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What is Cyberpunk Fashion?

What is Cyberpunk Fashion?

A lot of things are clear in Cyberpunk: what started the genre, what the classic cyberpunk movies and books are, what makes a movie, tv show, or book more or less cyberpunk than something else. But what about Cyberpunk Fashion? As a major part of the Cyberpunk aesthetic, this is a lot harder to pinpoint. So we here at Cyberpunk Matrix humbly present to you a breakdown of classic Cyberpunk Fashion.

Cyberpunk Fashion 101:

First off, there’s no one definition to Cyberpunk Fashion. So it’s best to start off by reviewing what cyberpunk is, and how that definition will impact the subsequent fashion inspired by the genre. Cyberpunk is high tech, low life, and its characters are punks trying to survive on the streets in a high-tech dystopian future. That future looks like skyscrapers, ubiquitous advertisements displayed via holograms, projections, or screens. It’s often dark or raining, and the reflections of the neon lights can often be seen on the rainwater accumulating on the streets or off the plastic, reflective surfaces throughout the mega-city.

So a Cyberpunk living in this kind of dystopian future would want their clothes to be functional, above all. It’ll tend to be black, so a cyberpunk can stick to the shadows or possibly represent the dark future they live in, or if it does have colors they’ll tend to be dark colors like browns, oranges, yellows, or scuffed dark grey or white. These colors may have highlights of neon colors or neon lights, such as bright blue, pink, yellow, or purple. There are several different subcategories of fashion styles that can fit in the Cyberpunk fashion umbrella.

Blade Runner 2049 is a great example of Cyberpunk clothing done right. Officer K’s trademark trenchcoat, very similar and inspired by Deckard’s trenchcoat from the original blade runner, is the perfect stylish Cyberpunk clothing choice.

But what are all the different Cyberpunk styles? Let’s break them down into categories.

Cyberpunk Style Categories

  • Techwear
  • Military / tactical
  • Goth Ninja
  • Streetwear
  • Subversive/Referential
  • Cybergoth/Raver/Club wear

Cyberpunk Techwear

Techwear is probably the biggest, most relevant fashion style that Cyberpunk often falls into. According to techwear-x.com,

Techwear is a kind of Clothing with both Functionality and Technological Aesthetics, which is born in line with the development of the cyberpunk network. The perfect combination of futurism and high-tech fabrics.

Military/Tactical

This is what it sounds like, the future will require tactical enforcers so military apparel with vests and pouches is a no-brainer. Colors for these should probably be dark and muted, without much cameo color.

Goth/Ninja

A variation of techwear, with big hoods and masks

Subversive/Referential/Nerdy

This will be more for the punk types, think console cowboy or punk hackers. It’ll often have a witty reference to hacking or some other cyberpunk-related skill or theme.

Cybergoth/Raver/Clubwear

This style definitely received a bump after the Matrix trilogy, think any club wear at the Merovingian’s, or simply Trinity’s black latex  body suit. Skirts or leggings, even fishnet stockings, neon colors, braids, goggles, and high-platform boots.

3 Generations of Cyberpunk Fashion: A Natural Evolution

Neon Dystopia’s founder, Veritas, noticed a natural evolution of Cyberpunk fashion across three generations.

The first generation featured more punk and rivethead fashions, think the terminator. It was rougher, harder, and more retro.

The second generation was led by the Matrix trilogy, with trench coats, latex, and fetishwear with a subvariant using tea-shades and fractals called cyberdelic and focus on computers and altered states (think Snowcrash).

The third, and current generation, is techwear (with techninja as a subvariant). The look is more sleek and urban, with functionality and technical fabrics. They tend to be with big cuts of fabric, whether somewhat baggy pants with cargo pockets and straps, or box cut or open jackets, also often with pockets or straps, with the entirety of it being comfortable, breathable, and waterproof. Tech-ninja will also often have hoods and masks.

History of Cyberpunk Fashion

After the novels Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Neuromancer began the genre, we didn’t truly get a glimpse of what Cyberpunk fashion would look like until Blade Runner came out in 1982. The costume designer Michael Kaplan described his inspiration, explaining:

“After reading the script, we definitely felt that Blade Runner was of that film noir genre, and we looked back to the films of the 1940s for inspiration. Deckard (Harrison Ford’s character) was as much a Gumshoe as Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart). For Rachel’s character, our chief inspirations were the tailored suits that Adrian designed in the late 1930s and early 40s.”–Michael Kaplan

So Cyberpunk fashion has always respected the cyclical trends of fashion, as some fashion pieces go out of style only to become vintage or retro and come into style three cycles later. There were little changes, like Deckard’s distinct coat collar, or Zhora’s transparent rain coat. Following up on this inspiration, the Ghost in the Shell anime would further influence the Cyberpunk fashion style by bringing more tactical and military influences.

