The Matrix Reloaded
Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishbourne, Carrie-Ann Moss and Hugo Weaving
Directed by the Wachowski brothers
“Not everyone believes what you believe.”
“My beliefs do not require that they do”
Morpheus responding to one of the Commanders in Zion about his belief in Neo.
It’s been four years since the Matrix burst onto the scene. Back when it came out, around the turn of the last century, the hip theme of movies was “what is reality?” Along with The Matrix, other movies exploring the theme emerged in movie theaters at that time, including eXistenZ and The Thirteenth Floor. But it was The Matrix, with its Hong-Kong like action sequences as well as a dollop of philosophy which proved to be more than a cult hit (although I truthfully like its counterparts as well)
I don’t think many movie-watchers are unaware that this is the second movie in a trilogy, the third will come out in November. You may not realize that there have been animated shorts set in the milieu of The Matrix; I saw one before a movie last month.
Thus, the Wachowski brothers have been creating an entire world for their films to exist in, a world that has grown and seen changes since the last film. Time has passed, and there are references to events between the original Matrix and this film (one of those events depicted in the animatrix short I just described). Neo’s status as a messiah is much more explictily paralled to Christ in this movie.
…and the threat to the humans of Zion much more pertinent. An impending massive threat to the humans of the last city is the major impetus for the plot, the skeleton upon which this movie rests.
The Good? Interesting action sequences, and a lot more world-building. We see what Zion, only mentioned in words in the first, is really like. We also get a better idea of what the Matrix is like, what secrets it holds–and that not everyone in the Matrix is a plugged in man, or a machine. We meet new characters whom I hope we will continue to see in the third movie. It would be a disappointment if they disappear from the plot entirely.
The Bad? Gratuitious fight scenes which add little to the plot. This time around, the directors seemed enthralled with the “massively many opponents” fight scene. And while they are cinematic and spectacular…it feels somewhat hollow. There is a lot less philosophy this time around, even though we probe the secrets of what the Matrix and even Neo might really be about. Those allusions and references seen in the first movie are much less prevalent here. There is also a skin scene which probably goes on way too long, even though it is done in jump cutting to another “affirmation of life”
The Verdict? Despite the tediousness of the fight scenes, the movie experience flows quickly, and the movie ends on a cliffhanger that will frustrate you for its precipice of an ending. I would, and likely will see this movie multiple times, and will unquestionably buy the DVD.
Rating: Four and a quarter popcorn kernels out of five.