I'm writing to declare a moratorium on scholarly books and essays on The Matrix.
Why? First, it seems as if every other journal and book catalog I receive these days contains some new screed on one or more installments of the film trilogy. After I pointed out this phenomenon, a friend of mine in rhetoric aptly commented, "It's as if The Matrix were becoming to the humanities what Abraham Lincoln's 'Gettysburg Address' has long been to studies of public address in the United States"--which is to say, groundbreaking at one time, but at this point, overdone. Indeed, the shear volume of Matrix scholarship seems to be transforming the film into something of a trite object, so much so that the phrase, "the Matrix has you," is becoming our scholarly reality.
Beyond that, though, a good deal--though certainly not all--of this scholarship tends to be rather boring anyway. Part of this has to do with the fact that The Matrix wears much of its potential scholarly insight on its sleeve. "Oh my! Is that Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulations? The film must be saying something about postmodernism!" "Is that Cornel West I see? There must be something philosophical going on here!" "Hmmm....how real is our so-called waking life? Maybe the films are about epistemology!" "Cause and effect, is it? Aha! Etiology at work!" "So I've already made all my choices in life, and now all that's left to do is to find their meaning. Perhaps the films are about ontology after all!" And so on. This isn't to say The Matrix trilogy isn't valuable for, say, teaching purposes, and this isn't to say that there aren't good questions to be asked of and through the films even today. But at this point, scholars interested in writing still another book, essay, or what have you on The Matrix would do well to proceed cautiously...very cautiously.
Lest you think I'm just a tired old crank, I will say that my favorite piece on The Matrix is Jennifer Daryl Slack's "Everyday Matrix," which is included in her edited collection, Animations [of Deleuze and Guattari]. It's a wonderful look at the mobilization of affect in, through, and beyond the first film, and in this respect it differs from many of the more textual "readings" or straightforward "philosophical" ruminations that tend to dominate the burgeoning field of Matrix scholarship.
And yes, indeed, it's fast becoming a field--or maybe even an industry. Heck--if you need a quick publication, something on The Matrix would be a safe bet.