We haven’t seen too many movies like ‘The Matrix’. When it was first released, it was as revolutionary for the world of cinema as 2001: A Space Odyssey. It defied every expectation the genre or stories until then had ever raised in the form of tradition. Keanu Reeves became a household name and it etched its place in pop culture as generational work that transformed the medium forever. The franchise was resuscitated through Resurrections and ardent fans loved every minute of it. Even though ‘The Matrix’ professes to be a lone wolf, there are many stories like it that have come to us since. They are all unique in their own way but bear thematic, structural, and visual similarities to The Matrix. We have prepared a list of such movies for you to reminisce about the timeless classic. Happy reading!

10. Tron (1982)

Movies like The Matrix - Tron (1982)

This yesteryear sci-fi flick starring Jeff Bridges comes very close to Matrix conceptually. Like The Matrix, Tron’s story sees people entering and exiting the world of software in computers. It involves strikingly similar jargon and even CGI scenes. Tron set a trend of using special effects like these in big-budget blockbusters.

It opened the doors of endless possibilities for filmmakers looking to explore their passion and predilection for video games and the emerging world of computers. The movie also inspired a whole generation of youngsters to take up an interest in the world of software and information technology. This domain dominates the world today, with technology penetrating every sphere of our lives. Tron has since been turned into a successful movie franchise, another detail it shares with The Matrix Trilogy.

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9. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

The Matrix had an evil plan to destroy worlds in order to get what they wanted. It mixed this central plot with pressing questions about identity, existential ruminations about technology, and our purpose in life. ‘Hitchhiker’s has all those elements in abundance in its storytelling. Both the movies have a similar-minded core that is integrated with a fantastical story arch. However, they are completely different in terms of the humor content.

Hitchhiker’s Guide is egregiously funny and has the typical Brit-style dry humor. Some jokes stick, some don’t, but all of them come from a place of pure intentions to adapt the novel perfectly. Question marks remain over issues about consistency but that is beside the point the filmmakers are driving home. It is a fun-filled “misadventure” that has a lot in store for you. Be prepared to witness a head-scratching laugh riot, but go in with some context to optimize your experience.

8. Minority Report (2002)

Movies like The Matrix - Minority Report

Steven Spielberg’s serious-minded film is cloaked in the form of a taut thriller set in another world. Much like The Matrix, its dystopian ideas are way ahead of its times. It has a certain authoritarian rebelliousness that we also find in Neo’s journey. Minority Report does not move at a frenetic pace. Instead, it gradually settles you in its immersive world-building exercise before sweeping you off your feet.

Tom Cruise gives a remarkable lead performance that grounds Minority Report in a morally conflicting fabric of storytelling that otherwise would have been difficult to pull off. The thematic core is richly populated with probing motifs about classic elements of hardcore film drama driven home by Spielberg’s craftsmanship to manage his resources. Minority Report is an overwhelming cinematic experience at first but with time, it grows on you as a familiar story of emotions from the playbook of life that you see every day around you.

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7. The Terminator (1984)

What a time was the 1980s to be alive as a cinephile. Bold auteurs like James Cameron and Steven Spielberg dared to show you places you’d never imagine technology could make possible. It was like reinventing the wheel in some sense of the phrase. The Terminator is an ageless classic that never gets dull. Its genius and significance are only accentuated by changing sensibilities and passing eras.

Like The Matrix, The Terminator is not afraid to show you the evil side of technology and features a psychotic cyborg made to kill. At the same time, there is an interface between humanity and technology that really lights it up. This connection is what makes The Terminator accessible to you as a story. Arnold Schwarzenegger gives a tour de France performance writing himself in history books in the process. It is as memorable as it gets when we talk about movie heroes and villains.

6. Looper (2012)

Movies like The Matrix - Looper (2012)

Although time travel isn’t strictly found in The Matrix, there is a similar trope used to arrive at the same effect. ‘Looper’ is one of the most distinguished films on the list because of this very feature. Rian Johnson’s steady sci-fi drama realizes a haunting reality in the future where crime and chaos headline ordinary life. His plot disposes of any niceties and gets straight to business, giving the runtime a crisp look.

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The cast including names like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis is a natural and easy fit into the scheme of things. There are no false notes in the collective ensemble performance and their methods actually add a winning quality to Looper’s emotional core. Like the Matrix, Looper is one of those movies that executes its ambitious reimagining of the future with stellar world-building. It keeps you hooked to its foreboding story that is as complex as it is stylish.

