Where to watch the first three ‘Matrix’ films


On Dec. 22, The Matrix will be resurrected, 18 years after the conclusion of a trilogy that changed action science-fiction forever.  

Released in 1999, The Matrix challenged perceptions of what blockbuster movies could be and do. It wasn’t just the subject matter, but how they were filmed. Written and directed by the Wachowskis, the way in which the siblings realized their vision is as crucial to the overall experience as the themes they explored.

The innovative siblings have never been fans of commentaries, preferring to let their films speak for themselves. With The Matrix, they wanted to provoke discussion and thought. They even convinced Warner Bros. Pictures to produce two audio commentaries for the film’s home release: one from philosophers who liked the movie and another from critics who didn’t. In their introduction to these unusual extras, the siblings explained how they were influenced to write the original story by a New York Times demand that Hollywood “deliver action films that are loud, dumb, and obvious.”

With the Matrix Trilogy, they blew that apart. 

A moment in time

The Matrix rewrote the language of action films and added new phrases to popular culture. In a movie packed with groundbreaking effects and stunning cinematography, Bullet Time particularly captured the imagination. It was a revolutionary moment in movie theaters ⏤ a technique that pushed special effects by drawing on the earliest innovations in the medium. It froze the clashes between humans and Agents, removing them from time and space. It was very Matrix. Most importantly, from the moment Carrie-Anne Moss’ Trinity leapt into the air, it looked incredible. 

The Wachowskis’ concept was a phenomenon from the start. Comic series and short stories were released before the film even reached theaters. It soon became a multimedia franchise. Viewing orders now include the animated spin-off collection The Animatrix and video games Enter the Matrix and The Matrix: Path of Neo alongside the movie trilogy.

The Matrix rewound


The Matrix is a hero’s journey similar to giant science-fiction sagas like Dune and Star Wars. In the first film, Keanu Reeves’ Neo is our gateway into a new universe or two. It’s through his eyes that we discover the horrifying truth of the Matrix and the real world beyond it. That said, neither he nor the viewer can be too sure that everything is as it seems. Themes of destiny and predetermination are essential for many heroes’ journeys, but The Matrix builds on the concept in ways never previously seen on screen. 

Like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, Neo discovers a powerful force surrounding him. Unlike Skywalker, he must step back into his former prison of perception to unlock incredible powers. As the fight between machines and humans is revealed, Neo is saddled with a prophecy that he could be the One, a path of discovery that isn’t straightforward, especially when you add in love interest Trinity. 

The success of The Matrix led to two sequels, filmed concurrently to complete the trilogy. While the first film is a master class in heavy exposition carried with style and pace, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions changed pace. Over the concluding four and a half hours, the Wachowskis further explored the connection between body and mind while keeping the action sequences intact. The effects and conceptual set-pieces stepped up alongside the mythology and blurring realities.

While the trilogy struggled to retain the tight structure and revelation that made the first film so powerful, there’s no denying that deeper trips into the Matrix mainframe and human fortress of Zion increased the threat. As for the way the trilogy concludes, we’ll leave you to make up your own mind. 

The Matrix remains groundbreaking to this day. It threw quotes, iconic set-pieces, and incredible imagery into popular culture and ensured we’ll never forget flip phones. It kicked off a franchise that almost managed to have its cake and eat it, too. That’s particularly true with the continuation of Neo’s story, The Matrix Resurrections. It’s a sequel many hoped for, but few expected.

The story continues with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss returning as Neo and Trinity. Behind the camera, Lana Wachowski is back, masterminding the resurrection, albeit without her sister this time around. In the past two decades, no action film has matched the innovation of The Matrix, so it’s good to have it back.

As you’re unlikely to have a port in the back of your neck to connect you to the mainframe, you might well need an old-fashioned refresher on the events of the Matrix Trilogy before things reboot.

Here’s where you can watch the first three Matrix films

the matrix

If you’re looking for a refresher, or to maybe plug yourself into The Matrix for the very first time, here’s where you can watch the first three Matrix films now. There’s a choice, but it doesn’t involve any red or blue pills.  

In the United States

The Matrix Trilogy is streaming now on Warner Bros. Pictures’ HBO Max.

An ad-supported subscription ($9.99 per month) or an ad-free subscription ($14.99 per month) will let you watch the original Matrix Trilogy straightaway. It will also allow you to watch The Matrix Resurrections as soon as it is released on the platform on Dec. 22.

Alternatively, you can stream the original trilogy on Hulu. It comes in slightly cheaper at $6.99 or $12.99 per month, depending on whether you choose ad-supported viewing or not. In addition to other original programming and films, you can also take out a bundle that includes Disney Plus and ESPN Plus for $13.99 per month. 

All regions

To access digital copies of the Matrix Trilogy, you can buy or rent from several online stores, including YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime Video.

If you’re after a hard copy of the films, standard DVDs, Blu-Rays, and UHD versions are available now at many high street and online retailers and also libraries.

Re-entering The Matrix this December

The Matrix Resurrections

The Matrix Resurrections is set for release on Dec. 22, 2021. It will simultaneously be released on HBO Max and at movie theaters in the United States and in movie theaters worldwide from that date. Judging by what we’ve seen from the trailers so far, it’s sure to be an exciting trip back into The Matrix that fans won’t soon forget.