The red pill, or the blue pill? When The Matrix premiered in 1999, it posed a question that would echo throughout pop culture for the next two decades — and it made no bones about pointing to the right answer. The film portrayed Neo (Keanu Reeves) as a hero for going down the rabbit hole, and memorably ended with the song “Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine. Its message was clear: Become aware of the repressive systems that regulate society, and you’ll be able to make change, to bend rules that once seemed unbreakable. (It was also, as was later confirmed, a powerful allegory for the trans experience.) In the subsequent two sequels, writer-directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski followed Neo on his quest to save humanity from the machines, to reawaken the Matrix’s population from its collective slumber.
Now, Lana Wachowski offers viewers the choice once again in The Matrix Resurrections, the fourth installment in the franchise. In part, the new film was designed to take back the “red pill” metaphor, which has been co-opted by the radical right in recent years. In an interview with The A.V. Club,Matrix Resurrections co-writer Aleksander Hemon teased that “one thing we were mindful of is how to reclaim that trope. To renew the meaning of Red Pill/Blue Pill.”
Ready to dive into the Matrix’s world once again? Below, a quick, (mostly) spoiler-free overview of the original trilogy, as well as how to stream all four Matrix films, including The Matrix Resurrections.