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5. Blade Runner (1982)

Movies like The Matrix - Blade Runner

The Matrix and Blade Runner both share a futuristic ruminating of a changing world that is commoditized and is under the severe thumb of capitalist corporations. The worlds presented to us are not too dissimilar. But different angles and perspectives within those universes are chosen to be represented. The overbearing role of machines is another striking similarity between the two films.

The commentary and philosophical core of both stories are similar too, making them interesting companion pieces side by side. Blade Runner was another precedent-setting sci-fi film with very little awareness about androids and cyborgs in general press and audiences. It introduced us to completely new characters and themes that we had never seen before in films. Harrison Ford led the cast with a starring performance. His involvement brought star power to the story and truly allowed it to flourish.

4. Solaris (1972)

Tarkovsky adapted the novel of the same name to make a sci-fi film that dared to have the heart of a brooding drama. Science is a small part of the significant story about human emotions like grief, pain, regret, and anxiousness in a changing world. Trakovsky had mastered the art of telling such intricate stories about human consciousness with admirable deft and panache.

Solais tracks the journey of Kelvin, a celebrated psychologist, traveling to a planet to study its behavior. In the course of his journey, Kelvin encounters painful memories from the past and learns shocking truths about the planet that has deceptive “healing” powers to make you see what you want. Like The Matrix, the human conundrum is at Solaris’ core. For all that matters, it is Kelvin’s condition that is more dear to Tarkovsky than the planet and its secrets. He even faced criticism from the writer of the book because of his decision to make these creative changes. The climactic twist is an ingenious move that you never see coming. Even if it weren’t featured on this list, you should watch it without excuses.

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3. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Movies like The Matrix - Ghost in the Shell

‘Ghost in the Shell’ is one of the most profound animes on the cyberpunk reality that caught the fancy of mainstream audiences. Loved for its garish and stylistic depiction of cyborg consciousness, GITS features here beside The Matrix because of its similar thematic core and brooding visual tone. The idea of self-aware computer programs with the potential to dominate the world unites the two movies, foremostly.

Despite its story structure, GITS had cutting-edge high-concept ideas that we had rarely presented with such panache before. The assimilation of the thoughts from the manga happens within the bounds of an engaging plot that is neither too shallow nor too intricate for our liming. Another extremely important feature of the two films is the role and inversion of gender within the cinematic universes. Despite their stylistic differences and the fact that GITS is an anime, both the movie are equally enjoyable as edge-of-the-seat sci-fi thrillers.

2. Dune (2021)

Movies like The Matrix - Dune (2021)

Dune features on the list because of sharing the theme of the “chosen one” with The Matrix. Both Neo and Paul were the saviors that the people on the good side were looking for to defeat the bad side. Many sacrifices and arrangements were made to bring them on the path to realizing their destinies. In fact, both the movies were entirely dedicated as setups to show their journeys.

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They are individuals who have been prophecized to bring peace and salvation to their respective cultures. This thematic structure is inherently dependent upon the central figure but both filmmakers at the helm of the project do not limit their narratives. Dune is Dennis Villeneuve’s attempt to “look at the future from the prism of today”, which is something very similar to what the Wachowskis do. It is quite bewildering how similar the two sets of movies are. Visually, though, Dune takes the cake, albeit with a generational advantage of two decades worth of technological advancements.

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1. Everything, Everywhere, All at Once (2022)

Movies like The Matrix - Everything Everywhere all At Once

Every once in a while we see a movie that will change the perception of movies for a generation. This has happened so many times since the inception of this beautiful medium. For the 21st century, I firmly believe Everything, Everywhere, All at Once is that game changer. It is a remarkable feat and truly unleashes the madness of the multiverses on you, unlike Dr. Strange’s movie which falls well short.

Michelle Yeoh delivers the performance of her career that has everything an actor can possibly offer on a screen. Like The Matrix, the plot is a complex combination of the chosen one who is found and must be protected in order to defeat the omnipotent villain. The similarities on the surface, though, do not follow each other to the very core where they are strikingly divergent. The Matrix was probably the first and the only movie I thought this masterpiece was comparable to, if at all. No other story came even close to matching ‘Everything’s energy and ideas.

The Matrix (1999) Movie Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Matrix (1999) Movie Cast – Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

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