The Matrix is one of the most popular sci-fi movies of all time, and here are ten other movies that you should definitely watch if you like it. The Matrix is much more than just an action movie, as it uses its sci-fi setting to discuss deep, philosophical themes that are rarely found in other blockbuster movies. However, The Matrix is far from being the only one that does this, with these ten movies pairing perfectly with The Matrix franchise.
1999’s The Matrix was a revolutionary film, with it using groundbreaking filmmaking techniques and a unique new story to quickly catapult itself into its position as a pop culture icon. The original film was a huge critical and box office success, leading to it becoming a trilogy with the releases of The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. The franchise even got a revival film in 2021, with The Matrix Resurrections renewing interest in the franchise. The story of The Matrix is seemingly over now, but these ten movies have captured many of the same elements that made the original The Matrix so great.
Christopher Nolan’s 2010 film Inception is known for its groundbreaking special effects and fantastic action, putting it in a similar position to The Matrix. However, its similarities to the Wachowskis’ magnum opus run much deeper than that. Inception asks many of the same questions that The Matrix does, exploring themes of existence, questions about reality, and pondering on what it means to be human. Christopher Nolan’s film tells a grand story with massive stakes, making it even closer to The Matrix. Inception is a much more tonally serious film than The Matrix, but it is an almost perfect match in nearly every other way.
The Matrix is a film that wears its inspirations on its sleeve, and one of its biggest inspirations was the 1988 anime film Akira. Akira‘s cyberpunk aesthetic and visual style had an impact on the visuals of The Matrix, with The Matrix often being described as a live-action anime. The action in The Matrix also resembles that of Akira, meaning that viewers can see more hyper-stylized fight scenes in the 1988 film. Seeing a film’s inspirations can allow for a better understanding and appreciation of the film, and watching Akira can do that for The Matrix.
8 Ghost In The Shell
While Akira was an influential film, Ghost in the Shell had an even bigger influence on The Matrix, with the Wachowskis citing it several times throughout the film’s production. Many scenes in The Matrix seem as if they were directly pulled from Ghost in the Shell, with The Matrix featuring all kinds of Easter eggs and references to the 1995 film. The Matrix pulled much of its style from Ghost in the Shell, with it being able to take the anime sequences and beautifully translate them into live action.
The Matrix is known for being a sci-fi packed with social commentary, so it would be a good idea to see one of the earliest major sci-fi social commentaries: Metropolis. Fritz Lang’s 1921 film Metropolis is a German satire that uses its futuristic setting to explore themes of class and social disruption. The stylized futuristic city actually isn’t that too far off from what it presented in The Matrix, yet it was released decades earlier. Metropolis is nearly a century old now, but it still holds up, with it being praised as one of the greatest and most influential sci-fi films of all time.
1985’s Brazil is another stylized sci-fi that is known for its social commentary, although it does take a bit of a different turn than The Matrix does. While The Matrix is a sci-fi action movie, Brazil is a sci-fi dark comedy, with it employing many of the signature traits of director Terry Gilliam. Brazil is often considered one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, with it being on the same level of quality and notoriety as The Matrix.
The Matrix is all about living inside of a computer, a storyline that TRON mastered 17 years earlier. TRON may be lighter on the social commentary that The Matrix, but its special effects were just as groundbreaking, with the film featuring some jaw-dropping visuals at the time it was released. The sequel, TRON: Legacy, is also a great companion piece to The Matrix, and with TRON: Ares in pre-production, it’s the perfect time to get caught up on the series.
4 Total Recall
1990’s Total Recall is another sci-fi film that looks at similar themes to The Matrix, although it isn’t as well-remembered as the Keanu Reeves classic. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in Total Recall, playing a construction worker who realizes that all of his memories are false and have been implanted into his mind. Paul Verhoeven’s ultra-stylized filmmaking and social commentary are once again present in Total Recall, meaning that it would be perfect viewing for any fan of The Matrix.
3 Blade Runner 2049
While the original Blade Runner is a great companion piece for The Matrix, 2017’s Blade Runner 2049 is a more modern (and arguably better) take on the same concept. The film uses humanoid androids known as replicants to explore what it actually means to be human, with it using machines in the same way that The Matrix did in 1999. Blade Runner 2049 is a bit slower and less action-heavy than The Matrix, but the film’s slow pace is actually one of its biggest strengths. A sequel TV series titled Blade Runner 2099 is currently in the works, meaning that there’s still more to come from the Blade Runner franchise.
2 Speed Racer
While the other films on this list are here due to their similarities to The Matrix, 2008’s live-action Speed Racer movie is here for a different reason. Speed Racer was also made by the Wachowskis, with the film building on many of their anime inspirations. The Wachowskis masterfully translate the goofy and campy tone of Speed Racer into live-action, using stylized CGI and over-the-top writing to recapture the feeling of the original show. Speed Racer has become a cult classic, but it is essential viewing for any fan of the Wachowskis.
1 Jupiter Ascending
Similarly, Jupiter Ascending is another film made by the Wachowskis, with it having been released in 2015. The film sees the Wachowskis return to sci-fi, with the film’s massive budget allowing the filmmaking duo to create a bigger world than ever before. Sadly, Jupiter Ascending was a box office bomb, with it causing the Wachowskis to go on a hiatus after its release. While Jupiter Ascending was a critical failure, it is an interesting piece of history of the filmmakers behind The Matrix.