Field or bomber jackets appeared with high collars, striking colors, or a multitude of pockets to embellish the style. Kurt Swanson, the costume designer for the 2017 live-action film, had this to say:

The original informed a generation of designers. We are living in a world that reflects some of that vision of the future from 20 some years ago and the next generation of designers will continue to influence cinema and be influenced by it.

The next major fashion influence in the cyberpunk fashion style would be 1999’s The Matrix. Trench coats became trendy again, along with sunglasses and goth black. And just as fashion is cyclical, it suddenly became en vogue in 2018, with celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Lupita Nyong’o, and Lady Gaga have been seen wearing clothing that seem to have taken direct inspiration from the Matrix trilogy.

Where does Cyberpunk go from here? It’s anyone’s guess. Some might argue the future is in Techwear, whereas others might just take inspiration from films like Blade Runner and other sci-fi films.

Accessories

There are also some key accessories that are required to complete any proper Cyberpunk style. The first one being mirrorshades, or sunglasses of some kind (a classic cyberpunk anthology being called mirrorshades itself). Teashade sunglasses are another option, they were sunglasses with perfectly round lenses, much like the ones John Lennon wore, made famous in the 1960s and connected to psychedelic art. They were sometimes worn for aesthetic reasons, and other times to hide bloodshot eyes from recreational drug use.

A more recent accessory which hasn’t been quite picked up as much yet, as it’s mostly still in the athletic fitness style, is the smartwatch. Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on smartwatches as they develop in capabilities and funtionality.

Hairstyles

Further more organic Cyberpunk styles include short hair, with practical side buzz cuts for both guys and girls, and alternatively mohawks, dreadhawks, and synthdreads.

Biohacking

Probably the most Cyberpunk, but currently not very mainstream and even a little dangerous accessory, is one that you implant underneath the skin. That’s right, I’m talking about biohacking–it used to be neodymium implants (small, strong magnets) that allows users to “feel” magnetic fields. But now the fad seems to favor RFID chips that can do anything from unlocking your Tesla car, your front door, or even quickly loading your home page on a smartphone.

16 Oct 2013, Berlin, Germany — US American Tim Cannon holds a headphone magnet on his finger through magnetism in Berlin, Germany, 16 October 2013. Cannon has carried a magnet in his finger since spring 2011. People with such modifications refer to themselves as ‘cyborgs’. Photo: Ole Spata/dpa — Image by © Ole Spata/dpa/Corbis

Biohacking / Body Augmentations

To go even further, there are bionic augmentations that are making progress, but those are pretty much exclusively for those who lost limbs due to genetic defects or accidents. Tilly Lockey, for instance, is a 13 year old amputee who became an ambassador for open bionics and also received a new pair of bionic arms from director James Cameron at the premiere of Alita: Battle Angel. She’s also a great example of a true cyberpunk.

So there you have it! Now you know how to be a true cyberpunk, or at least how to dress like one. If you think I’ve left something out, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.

Further References:

The Cyberpunk Fashion Aesthetic: Shellzine.net. https://shellzine.net/cyberpunk-fashion/

Top 14 Best Cyberpunk Clothing Brands and Online Stores (thevou.com): https://thevou.com/fashion/cyberpunk-clothing/

Cyberpunk 2020 Subcultures: Fashion (cyberpunk.fandom.com): https://cyberpunk.fandom.com/wiki/Fashion

Cyberpunk fashion history, modern Sci-Fi outfits, futuristic style clothing: cyberpunkclothing.net

Cyberpunk Fashion Guide in 2022 (New): techwear-x.com. https://techwear-x.com/blogs/talk-about-techwear/cyberpunk-fashion-guide-in-2022

The Evolution of Cyberpunk Fashion: shiftlondon.org. https://www.shiftlondon.org/fashion/the-evolution-of-cyberpunk-fashion/

Cyberpunk clothing might be the future of fashion: medium.com. https://medium.com/predict/cyberpunk-clothing-might-be-the-future-of-fashion-afe768167925

