Parents’ Guide: How “The Matrix Resurrections” Got Its R Rating

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

Estimated reading time: 5-6 minutes

THE MATRIX – For anyone who still isn’t sure whether we are all living in “The Matrix” or not, I have good news and bad news.

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

Almost 20 years after the premiere of the third film “The Matrix Revolutions”, Neo and Trinity are back with “The Matrix Resurrections”. The film continues the story of “The One” and his gang of misfits as they battle machines and the forced reality that all humans experience.

This review doesn’t tell you if you need to go to the theater to see the latest Matrix adventure, but rather what you can expect from a content standpoint so you can make an informed decision about where if you want to go to the theater, or maybe how to respond when your teenager asks if he can go to the movies with friends to see “The Matrix Resurrections”.

The first “Matrix” movie was interesting, given that it felt almost closer to a PG-13 than an R rating. There are rumors that I cannot prove as a fact that the MPAA has initially assigned the film a PG-13 rating, but the filmmakers believed that it would do more publicity and match the tone better if it had an R rating. So, in a rare move, they decided to add more blood violence to get an R rating. This is probably an old Hollywood wives tale, but “The Matrix” could easily have been rated PG-13.

Both sequels have gone out of their way to earn an R rating, but what about the fourth installment? Here’s how “The Matrix Resurrections” got its R rating:

Sex

The first film was devoid of any sexual content other than the tight-fitting jumpsuits worn by certain characters. The second and third movies introduced a sex scene and rave that I felt was really out of place and unnecessary, but that’s just my opinion.

This latest Matrix release is more in line with the original film. No actual sex scenes, and maybe a kiss or two – that’s it. When humans are shown in their harvest state in their pods, they are naked, but all private areas are covered and nothing is seen. The skin you can see – your stomach and shoulders – is mostly clogged and fuzzy anyway.

“The Matrix” isn’t about sex, and this movie continues that formula.

Language

Throughout the film, there are scattered profanities. Most are of the PG-13 type, and there aren’t many. For example, it’s not constant or in your face.

There are three distinct uses of the F word in the movie. They might seem a bit shocking considering how low the amount of profanity is in the film. You can also telegraph the times to come as it seems obvious that they are about to go.

There have only been 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 Jim Carrey’s PG-13 comedy “Yes Man” uses it three times. It’s not about trying to downplay that the language isn’t bad, just trying to correlate for you and the MPA’s inconsistency with its grading system.

It is possible that it was said at least one other time, but it was difficult to understand because it was from a man rousing in the background.

Violence

As you might have guessed, “The Matrix Revolutions” is quite violent. There are a lot of action scenes and a lot of people are killed – or at least their avatars in the Matrix world are killed. The death toll is high and most people are killed by guns and other weapons.

In some action scenes there is blood and blood splatter when people are shot, but it is not free. You never see puddles of blood on the floor or on the walls. There is a scene where bodies hit the sidewalk at high altitude, and we see them hit. It can be disturbing, but when you take a closer look, when the bodies hit and explode, what looks like blood and blood are actually the green strands of code that have become associated with “The Matrix”. It can still be disturbing for some viewers.

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

Should “The Matrix Ressurections” be rated R?

As always, I’ll never tell you whether or not you should or shouldn’t see a movie or let your kids see it based on the content in it. Only you can make this decision. I’m here to tell you what you can expect to see so that you can make a more informed decision.

If we were basing the rating on gender, then I think “The Matrix Resurrections” would definitely be PG-13 – and a sweet one at that. If we get out of the language I would say it would probably get an R, but stranger things have happened as I pointed out. If we only look at violence, I would say it’s borderline. In fact, I think most Bond movies have such a high body count and there is more blood in the PG-13 movie “The Expendables”.

However, when we add all three elements, along with the overall tone and feel of the film, I think the R rating makes sense. It might be a more tame R than a lot of movies, but R nonetheless.

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


About the Author: John Clyde

John grew up around movies and annoys his friends and family with his facts and knowledge about movies. He also has a passion for sports and just about everything great, and these happen to be the three things he writes about. To read more of his articles, visit the John KSL.com author page.

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