IT’S been 18 years since Wachowski siblings Lana and Lily last exposed audiences to the secrets of The Matrix.

While it would be fair to say that neither Reloaded nor Revolutions quite matched the singular power of 1999’s The Matrix, the legacy of the trilogy remains potent.

Certainly, all from Christopher Nolan’s Inception to Marvel’s Doctor Strange owe the franchise a debt.

This week, three becomes four as The Matrix returns with The Matrix Resurrections.

Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Lambert Wilson and Jada Pinkett-Smith make up a reprising cast, with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris among the newcomers.

Some two decades on from the close of the last film, Resurrections opens to find Neo (Reeves) enjoying what appears to be a perfectly ordinary life in San Francisco. Albeit, he’s living under the guise of his alias: Thomas A. Anderson.

Our first hint that all is not as it appears comes in the form of the blue pills Neo is prescribed by his therapist (Harris). As before, it is this that hides Neo from the truth about his world.

Once again, it is Morpheus (formerly Lawrence Fishbourne, now Abdul-Manteen II) that steps into play to remove the fog from his eyes.

All it takes is a switch from blue pills to red and Neo is back. Much has changed, however, inside the Matrix. No less mind-bending, this world within worlds has never been so dangerous.

The possibilities of computer generated wizardry have come a long way since 2003 and, if nothing else, Resurrections boasts a visual cornucopia of brazen effects.

It is as though the full force of Lana Wachowski’s - working without her sister this time around - imagination can finally be unleashed.

Beyond the film’s visual strengths, Resurrections is a rather frustrating affair.

Penned by Wachowski, David Mitchell and Aleksander Hemon, the film is laden with exposition and consumed by self-aware - often smug - asides. The pervading sense that nothing here truly matters, meanwhile, his hardly a hook.

An excess of flashbacks recall all that has come before, while allowing absent cast members to feature, and the door is most surely left open for more to come.

To the film’s credit, Resurrections is rather more witty than its predecessors and streets ahead of parts two and three.

It’s all a little obscure for newcomers but there’s much for original fans to chew over.