Cyberpunk Fashion Guide (Sub), Neon Dystopia. https://www.neondystopia.com/cyberpunk-fashion-lifestyle/cyberpunk-fashion-guide-sub/ and https://www.neondystopia.com/cyberpunk-fashion-lifestyle/get-cyberpunk-clothing/

Cyberpunk Wiki Clothing: Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/Cyberpunk/wiki/clothing/

 

Cyberpunk Review: Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 Review

The 2017 sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic Blade Runner that helped start the entire Cyberpunk genre, Blade Runner 2049 was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Dune, Arrival) and features Ryan Gosling as the main character K, along with Harrison Ford reprising his role as Rick Deckard and also featuring Ana de Armas and Jared Leto. Let’s dive right into this Blade Runner 2049 Review.

A Compelling Tale

Blade Runner 2049 follows the tale of android “replicant” K, who works as a blade runner, a police officer who hunts down and “retires” older replicant models. After hunting down a replicant off world, he makes a discovery that leads him to investigate something that happened in the past. Solving his case could mark a monumental change in society forever. The film also acts as a sequel to the original Blade Runner, while still acting very much as a standalone film.

Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t explain much at all for the viewer other than the beginning introductory paragraph. Normally having a beginning text to get audiences up to speed is something I don’t appreciate in a film, but considering how confusing blade runner 2049 is, I understand. It helps to have watched the previous blade runner film, and to know how important the line is between replicants and humans. The original blade runner explored what happens when humans love replicants, and what it means to be human. This blade runner explores, perhaps, what it means to be a replicant, and if it isn’t possible to be both somehow.

This film also features the theme of memory a lot, with vibes that were very reminiscent to Total Recall by Philip K Dick, which I loved. This is fitting considering the original Blade Runner was also based on a PKD short story.

Breathtaking visuals and direction

Within this film, the Cyberpunk Aesthetic is front and center. It actually won two oscars for best cinematography by Roger Deakins and best visual effects, and with good reason! Very bleak colors and sweeping views of desolate lands greet the viewer in one of the first scenes. The grey colors set the tone for the beginning of the movie. We later see the classic standard set by its predecessor with city rain, at nighttime, and windows or puddles from the rain reflecting a myriad different hologram advertisements along the buildings. Rain, lights, flying cars, and reflections: this is the true original cyberpunk aesthetic. The blade runner cars are truly beautiful. Dark lighting and steam seems to be a Cyberpunk staple. Even Gosling’s gait is down perfectly as the investigator.

A lot of Japanese kanji can be found on products in the movie (like in the food court area). The movie even has a machine that provides search results in Japanese. There are a couple scenes with Hangul too, suggesting a truly translingual future.

This film, released in 2017, would also be eerily prescient to what would come to happen in 2020, when giant wildfires set the night sky ablaze in dystopian orange. Many were quick to point out the visual parallels with Blade Runner 2049. In the film, however, the air was tainted due to radiation, not fires blazing.

A Similar Soundtrack, Yet Different for the Better

The original Blade Runner became famous for its haunting soundtrack by Vangelis. This time around the composer is Hans Zimmer, and while similar to his predecessor, I actually think he improved upon it. You may have heard Hans Zimmer’s work before in films like Inception, Interstellar, or Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The music is haunting but simple. They were lucky to have him at the helm this time. He never seems to disappoint.

Excellent Dialogue

The dialogue is also something that I found exceptional in this film. Gosling, De Armas, Leto, all of them deliver their lines in a slow, precise way, just amazing delivery.

“‘Mere data makes a man. A and C and T and G. The alphabet of you, all from four symbols. I’m only two. One and Zero.’

‘Half as much, but twice as elegant, sweetheart.'”–Joi and K

“It’s better than nice. It feels authentic. And if you have authentic memories, you have real human responses.”–The memory maker

My One Complaint: A Long Film With Slow Pacing

So this might not be a negative point for many who like slower-paced films, indeed in our day and age so many of our films are so fast-paced that it’s nice to see a film that takes its time. Still, I did find myself at certain points waiting for K or whichever character was on screen to do something, or say something. This film communicates a lot with facial expressions (or lack of expressions) of its actors, who do an excellent job. But for those who are more used to a faster pacing or more excitement, they may be left feeling a little bored or restless at times, as I was. But these moments were on the whole few and far between.

