Warning: this article contains spoilers for The Matrix Resurrections.
Everyone has heard of her or knows who she is. She’s the world’s best hacker; she robbed the Internal Revenue Service’s database. She’s also in love with the One, the “savior,” another superb hacker. Trinity, brilliantly portrayed by Carrie-Anne Moss, is one of the most fantastic and empowering female characters in the sci-fi genre. As essentially the female lead, Trinity wowed audiences worldwide when The Matrix debuted in 1999. Directed by Lana and Lily Wachowski, this monumental, pop-culture-defining film is filled with intriguing concepts and allegories: mind control, the fine line between choice and fate, and numerous allusions to the Bible and Greek mythology. These matters and more are discussed and thoroughly explored in both the first and continuous installments of the franchise.
Another aspect that contributes to The Matrix universe’s individualism and mind-bending nature is undoubtedly the cast. The Wachowskis did an excellent job carefully selecting the actors who take part in numerous, impressive fight scenes. Moss, along with Keanu Reeves, performed the majority of her stunts as Trinity. And in The Matrix Resurrections (directed by just Lana Wachowski this time around), we see her make a powerful comeback.
Trinity’s relationship with Neo is, without a doubt, one of the qualities that defines her the most, though it’s only one of many complex layers to the character. Trinity is the one who convinces Neo to follow the white rabbit. She is the one who first contacts him. Their relationship takes off quickly from there, and although the entire premise is largely focused on the One being an anomaly and saving the rest of the human race, Neo’s love for Trinity and vice-versa accounts for a significant portion of that premise.
But is that really all there is to Trinity?
Neo, to a large extent, depends on Trinity’s knowledge. After joining the Nebuchadnezzar, Morpheus’s ship, Neo begins to learn as much as he can from everyone. Trinity—as first mate of the ship, second only to Morpheus—inspires the most respect and even intimidation among the crew. That includes Neo, a man waking up for the first time.
Yes, Trinity is an integral part of the narrative throughout the trilogy. Despite not being the character who solely gets the viewers’ attention in every scene, her character manages to stand out and showcase her qualities as best one can, which accounts for why her fight scenes prove to be among the most iconic in the franchise.
Both the first and second films begin with elaborate encounters against insurmountable agents. Even though The Matrix has been out for over 20 years, the fight choreography is still as awe-inspiring as it was in 1999. Thanks to Scott Rogers, Moss’s stunt coordinator for the fourth chapter, Moss continues to positively shock us with her abilities, especially in a chase scene during the film’s third act. Moss’s skill as an actor is paramount in selling the authenticity of these white-knuckle moments. If she floundered, even a little, these films would lose their immersive touch. Take away her committed performance, and you might see the code behind the movie, the underlying silliness beneath it all.
Take, for example, one of the most thrilling scenes from The Matrix Reloaded, which features a certain Keymaker (Randall Duk Kim), a motorcycle, and a freeway. It was shot at Naval Air Station Alameda in Northern California, and it features stunning, precisely-timed choreography synced with appropriately intense background music. Moss brilliantly performed the stunt, despite how the actress would later highlight how stressful it was to shoot these scenes with another passenger—in this case, Duk Kim.
Despite these difficulties, the freeway scene became one of the most popular, well-crafted, and elaborate set pieces in the entire Matrix franchise. And Trinity’s adoration toward bikes gets neatly incorporated into Resurrections, which makes for a remarkable, nostalgic comeback.
The tone of the franchise slightly changes in Resurrections, to be certain. Many elements do return, such as the philosophical dilemmas, balancing free will against predetermination, and so on. But what really remains at the forefront is an incredible love story. As the audience follows each plotline, we realize that Neo and Trinity’s existence is inextricably linked. Their intertwined lives keep balance within the Matrix—if one of them is gone, the balance is off. Wachowski reclaims and further develops Trinity in a much-needed way after her abrupt death in Revolutions, and she effectively becomes Neo’s equal as a result. Even if Neo is the One, he wouldn’t have achieved it alone, as one person.
Trinity’s complicated. She’s a badass. She’s a highly-skilled assassin. And she’s Neo’s partner. Her transformation over the films isn’t seen in her competence, it’s in how we perceive her. She is no longer solely a love interest or solely a skilled fighter who delivers exposition when Morpheus isn’t around. Trinity is someone more now, or maybe she was all along.
When Trinity and Neo first meet in person, one of the things she says to him is, “The answer is out there, Neo. It’s looking for you.” Although we all thought her story tragically ended in Revolutions, Resurrections offers her and Neo another chance at love through some unexpected developments and twists. And a well-realized journey that grabs at the heart of who Trinity really is as a person in-between the real world and the Matrix.
Ultimately, the success of Trinity as a character and the positive fan reactions to her return come down to the wonderful collaboration between Moss and Wachowski, who put their all into shaping her as an empowering, towering icon. The Matrix Resurrections only adds to that legacy, with a finale that doesn’t just get the character right. It gets the entire franchise right.
The Matrix Resurrections is now playing in theaters and on HBO Max for 30 days. Watch the trailer here.