that the film warns people away from living. The Matrix is a call to have a rebirth with new eyes—to see what is real in a world of lies—and it does this by lying to our eyes.
As the big summer blockbusters [at least the studios hope they are] start to make their way into theaters near you, it will become obvious just how obsessed America is with the idea of needing a savior. Once again, superheroes will fly onto the big screen in droves. Thirteen years after Neo became another face of salvation for us, Hollywood continues to acknowledge our thirst for more.
But what does a savior look like? Is the picture presented in Neo a reflection of what we collectively seem to desire so deeply? Is a savior a good guy with a gun that outlasts the bad guys with guns? Is a savior counter-cultural [different from the surrounding world] or super-cultural [an extreme, more powerful version of the surrounding world]?
The Matrix offers possible answers to these questions. You need to decide if they’re real.