With the release of the first trailer for The Matrix Resurrections this week, fans of the popular film franchise are looking to revisit its previous hit films in preparation for the film’s release. The question is, what is the proper order to watch The Matrix movies and where can you watch them all?
The original Matrix movie starring Keanu Reeves as the film’s protagonist Neo (aka The One)—a cybercriminal and computer programmer chosen to vacillate between real and digital worlds in order to bring peace to the world—was released in 1999 and caught the attention of movie fanatics everywhere. Reeves, along with Carrie-Anne Moss and Laurence Fishburne, are pinned against relentless artificial agents of a programmed reality and must defeat them in order to free humanity from the stranglehold of an artificially intelligent Matrix.
The film was responsible for the now well-known redpill/bluepill metaphor for whether you will choose to make the right or wrong decision, as Neo was asked to choose between one of two pills in the movie.
The Matrix was followed by two more feature films, The Matrix Reloaded (May 2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (November 2003), with the franchise also releasing an anthology of animated short films in the middle of the trilogy, titled The Animatrix (all released on June 3, 2003).
Four of the nine shorts were written by the Wachowskis themselves, who penned The Matrix movie trilogy, The Animatrix is considered part of the Matrix repertoire. The individual shorts occur at various points along the Matrix timeline, including prior to the events of the initial film. It would make sense, however, to watch The Matrix trilogy before exploring The Animatrix shorts in order to fully appreciate where they are coming from.
As for the feature films, the Wachowskis have returned for a fourth installment of The Matrix titled The Matrix Resurrections, starring Keanu Reeves and Christina Ricci, which will be released on December 22, 2021. So whether you’re planning to catch the new film in theatres or stream it on HBO Max and need a quick recap, then we’ll help you watch the original films in the right order. Below, we’ve organized all of The Matrix franchise movies and shorts by order of chronological events so that you can catch yourself up in time. We’ll also tell you where to watch them. See you in the digital world!
Animatrix: The Second Renaissance, Part I and II
Part I and Part II of The Second Renaissance tells the backstory of how the computer matrix itself was created. It also follows the events that lead up to the humans of this world being controlled by machines. All of The Anamatrix shorts are currently streaming on HBO Max.
The Animatrix: A Detective Story
A Detective Story follows Detective Ash in his pursuit within the Matrix of the shifty internet hacker known as Trinity, sometime after the Matrix is created and before she joins forces with Morpheus.
Released March 31, 1999, The Matrix is the franchise’s original film which introduces audiences to Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus. It is now streaming on HBO Max.
The Animatrix: The Kid’s Story
This short follows the young boy in the second installment of the film trilogy who breaks out of the Matrix and saves himself by sheer willpower alone. His story occurs within the six month period between the events of The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded.
The Animatrix: Final Flight of the Osiris
Final Flight of the Osiris follows characters within the Matrix world as they train in the real world to fight in the digital one. It also centers on the battles of the ship Osiris.
The Matrix Reloaded
Released May 15, 2003, The Matrix Reloaded occurs six months after the events of The Matrix and is somewhat of a love story between Neo and Trinity. There is plenty of plot and suspense, however, as Neo discovers the inner workings of the Matrix.
The Matrix Revolutions
Released on November 5, 2003, The Matrix Revolutions begins where The Matrix Reloaded ends and was the final installment of the trilogy of feature films until now. Neo makes an ultimate sacrifice to complete his mission (or so he thought).
The Animatrix: Beyond
Beyond occurs after the events of the film trilogy and follows Yoko, a young girl who discovers a disturbing place filled with the “glitches in the Matrix.”
The Animatrix: World Record
World Record centers on a man, who like the young boy in The Kid’s Story, temporarily escapes the Matrix due to his own strength and mental willpower. This short does not necessarily have a particular time period.
The Animatrix: Program
Program dives deeper into the simulated training and kung-fu culture of the Matrix franchise.
The Animatrix: Matriculated
Matriculated follows two humans who attempt to teach humanlike qualities such as empathy and compassion to the machines they apprehend.
The Matrix Resurrections
The Matrix Resurrections, starring Keanu Reeves and Christina Ricci, which will be released in theatres and on HBO Max on December 22, 2021.
Michael is a music and television junkie keen on most things that are not a complete and total bore. You can follow him on Twitter — @Tweetskoor
Stream The Matrix on HBO Max