In some ways Blade Runner should be considered a work of art. Something you take your time considering, appreciating. This is no high-speed thrill-ride like some of the other Cyberpunk media (total recall, the matrix, upgrade). And I dare say if you re-watch it a couple times, it’ll grow on you if it didn’t at first.

Final Verdict: 9/10

Blade Runner 2049 is a Cyberpunk Masterpiece. A deep and complex plot, breathtaking visuals, and an excellent soundtrack truly combine to create a world that lives and breathes the Cyberpunk aesthetic and story filled with mystery and suspense. The questions the movie ask are subtle, allowing the audience to go as deep as they want to, and multiple viewings are recommended. Although the pace may feel a bit slow at times, this Cyberpunk classic is one not to miss, and should really be seen on the silver screen if possible.

I can’t wait to see Ridley Scott’s take on his original classic with the new blade runner series that’s planned to come out. Although to follow on the trend of sequels, considering Cowboy Bebop and Matrix Resurrections, I’m guessing many may not like it as much as the original, especially considering the high bar he set.

I saw this film for the first time alone in the movie theater, and I’m so glad I did. Experiencing this film alone in a movie theater, felt like I was witnessing greatness without fully understanding why or how.

What did you think of this movie? Did you see it in the theater, or at home? Did you instantly like it, or did it grow on you? Let me know in the comments below.

And as always, if you liked what you read and want to help the Cyberpunk Matrix going, you can show your support over on Ko-Fi. Help contribute to the costs of website upkeep, or simply buy me a simulatte. https://ko-fi.com/cyberpunkmatrix

Top 10 Cyberpunk movies you should watch in 2022

Top 10 Cyberpunk Movies You Should Watch in 2022

Every day our world feels more Cyberpunk, with news about the Metaverse from what was previously known as Facebook, self-driving Tesla trucks, drones becoming an everyday household gadget, and Boston Dynamics robots preparing to take over the world.

It’s difficult to make sense of it all, but fortunately, with Cyberpunk media we can have a little help in that regard. You could of course go back to the classics, or watch your cyberpunk content religiously according to our recommended 3 eras of Cyberpunk in our beginner’s guide. But if you want to watch the best modern Cyberpunk movies, to help you make sense of what a metaverse would really look like (or shouldn’t look like), I’ve created a list of the Top 10 Cyberpunk Movies You Should Watch in 2022. This list goes in ascending order of importance, if you haven’t seen one of these movies yet, then maybe you should! So without further ado, let’s get right into it.

10. Elysium

Elysium is the tale of a utopian society living on a ring orbiting earth, featuring Matt Damon as a lowly assembly line worker whose life is upended when he gets exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. This sets into motion a plot to overthrow the current state of power involving gangs, body augmentations, advanced medical bays, and much more. It’s a classic Cyberpunk tale that is woefully underappreciated, without much cultural impact but an excellent movie nonetheless, and thus merits being in our modern top 10.

9. Tron: Legacy (2010)

A sequel to the original Tron which was a groundbreaking film in its time but now would seem rather dated in comparison to today’s graphics, Tron: Legacy does an excellent job upgrading the story to today’s visual effects potential, while also continuing the Tron story. While the story isn’t anything groundbreaking and isn’t your average megacorporation tale (almost the entire film is set in virtual reality), what you really should see this movie for is its breathtaking visuals and music soundtrack. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, who did the equally visually stunning Sci-Fi flick Oblivion, Tron: Legacy would inspire a visual style for years to come, with its minimalist yet modern black and whites lined with neon blues and oranges, especially with the costume design which are incredible. I mean, just take a look at these images. Each one could be a poster in its own right.

As for the soundtrack, it was composed by none other than the authentically classic cyberpunk electro-duo Daft Punk, one of their last albums before they sadly disbanded in 2021. They even have a cameo in the film as themselves DJ-ing in a club scene.

8. Total Recall (2012)

Total Recall (2012) is a modernized remake of the classic Paul Verhoeven cyberpunk film with Arnold Schwarzenegger from 1990. Based on Philip K Dick’s short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, this modernization is directed by Len Wiseman and features Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston. Although it failed to replicate the success of its predecessors and has in my opinion a bloated ending, it has beautiful visuals, a fast pace and some excellent action scenes. It also modernizes the classic story and gives us some ideas of what new tech in a modernized urban city might look like, such as hologram hand-phones and personal cars on rails.

