How to watch the Matrix movies in order: Chronological timeline and release order

How to watch the Matrix movies in order: Chronological timeline and release order

So, are you taking the Red Pill or the Blue Pill? 

As one of the most iconic sci-fi franchises in history, it is little wonder that fans of The Matrix will continue to revisit the franchise for years to come.

Interest in the franchise has increased further with the release of a new fourth live-action outing in 2021, titled The Matrix Resurrections.

The film sees Keanu Reeves reprise his role as Neo/Thomas Anderson for an all-new mind-boggling adventure that mysteriously sees Carrie-Anne Moss back by his side in the role of his one true love Trinity.

The new outing also stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and returning franchise star Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe.

For RadioTimes.com’s review of The Matrix Resurrections see here, while if you have seen it then be sure to read our ending explained article too.

However, if you are looking to catch up on the franchise ahead of the new film, then look no further as all of the information on the order of the Matrix films is available below.

How to watch the Matrix movies in order

The Matrix movies in release date order

The Matrix (31st March 1999)

The original film and the highest-rated critically, The Matrix introduced viewers to Neo, Trinity, Morpheus and all of our favourite characters.

Thomas A. Anderson (Keanu Reeves) begins to realise the world he inhabits is not what it seems and goes on a profound journey of self-discovery after crossing paths with the mysterious Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and her superior Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne).

The Matrix Reloaded (15th May 2003)

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Reloaded (Warner Brothers)

Picking up six months following the end of the first film, Neo and Trinity are in a full-blown relationship as Morpheus tries to plan how the human race can rescue their home of Zion from the approaching machines. Meanwhile, in the Matrix, Smith (Hugo Weaving) amasses strength and power after his encounter with Neo.

The film’s cliffhanger leads directly into The Matrix Revolutions which was released the same year.

The Animatrix (3rd June 2003)

A collection of adult animated short films, the direct-to-home-release The Animatrix further expanded the universe of The Matrix with nine different stories.

These stories took place before, between and after the original live-action trilogy of films.

The Matrix Revolutions (5th November 2003)

The third and final instalment of the original Matrix trilogy of films, The Matrix Revolutions picks up immediately where Reloaded left off.

Zion faces destruction from the machines but Neo goes out of his way to confront the enemy as they face a common threat in the form of an ever-powerful Smith. 

The Matrix Resurrections (22nd December 2021)

The fourth and latest entry in the Matrix franchise is to be released almost two decades after the last film and is also set 20 years later.

Thomas A. Anderson finds that his world is not what it seems as he begins to remember what happened to himself, Trinity and Morpheus at the end of the war with the machines. Will Neo be reunited with Trinity for good?

The Matrix movies in chronological order

Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves in The Matrix

Photo by Ronald Siemoneit/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

Despite the release date order of the films roughly reflecting the chronological order of the films, the inclusion of the short films in The Animatrix means these are scattered before, between and after the live-action releases.

All of these, however, take place before the latest film release, The Matrix Resurrections.

  1. The Animatrix: The Second Resistance, Parts 1 and 2
  2. The Animatrix: A Detective Story
  3. The Matrix
  4. The Animatrix: The Kid’s Story
  5. The Animatrix: Final Flight of the Osiris
  6. The Matrix Reloaded & Enter the Matrix
  7. The Matrix Revolutions
  8. The Animatrix: Beyond
  9. The Animatrix: Matriculated
  10. The Animatrix: Program
  11. The Animatrix: World Record
  12. The Matrix Resurrections

So, that’s the very precise way to watch all of the Matrix films.

Where do the Matrix video games fit in?

Keanu Reeves previews The Matrix Awakens

There have been a series of video games based on The Matrix franchise.

The first game, Enter the Matrix (2003), is set during the events of The Matrix Reloaded and was produced alongside this film and The Matrix Revolutions.

The second game was a massively multiplayer online role-playing game which is the most significant in the series chronology, titled The Matrix Online (2005).

This game continues the events of the film series and features a number of complicated plot lines, including the apparent death of Morpheus. However, it is unknown if these events are considered canon with what happens in The Matrix Resurrections.

A third game, The Matrix: Path of Neo (2005), is set mostly during the events of the first film with players taking on the role of Thomas Anderson/Neo during some of the biggest action set pieces of the original cinematic outing.

Finally, The Matrix Awakens (2021) is a free PS5 tech demo that has been designed to show off the capabilities of Unreal Engine 5 technology.

It is not strictly a video game but more a technical walkthrough.

The Matrix movies in Rotten Tomatoes score order

Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Resurrections

Warner Bros

The Matrix films have come in for a great deal of analysis and discussion, so here is how they all fair on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.

The percentage reflects the number of reviews that rated the film to be “Fresh” versus “Rotten”.

The Matrix (1999) – 88%

The critics’ consensus reads: “Thanks to the Wachowskis’ imaginative vision, The Matrix is a smartly crafted combination of spectacular action and groundbreaking special effects.”

The Matrix Reloaded (2003) – 73%

The critics’ consensus reads: “Though its heady themes are a departure from its predecessor, The Matrix Reloaded is a worthy sequel packed with popcorn-friendly thrills.”

The Matrix Revolutions (2003) – 35%

The critics’ consensus reads: “A disappointing conclusion to the Matrix trilogy as characters and ideas take a back seat to the special effects.”

The Animatrix (2003) – 83%

Although it should be noted there are not enough reviews to provide a consensus.

The Matrix Resurrections (2021) – 66%

The critics’ consensus reads: “If it lacks the original’s bracingly original craft, The Matrix Resurrections revisits the world of the franchise with wit, a timely perspective, and heart.|

So, essentially, the first remains king!

Read More: The Matrix Resurrections end credits scene explained

Read More: Doctor Who star makes surprise appearance in The Matrix Resurrections

Read More: Who is revealed to be The One in The Matrix Resurrections?

The Matrix Resurrections is out now in UK cinemas.

If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Movies hub for the latest news.

This year’s Radio Times Christmas double issue is on sale now, featuring two weeks of TV, film and radio listings, reviews, features and interviews with the stars.

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