(cw: deadnaming/misgendering, kink)
a 30-something leather-clad enby named trinity is on the phone with a cis male comrade–or at least, they believe him to be a comrade at the time. (we’ll come back to him.) thankfully, we never learn trinity’s deadname. (something i wouldn’t even mention if one character in this weren’t deadnamed over & over & over.)
the cops (all cis white men, of course) trace the call and show up to arrest trinity. the feds show up, at which the cops visibly scoff. “i think we can handle one little girl.” (not the first time someone in this movie is misgendered) “i sent two units. they’re bringing her down right now.” one of the feds, agent smith, scoffs right back. “no, lieutenant. your men are already dead.” he knows that trinity is a well-trained member of a violent anticapitalist revolutionary organization and can handle themself.
a chase scene ensues, and trinity just barely manages to get away. we don’t see where they go, not yet. but we’ll come back to that.
elsewhere, another 30-something enby is asleep at their computer. their name is neo. importantly, this is the name they are introduced as. they are also repeatedly deadnamed, especially by the aforementioned agent smith, but also by their boss. it’s a running theme throughout the movie.
neo is in a dead-end job and has recently graduated from the apathy/nihilism stage of disillusionment with capitalism to the “i urgently need to do something about this” stage. we quickly learn they are a hacker, and see that they’re corresponding with someone (we’ll later learn it’s trinity) online. this is very prescient for a film that came out in 1999! the internet is both how a lot of queer & trans people find each other AND how a lot of revolutionary organizations handle big chunks of their recruiting & organizing. (but not ONLY online, mind you. large segments of the working class are, after all, less likely to engage online due to either age/habit or economic circumstances.)
some friends neo doesn’t quite fit in with anymore (ones who are still in the former stage) stop by to pick up some bootlegged software they coded for them. (coding is a very common skill among trans/nonbinary people!!) they end up inviting neo to a party.
at the party, neo’s thinking about leaving. that’ll be the social anxiety; a lot of us trans/enby folk have it. it’s also why neo initially balked at the invitation. “i have work tomorrow” is an excuse i remember giving on any number of occasions. but just as they’re about to leave, they come face to face with trinity for the first time.
neo is taken aback that trinity knows their name, but they’re even more taken aback that they know about their dysphoria. they also have similar politics. neo knows trinity’s work: they hacked the irs database years ago. neo’s honestly a bit starstruck. trinity, on the other hand, knows exactly what every other trans or nonbinary person knows when they come face to face with a recently hatched egg who’s hero-worshipping them: that they’re going to be just as brilliant if they’re given the chance to blossom.
neo stays out way too late and is ripped out of bed by their alarm clock. they don’t make it to work on time and receive a stern lecture from their boss where they are deadnamed over & over, at which they visibly recoil each time but do their best to adopt the submissive, bland facade that’s expected of them. (the former comes rather naturally to them, eh trin?)
just as neo’s settling back in to their desk a cellphone is delivered to them, and it rings almost immediately.
on the other end of the call is morpheus, trinity’s direct superior in their revolutionary organization. trinity’s been handling neo’s recruitment thus far, but the feds know about neo now, and that’s forced their hand. morpheus is deservedly proud of the deep voice hrt has given him. like with trinity, neo feels an immediate kinship with him.
neo’s boss said that neo has “trouble with authority,” which is a bit of an oversimplification. neo does indeed have trouble with exploitative, capitalist authority, but you can just tell they’re extremely subby in more consensual contexts. you’ll notice they had no problem following trinity’s instructions, and they similarly follow all of morpheus’s orders to a t until they’re given a task that’s too dangerous & overwhelming. they don’t believe in themself enough yet. (it also doesn’t help that morpheus hangs up. honestly, if he had stayed on the line to encourage his new sub, i think it woulda helped. but hindsight and all that. morpheus is a pretty great dom but everyone makes mistakes.)
… ok, hopefully you can kinda see where i’m going with this by this point. i’m not going to bore you by sitting here and regurgitating the entire movie to you. let’s just hit some key points.
- neo is taken into custody but OF COURSE doesn’t cooperate with the cops. good enby. agent smith has a thick file on him thanks to the u.s. surveilance state.
- everyone in the resistance is wearing fetish gear.
- switch is the enbiest enby that ever enbied. in spite of their name, they’re also EXTREMELY dommy. i think i have a crush. (not as big as my crush on trin, but still a crush.)
- good cis boys: apoc, tank, dozer, mouse if he’s cis (i have my doubts about this but i don’t quite have him pegged). bad cis boy: cypher. on more than one occasion i’ve had gay or bi cis boys who were superficially allies mansplain my own gender to me. that’s cypher. (and that’s why i don’t need allies, i need comrades.)
- this really jumped out at me on this rewatch for some reason: in the car, when they’re scanning neo for the bug, switch warns trinity “you’re gonna lose it!” trin replies simply, “no i’m not,” and i just… love love LOVE carrie-anne moss’s reading of this line. there’s just this… quiet, calm confidence that feels completely deserved.
- morpheus gives neo hrt AND recruits them into a communist organization. while that didn’t precisely happen to me, the same person who helped me find a doctor to give me hrt also pointed me in the direction of a good communist party to join, soooo.
- when neo gets vored by some metal goo stuff & wakes up in a tank as a human battery before being grabbed by the neck by a giant scary robot, i said something to Mommy along the lines of “this movie is SO kinky, why did i ever complain that it wasn’t kinky enough to justify the wardrobe???”
- the matrix itself is very kinky & i kinda want to be a human battery??? im so subby lmao. (but also like, it’s allegorically about the nonconsensual commoditization of human lives, which… no thank you.)
- i don’t love that the last human city is called zion.
- everyone wants to see morpheus beat up his new sub, wow. (idk if the whole ship is a polycule in some fashion? morpheus & trin & neo are the only survivors of the crew by the next movie, and they’re a lovely triad with morpheus as the dom, trin as a domme-leaning switch who is super glad to have a real sub of their own now, and neo is the subbiest sub who ever subbed in this universe, because i don’t exist there. trin & cypher are clearly awkward exes, and i feel like switch may have been in the original polycule but i have no idea what their status is now. probably they were dating at least apoc, i feel like them & trin & morpheus may have been a thing too? idk.)
- cypher shows his true colors: an assimiliationist gay cis guy. when the machines plugged him back into the matrix full-time, he was probably gonna write for the advocate and be on the board of the human rights campaign. he will sell you out for pennies.
- switch’s death scene is horrifying. i cried.
- the action scenes in this movie (and series) are just… silly & bombastic & so, SO good. i just. i love them so much. there isn’t a bad fight in this movie. and the ridiculous midair rescue of morpheus followed immediately by the ridiculous midair rescue of trinity. THIS MOVIE IS SO GOOD AAAARGH.
- i haven’t talked about the soundtrack yet??? the soundtrack is amazing omg. especially in that last scene i mentioned in the previous bullet point, but also just… in general.
- trinity bringing neo back to life with a kiss and then telling him “now get UP” is a serious domme move omg. also the kiss (with all the sparks in the background) is just amazing. im so gay for these two enbies and their love.
- i picked up a LOT of storytelling habits from the late-90s/early-00s franchises like this, pirates of the caribbean, lord of the rings, and x-men. i think the matrix trilogy stands out even among those, though. it has a very particular tone that’s difficult to put into words but it just… it’s irreplaceable.
- neo & trinity’s second kiss is just as awesome as their first one. i love them so much.
i love this movie i love these movies i love them so much.