Parent’s Guide: How ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ got its R rating


The Matrix Resurrections (2021) (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes

THE MATRIX — For all those out there who still aren’t sure if we’re all living in “The Matrix” or not, I have good news and bad news.

First the bad news: I can’t tell you whether we’re in the Matrix or not. But if we are, I feel like the machines should have made me more successful. The good news: A new “Matrix” movie is coming out to mess with your head a bit so you can question your reality even further.

Nearly 20 years after the third film “The Matrix Revolutions” premiered, Neo and Trinity are back at it with “The Matrix Resurrections.” The film continues the story of “The One” and his band of misfits as they fight against the machines and the forced reality all humans live.

This review isn’t to let you know whether you should head to the theater to catch the latest Matrix adventure, but rather what you can expect from a content standpoint so you can make an informed decision as to whether you’d like to head to the theater, or maybe how to answer when your teen asks if he or she can head to the cinema with some friends to check out “The Matrix Resurrections.”

The first “Matrix” movie was interesting, considering it almost felt closer to a PG-13 than an R rating. There are rumors I cannot prove as fact that the MPAA originally gave the movie a PG-13 rating but the filmmakers thought it would get more publicity and fit the tone better if it had an R rating. So, in a rare move they decided to add some blood to the violence to secure an R rating. This is likely an old Hollywood wives tale, but “The Matrix” could easily have been rated PG-13.

The two sequels went out of their way to get an R rating, but what about the fourth installment? Here’s how “The Matrix Resurrections” earned its R rating:

Sex

The first film was void of any sexual content other than some tight-fitting body suits worn by some characters. The second and third films threw in a sex scene and a rave that felt really out of place and unnecessary to me, but that’s just my opinion.

This latest Matrix outing is more along the lines of the original film. No sex scenes to speak of, and maybe a kiss or two — that’s it. When the humans are shown in their harvest state in their pods they are nude, but all private areas are covered and nothing is seen. What skin you can see — stomach and shoulders — is mainly obstructed and blurry anyway.

“The Matrix” is not about sex, and this movie continues that formula.

Language

Throughout the film there is some scattered profanity. Most of it is PG-13 type fair, and there isn’t much of that. For example, it is not constant or in your face.

There are three distinct uses of the F-word in the movie. They can come across as a bit jarring considering the low amount of cursing in the film. You can also telegraph the moments the are coming because it seems obvious they’re about to go there.

There have been just a handful of PG-13 films with about as many uses of the word. For example “Million Dollar Baby” is PG-13 and uses the word four times. And the PG-13 Jim Carrey comedy “Yes Man” uses it three times. This isn’t to try and play down that the language isn’t bad, just trying to draw a correlation for you and the inconsistency of the MPA with their rating system.

It’s possible it was said at least one other time, but it was hard to make out as it was coming from a man who was ranting in the background.

Violence

As you could have guessed, “The Matrix Revolutions” is fairly violent. There are plenty of action scenes and a lot of people being killed — or at least their avatars in the Matrix world are being killed. The body count is high, and most people are killed by guns and other weapons.

In some of the action scenes there is some blood and blood splatter as people are shot, but it’s not gratuitous. You never see puddles of blood on the ground or smeared all over the walls. There is one scene where bodies hit the pavement from a high altitude, and we see them hit. It can be disturbing but as you look closer, when the bodies hit and basically explode what looks like blood and gore is actually the green strands of code that have become associated with “The Matrix.” It can still be disturbing for some viewers.

Again, there is some blood and gore, but the violence is high and the death toll is almost constant.

Should ‘The Matrix Ressurections’ be rated R?

As always, I will never tell you if you should or shouldn’t see a movie or let your kids see it based on the content in it. Only you can make that decision. I am here to let you what you can expect to see so you can make a more educated decision.

If we based the rating off of sex, then I think “The Matrix Resurrections” would definitely be PG-13 — and a mild one at that. If we go off language, I would say it would probably get an R, but stranger things have happened as I pointed out. If we look at just violence, I would say it’s borderline. I actually think most Bond films have as high a body count and there is more blood in the PG-13 “Expendables” movie.

When we add all three elements, however, along with the tone and overall feel of the movie I think the R rating makes sense. It may be a tamer R than a lot of films out there, but R none the less.

“The Matrix Resurrections” is officially rated R for violence and some language.


About the Author: John Clyde

John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge. He also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome, and it just so happens, that these are the three things he writes about. To read more of his articles, visit John’s KSL.com author page.

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