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The Matrix Revolutions

The Matrix Revolutions

What He said:

He

So, here it is folks. This is the final chapter to the series that, for at least part of the late 90s and early 00s, took over the world.

I mentioned in my review of The Matrix Reloaded how disappointed I was the first time I saw it. Despite that, I was really eager to see Revolutions. I didn’t want to be disappointed in Reloaded, so I was hoping Revolutions would renew my interest in the series.

The last we saw Neo (Keanu Reeves) and company, they just had their world shattered. Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity think they are about to end the war with the machines by following the Oracle’s orders and taking a guy named the Keymaker (Randall Duk Kim) to a location called “the Source”.  As the chosen one, Neo is supposed to be able to use his power at the Source to free the rest of humanity, who is still trapped in the Matrix. Well, things don’t go exactly as planned and he runs into the Architect (Helmut Bakatis), who drops a bomb on him. The Architect is one of a couple of programs who helped create and maintain order in the Matrix.

Back in the real world, the human resistance has been almost completely wiped out by the machines.  Very few of them remain. Apparently one of them – a guy named Bane – accidentally (supposedly) set off one of their weapons, which crippled their ships; making them easy pickings for the machines. If you remember from the previous movie though, Bane (Ian Bliss) isn’t actually himself anymore, he’s Neo’s archenemy Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). He has found a way of escaping the Matrix and inhabiting Bane’s body in the real world. The humans haven’t figured this out yet and are very eager to speak with him about his actions. They will have to wait because he’s unconscious.

He’s not the only one. After an encounter with some sentinels at the end of the previous chapter, Neo’s mind and body appear to have been separated. He is not plugged into the Matrix – like they normally are when they enter it – but he appears to be somewhere in there anyway. He is caught in some place called Mobil Ave. It appears to be some kind of limbo or underworld. It’s a place that exists between Matrix and the machines home world. A guy named the Trainman (Bruce Spence) is in charge of the place. He works for the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson).

The Matrix Revolutions

Speaking of the Merovingian, this guy just cracks me up. I love this guy. He’s such a jackass, which makes for a great villain. The only thing that bums me out about him is that he isn’t in the series more. I love that he’s kind of this third party villain too. He’s one of the machines, but not on their side. He’s on his own side and something of a hero to other rogue programs who no longer wish to be a part of the system. He plays the role perfectly. I would have really enjoyed seeing the character explored more. Even to this day, I wouldn’t mind seeing some kind of animated movie, comic book, or other medium that explored this character more.

Morpheus (Laurence Fisburne) and Trinity (Carrie Ann Moss) – with the help of a program named Seraph – break into the Merovingian’s hideout to find out what he knows about Neo’s whereabouts. Seraph (Colin Chou ) is one of the software programs who lives in the Matrix, but one of the good guys. He works for the Oracle (Mary Alice this time around) and wants to help the humans end the war.

They are able to free Neo, but the war is far from over. If you remember from the last movie Agent Smith has found a way to replicate himself. Think of him as a virus if that helps. He spreads throughout the Matrix, obsessed with taking control of and destroying it. As the Oracle informs Neo, he won’t stop with the Matrix. He is obsessed with destroying both the Matrix and the real world; which is why he started to spread outside the Matrix by “infecting” Bane.

The survivors of the attack decide to split up. Neo and Trinity decided to head to the machine city. The Matrix is a virtual reality environment where the machines keep humanity enslaved, but the machine city is an actual physical place that exists in the real world. The Oracle told Neo that the only way to stop Smith is to go to Source and use his power as the One to destroy Smith, bring about peace between man and machine, and end the war. If this sounds familiar, it’s because she told him to do this in the last movie – and it didn’t exactly pan out – but things are a little different this time around. Morpheus, Niobe (Jade Pinkett- Smith), and the rest of the survivors head back to help Zion. They’re the only ship, but they figure they can do more good defending the city than going with Neo and Trinity, which almost everyone agrees is a suicide mission.

The Matrix Revolutions

As I mentioned earlier, the first time I saw this, I was very excited to see it. I was pretty disappointed in Reloaded and was really eager to simply like The Matrix again. I liked it then and I still like it now. I think it’s the second best of the trilogy. I actually like the trilogy as a whole now too. It feels like a series now to me. There are still things I don’t like about Reloaded, but more that I do like about it. My issues with it boil down to just a few things (review here).

First thing I wanted to touch on was the replacement of Gloria Foster with Mary Alice. Sadly, Ms. Foster passed away before trilogy ended. I am not going to sit here and pretend I heard of her prior to seeing The Matrix (review here), but once I was exposed to her, I really enjoyed watching her. She totally nailed the wise, old, and mysterious type, but also gave it a little bit of the kind elderly neighbor or grandparent vibe. I really enjoyed her as the Oracle. That being said, I thought Mary Alice did a really good job of mimicking Foster’s performance. Replacing an actor that is established in a series can be a tough task, but she did great.

I also really enjoyed Hugo Weaving’s performance throughout the entire series. Smith starts out as an agent of the system. He “works for” the Matrix, making sure the humans are kept in check. When Neo defeats him at the end of the first movie, he becomes detached from the system. He’s still in the Matrix, but no longer an agent. He has no purpose anymore. He’s still compelled to seek out and destroy Neo, but doesn’t really know why. He keeps doing his job, but doesn’t really know why he feels like he has to. It’s interesting to watch his struggles. It really makes sense if you think about it. He’s a software program tasked with a specific job and when he no longer is required to do that job, he doesn’t know how to react, and goes insane in the process. He doesn’t know how to function without purpose. The concept of choice is lost on him. The Wachowski’s and Weaving did a great job with the character. He’s the most interesting character in the series.

Neo actually got less interesting as the series went on. Keanu Reeves can be pretty wooden at times and he was in the original, but it made sense to me at that point. First, he was supposed to be like the “average Joe” who was bored by his mundane life. Additionally, when he finds out the real world isn’t real, I always got the vibe he was in shock.  He is supposed to be numb as far as I am concerned. Plus, I felt he actually showed more range in the first movie than he did in either sequel. Now if Neo is still supposed to be numb in the sequels that is fine, but Reeves performance could have better. The character seemed bored or even disinterested at times. It didn’t ruin the movie for me or anything, he just wasn’t the most interesting character in the world.

I like Carrie Ann Moss as Trinity. She’s a ballsy gal who is willing to die for the cause. However, as the series went on, her chemistry with Reeves was kind of awkward at times. They were fine in the first movie, but the sequels, everything just seemed so forced. I think they just had trouble recapturing what seemed a little more natural in the original movie.

The Matrix Revolutions

Something that I felt really worked in this movie was the action scenes. There was some in Reloaded that were simply boring. Not all of them, but a few of them were definitely anticlimactic. I enjoyed all of the big action scenes in this movie. I thought Neo and Smith’s final showdown was a lot of fun. It was like watching two Greek Gods go at it. It was Zeus vs. Hades, Superman vs. the Hulk, Hercules vs. Thor, or whoever your favorite mythological characters are duking it out for all the marbles. The battle at Zion was also fun. It was fun seeing some fights that took place outside the Matrix. The giant mech suits were fun to watch. It was something different from the previous movies.

The Matrix sequels were not as well-received as the original. That’s probably because the whole idea of the original was so new to most audiences. But what it lacked in that it made up for in philosophical and religious stuff. I like those kinds of themes, so the more the series expanded on that, the more opportunities for discussion it created. The action got a little too big at times, but overall it was fun.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on June 12, 2013.

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