7. Robocop (2014)

Another modernized remake of yet another classic Paul Verhoeven cyberpunk film from 1987, this version is directed by Jose Padilha with Joel Kinnaman (Altered Carbon) as the title character, with supporting actors Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, and Samuel L Jackson. Yet another remake that couldn’t replicate its original success, this film once again modernized the tale with a particular focus on the police force aspect and what future body augmentations and cyborg-ization could look like. It’s also a fun tale with great action scenes, although the plot may seem a little simple at times.

6. Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel is the live action remake of the 1993 Anime film, which was based on the manga Battle Angel Alita (Gunnm) from Yukito Kishiro. Directed by Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, From Dusk Til Dawn) it stars Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, and Rosa Salazar as Alita. While the movie may not have as much immediate significance or warning for our modern-day society, the visuals, special effects, and brilliance of this imagined world are what makes this film great. They pack so many little fascinating things in the streets of Iron City.

Almost every single person is sporting a body augmentation of some sort: metal arm, metal leg, metal eye, everything with its own uses and often looking cobbled together–which it probably was. Iron City is where the poor live, underneath a floating rich city called Zalem. But unlike many of the typical Cyberpunk world set in constant rain with neon lights, many of the scenes in Iron City feature bright, harsh light, in addition to scenes set at night. The story follows cybernetic engineer Dr. Dyson Ido who finds Alita’s head (as a disembodied cyborg with an intact human brain) in a scrap heap, and is able to put her back together again, of sorts. With no memory of who she is, she tries to learn about her past as she also discovers a love for the brutal sport of Rollerball. Alita: Battle Angel is fast-paced, touching action story that is definitely a Cyberpunk must-see.

5. Upgrade (2018)

Upgrade is in the top 5 must-see Cyberpunk films of this top-10 list because of how close the technology is to what we have in present day, how recently it was done, how incredibly Cyberpunk it was and how fun and cool it was. It’s also probably flown under the radar for most, I mean it wasn’t a culture-shifting megahit, it was just a great sci-fi film. Directed by Leigh Whannell and starring Logan Marshall-Green (who looks like Tom Hardy but isn’t), Logan stars as Grey Trace, a technophobic auto mechanic who has a horrible accident which leaves him paralyzed. Set in a distant but not too distant future where society has self-driving cars (like Teslas, only cooler) and drones (again, like what we have, only cooler), the film does a good job showing what a future society might be like with technophobic people resisting the tech industry’s endless product delivery system.

It also has some casual super-cyberpunk scenes, like this one where people are lost in a VR world, disconnected from the real world, except they’re just there in the background and not at all important to the main story (Metaverse, Ready Player One anyone?). The other reason why I love this film so much is because the viewers can really relate to the main character. Logan Marshall-Green gives an amazing performance, especially when the chip he’s implanted with to help him regain mobility starts taking control of his body to give him action moves he wouldn’t normally otherwise have. The director then combines this insane situation with camera-twisting scenes and you have beautiful, incredibly novel action sequences that would give even the original Matrix a run for its money in terms of originality. Don’t believe me? Just watch the trailer.

Oh and keep an eye out for the henchman with a handgun. No, not that handgun. An actual gun. In his hand. If that’s not cyberpunk, nothing is.

4. Ghost in the Shell (2017)

No top 5 cyberpunk list would be complete without a Ghost in the Shell film, and if you’re talking modern films, then you have to include this 2017 live action adaptation of the classic. Starring Scarlett Johannsen of all people to play the role of the Major (her casting was somewhat controversial) as the cyborg investigative super soldier who investigates her past while trying to find the line between human and android. This film was directed by Rupert Sanders and mostly follows what happens in the original anime film, with some small differences. It has a great visual style and cinematography, and some great action scenes and special effects, but drew some criticism for not having a deeper story or character development. If you think of Cyberpunk, however, chances are the first thing that’ll come to mind is Ghost in the Shell or Blade Runner. Speaking of which…

3. Blade Runner 2049

Most people who know anything about Cyberpunk would say the genre all started from the combination of one book and one movie. That book was William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the movie was Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. So it should come as no surprise that Blade Runner 2049 came in at the top 5, with spot #3. This movie has some of the most iconic, breathtaking visuals directed this time around by Denis Villeneuve (Dune, Arrival). Harrison Ford came back to reprise his iconic role of Rick Deckard, but the main character for this sequel is K, a replicant Blade Runner played by Ryan Gosling who has to uncover a mysterious secret that may threaten all civilization. This movie, along with most of Villeneuve’s films, is really one to see in the theaters. One of my favorite Cyberpunk visuals of all time is also in this film, where K is talking to a hologram AI companion, Joi (played by Ana de Armas). The pacing is a slow burn and the movie is a little long, but for those who liked the original Blade Runner and loves a good sci-fi mystery thriller, this is definitely a cyberpunk film you should watch for 2022.

