Too often in the movie industry, sequels are made when they should not have been. No matter what the Wachowski brothers may have said, I don’t think they had this story in mind when writing the first “Matrix” film, because it comes in so far below it. But, damn, does it have some great effects — I wish that were good enough.
And so the story ends with “The Matrix: Revolutions,” picking up right where “Reloaded” left off with Neo (Keanu Reeves, “Speed”) in a coma. We learn quickly that he’s trapped in a world between The Matrix and the real world. Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne, “What’s Love Got to Do With It”) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss, “Memento”) go to see the Merovingian to secure his release.
Meanwhile, it turns out the Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving, “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”) is slowing taking over the Matrix and that the army of machines is 12 hours away from Zion. That’s the basic setup for what is to happen in this movie. Most of it is dependent on events in “Reloaded.” So, unless you want to torture yourself, do not see this without seeing the previous two movies.
I’m just going to say right way that this is a better film than “Reloaded.” While it still has its moments of boring philosophical conversation, or lessons as it were, they are few and only in the beginning of the film. Usually they are also followed by a nice one-liner to clear the air.
The Merovingian supplies us with one such speech to which Trinity replies, “I don’t have time for this shit.” Why couldn’t she have said that in “Reloaded” and spared us?
The battle for Zion, much to my surprise, is rather good. Unlike the cold atmosphere of “Reloaded,” there is some actual humanity present in this fight. I was disappointed with the cut down on Hong Kong-style fighting, though the final fight between Neo and Agent Smith has a good bit. It’s actually shot at a good distance this time, and we can actually tell what going on.
So, overall, I found this much more enjoyable than “Reloaded.” However, in not repeating its faults, some new ones have crept up. At the top of the list is dialogue. Not that “The Matrix” ever had great dialogue, but at least it was filled in with some purpose, even if it was to teach the audience philosophy.
Here, it often has no purpose. Half of the dialogue consists of questions. These questions are followed by either vague answers or more questions. If it’s not questions, it’s bad love dialogue between Neo and Trinity. Cheesy dialogue isn’t bad in and of itself, but the characters need to know it’s cheesy. I don’t think the characters in “The Matrix” know that.
But, dialogue is a small problem compared to “Revolutions” biggest curse — way too many characters. Too much screen time is given to characters we were briefly introduced to in “Reloaded” and too little to the main three of the original film.
Morpheus is the most wasted of them. He has as much screen time and even less dialogue than most of the Zion characters. Between this and “Reloaded,” it would have been more dignifying to the character to have killed him in the first film and not made him so useless.
Another problem is the lack of inter-cutting of character actions. Once the battle for Zion starts, it’s about 35 minutes before we return to Neo and Trinity. There was a great chance to have parallel stories going on here that would have related well to each other.
The end is kind of a let down. Not to ruin what happens, but a lot of questions that were raised in the previous film are never answered. We never find out who or what Neo is, or if there were really five other Matrixes before. In other words, don’t expect answers to what you want. There are none to be found here.
I haven’t decided if it would be worth it to buy these two films on DVD. “Revolutions” was better, but it may not be good enough to make viewers want to watch “Reloaded” again. “The Matrix” may have been good, but it is only a mediocre trilogy.