2. Ready Player One

Some might be surprised that Ready Player One merited second place in this top 10 list of Cyberpunk films you should watch in 2022. Indeed, it might have been relegated to spot 5 or 6, if it weren’t for what happened on October 28th, 2021. Because on that day, Mark Zuckerberg announced his plans for the Metaverse (which was originally coined as a virtual reality world by Neal Stephenson in his Cyberpunk novel Snowcrash) and for Facebook to be rebranded as Meta.

What this meant was that Facebook then started firing and changing job descriptions, as thousands of their employees had to adapt to the change to start working towards Zuckerberg’s fantasy to become a reality. It wasn’t long before other businesses started to follow suit, wanting to be the early movers in investing in this new technology and the VR real estate that would exist in the metaverse. Governments around the world will have to decide how to regulate this new Metaverse, which (hopefully) means that they need to understand it. So how can they, and the general public, make sense of this VR world? Well, Ready Player One paints a pretty darn realistic picture of what it might look like, which is why it’s so high up on this list.

Remember, when you were in VR during the COVID lockdowns, Wade Watts did it first.

Ready Player One is the live action adaptation of the novel of the same name by Ernest Cline. While both the movie and the book are definitely Cyberpunk, it’s more a fan love letter to video games and pop culture from the 1970s and 1980s. Directed by Steven Spielberg, if you can believe it, the story follows Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) who lives in a stack of motor homes in Ohio in a world where the majority of the population live their lives in a virtual reality called the Oasis.

The Oasis (Ready Player One)

Not only do people play games and socialize here, but they also go to school and shop here as well. When the creator of the Oasis dies, he begins a massive easter egg hunt in the Oasis with his will, declaring that whomever finds this hidden easter egg will gain the majority of shares and a huge amount of money. It’s a race against time as Wade teams up with four others against an evil corporation who wants the Oasis for themselves.

1. The Matrix Resurrections (and the Matrix Trilogy)

The Matrix trilogy was, in my opinion, some of the best cyberpunk content ever made. So it should be no surprise that the fourth installment made first place in this modern Cyberpunk list. While Matrix Resurrections is admittedly less of a “stereotypical cyberpunk” like total recall or blade runner, it brought modern issues and ideas, while also providing us with relevant questions for our modern day society. It also was incredibly controversial and divisive, with some people loving it, some people hating it, and very few in between.

Despite the fact that it’s objectively not perfect, everyone started talking about the return of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss to the franchise, and therefore it’s a must-see for any modern cyberpunk list. Having come out in December 2021, it’s also quite literally the latest Cyberpunk film to come out in theaters around the world.

Matrix Resurrections is the tale of Neo, AKA Thomas Anderson, who finds himself somehow alive but without memories of his previous life. Meanwhile, a team of humans in the real world discover Neo in the matrix after decades of fruitless searching, and attempt once again to bring him out of the matrix into the real world again. This leads to a perilous journey between neo, the humans, and the machines as a mysterious evil entity in the matrix tries to stop him from finding Trinity, and from leaving altogether.

Matrix Resurrections is also an incredibly meta movie, which is constantly referencing things that happened in the previous trilogy, as well as the trilogy itself (which in Matrix Resurrections is known as just a video game). As a result we can see scenes, toys, and even busts of characters from the previous trilogy in the movie itself. It results in a very funny, yet trippy, experience.

Top 10 Cyberpunk Movies You Should Watch in 2022:

  1.  The Matrix Resurrections
  2. Ready Player One
  3. Blade Runner 2049
  4. Ghost in the Shell (2017)
  5. Upgrade
  6. Alita: Battle Angel
  7. Robocop
  8. Total Recall
  9. Tron: Legacy
  10. Elysium

So that’s our top 10 list! What do you think of the list, and do you think there should be any movies included that we didn’t include, or any movies we included that shouldn’t have made the cut? Let us know in the comments below.

And as always, if you liked what you read and want to help the Cyberpunk Matrix going, you can show your support over on Ko-Fi. Help contribute to the costs of website upkeep, or simply buy me a simulatte. https://ko-fi.com/cyberpunkmatrix

The Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast | Ep 6: Reviewing Matrix Resurrections

Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast Ep 6: Matrix Resurrections Review

Welcome to the Cyberpunk Matrix podcast with your host and operator, Alex. Today on the show we have a complete newcomer to the Cyberpunk genre, Helena Woods, who also happens to be my wife. She is currently living abroad with me in France, where she is creating videos on YouTube about presence, joy, and culture. In addition to being a top-notch videographer, she is also a writer, photographer, artist, consultant, and content creator. For more from Helena Woods and all that she does, you can check out her website at www.helenawoods.com. You can also find her main YouTube channel here and her secondary channel here, as well as her Instagram @mshelenawoods.

Join us as we give a spoiler-filled in-depth review of The Matrix Resurrections

We discuss:

-themes in the Matrix, and Matrix Resurrections

-our favorite and less favorite actors from the movie

-acting, dialogue, and performances

-action sequences

-understanding the plot

-general newbie questions about the matrix

-musical scoring of the film

-social commentary the film makes on our society

-and much more.

The podcast is available below on YouTube, or you can listen to it on Anchor and Spotify.

And as always, if you liked what you read and want to help the Cyberpunk Matrix going, you can show your support over on Ko-Fi. Help contribute to the costs of website upkeep, or simply buy me a simulatte. https://ko-fi.com/cyberpunkmatrix

The State of Cyberpunk in 2022: Is Cyberpunk Dead?

The State of Cyberpunk in 2022: Is Cyberpunk Dead?

I covered a lot of this content in the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast that came out on January 29th, 2022, but I thought for those of you who prefer reading and seeing content to listening to it, I’d create the blog post for you here too. I also made a video about all this, which you can check out over on the YT channel.

I’m not gonna sugarcoat it for you folks, the state of Cyberpunk leading into 2022 looks grim media-wise. There isn’t much to look forward to after the live action Cowboy Bebop and Matrix Resurrections finally came out. But I thought today I’d go over the few things to look forward to, how the cyberpunk media we have gotten recently is doing, and the overall state of things in the Cyberpunk media landscape. So let’s dive right in.

The bad news: A lot of recent Cyberpunk media has not been doing so well.

The Cyberpunk juggernaut that was Matrix Resurrections, unfortunately, critically underperformed at the box office. Perhaps part of this is due to its simultaneous release on HBO Max in the US, but lukewarm reviews and an average rating of 62% from Rotten Tomatoes surely didn’t help–this film was very polarizing. But how much did it really underperform? Here are the figures:

What does Matrix Resurrections’ lack of success at the box office mean?

Matrix Resurrections released on December 22nd, 2021, alongside Sing 2 and The King’s Man. It also released a week after what would become a box-office blockbuster, Spider-Man: No Way Home. With projected gross of $40 million over its 5-day release, it only grossed $22.5 million, a little more than half what it was anticipated to make. With its weekend gross of $10.75 million, it was worse than Wonder Woman 1984 a year prior. As of January 25th, Matrix Resurrections has made a total worldwide gross of $148.6 million, which, compared to its total budget of $190 million, seems like it may lose WB money, unless if it is able to make it up in the long term with merchandising and DVD/digital copies. The one silver lining is that it may have contributed to more HBO Max subscriptions, which was why it was added to HBO Max release in the first place.

What does Cowboy Bebop’s Season 2 cancellation mean?

Cowboy Bebop fared even worse than Matrix Resurrections. With a 47% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, many reviewers felt it didn’t live up to the original anime. Less than three weeks after the show’s debut on Netflix, its second season was already cancelled.

Does this mean Cyberpunk is dead?

This isn’t to say that Cyberpunk content can’t be successful. It’s worth noting that Battle Angel Alita, which released in February 2019, made $405 million at the box office compared to its budget of $200 million, and Ready Player One made $582 million from its budget of $175 million. Of course, both of these titles came out pre-pandemic, so it could be that people’s habits of going to the movies, mixed with streaming online like on HBO Max, make comparing titles difficult. So, no, Cyberpunk isn’t dead. Yet.

Is Cyberpunk dying?

Nonetheless, as of it stands now with the pandemic as a reality, Netflix and other production companies may think twice before investing in Cyberpunk sci-fi titles with a big budget. The industry is probably also further threatened by Disney (which acquired 20th century fox, the producers of Battle Angel Alita), with its Marvel titles dominating the box office and now big-budget Sci-Fi series such as The Mandalorian now also dominating the market on the streaming platform. Despite having decidedly Cyberpunk moments, the Star Wars franchise still remains in the Space Opera or Space Cowboy realm, and not really in the Cyberpunk genre, although it’s close and probably debatable to some whether it’s Cyberpunk or not.

The Good news: a couple Cyberpunk titles we can look forward to

The one definitely Cyberpunk media we can look forward to is actually Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the newest Cyberpunk-inspired edition to come to the trading card game Magic The Gathering. I covered some of this back in my 2021 year in review post.

Another to look forward to is the Netflix series Edgerunners, an anime series set to arrive on Netflix sometime this year, but the release date hasn’t been announced yet and it’s anyone’s guess if it will stick to its 2022 timeline.

We also have the recent news that season 2 of Upload is coming to Amazon Prime in March, so at least there’s that. If you haven’t already, it’s a great funny series to check out, you can read my review of it here.

The OK News: The Cyberpunk community, especially indie Cyberpunk authors, is still kicking.

Cyberpunk novels are still being written. Matthew Goodwin, Elias Hurst, Andrew Dobell, Anna Mocikat, S.C. Jensen, and many more are all Cyberpunk authors in the Cyberpunk community who are supporting each other, have written a lot, and are still churning out great content. Many are also participating in Cyberpunk Day, an event which started a couple years ago and helps fans of the genre discover cyberpunk content creators.

A Final Note: Cyberpunk is Now

Despite the apparent lack of Cyberpunk content, there’s still a whole year in front of us, and we can always be pleasantly surprised. Netflix has a habit of dropping content without warning, and the same could happen for Amazon Prime or other streaming platforms. But regardless of whether we see a lot more cyberpunk media this year, Cyberpunk is still very much in everyone’s minds nowadays, because of how Cyberpunk the news is becoming.

A medical staff member sprays disinfectant at a residential area in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on March 11, 2020. –  (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Already the COVID-19 pandemic brought dystopian scenes to view with empty streets and warning signs in usually bustling metropolitan areas, which led many artists to discover and add to the Cyberpunk aesthetic. We also had Fake News and people questioning reality during the US elections, which bled into other governments in other countries doing the same, as well as street riots including the January 6 Capitol Riot shocking the world.

News Headlines Becoming Cyberpunk

As of writing this, Russia has amassed troops at the border of Ukraine, and as the world waits with bated breath to see how the standoff resolves itself there are reports that Cyberhackers are sending fake bomb threats to Ukraine schools and companies to pre-emptively sow terror before whatever happens.

“Why are you doing this?” Mr. Zelensky said at a news conference in comments directed at Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, in which he mentioned both the military buildup at the border and the flurry of bomb threats. “To threaten us? What is this sadomasochism? What is the pleasure of this? Of someone being afraid?”–President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, in what could have been a quote straight from a Cyberpunk thriller film.

Mark Zuckerberg showcasing a virtual horror, and I’m not talking about the skeleton onesie.

Finally, and most importantly, when Mark Zuckerberg announced he was rebranding Facebook as Meta and planned to shift the company to Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality with a new “Metaverse”, Cyberpunk became suddenly very real indeed.

“Once upon a time, a very long time ago – until Thursday 28 October 2021, to be precise – the term “metaverse” was known only to lexicographers and science fiction enthusiasts. And then, suddenly, it was everywhere” notes John Naughton from The Guardian.

The metaverse is dystopian – but to big tech it’s a business opportunity reads Naughton’s headline, dated January 29th, 2022. With Facebook’s morph into Meta, the New York Times also reported how “Shifting a 68,000-person social networking company toward the theoretical metaverse has caused internal disruption and uncertainty.” (January 31st, 2022) Thousands of Facebook employees now have the choice to adapt and change to become VR and Metaverse engineers, or find themselves new jobs. This sounds like it was taken out of Ready Player One’s OASIS creation backstory, and yet it’s not–it’s real life.

So with the news having what amounts to Cyberpunk headlines every day, I think it’s only a matter of time before Hollywood and the media start creating more Cyberpunk content to mirror the Cyberpunk times we’re living in. How do we deal with social restrictions born from pandemic and sanitary concerns? How will the Metaverse and Virtual Reality upend the current online marketplace? No one can tell, but we need Cyberpunk more than ever to both warn us and show us what we should want that to be.