The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

reviewed by
Homer Yen


"Matrix - Revolutions" - A Losing Battle
by Homer Yen
(c) 2003

Before watching the third and final installment of the "The Matrix" trilogy, I had some pre-conceived reservations about whether this film would be as bodacious as the first two. Also, since "Revolutions" is sort of a conclusion to this summer's "Reloaded" cliffhanger, I also wondered if this would be significantly better or different. Or would it be more of the same? I have this same question as I eagerly await the conclusion of the masterfully presented "Kill Bill."

After immensely enjoying the first two installments, I wished that I could say that "Revolutions" was a worthy conclusion. But I can't. It's an ambitious film, alright. However, it abandons the original spirit that underlined its enigmatic appeal. It is bereft of the razzle-dazle, gravity-defying, slow-mo effects that deliriously punctuated action sequences in the first two films. And this film is just too darn busy. I am reminded of my thoughts on the Middle Earth saga, "Lord of the Rings". The first film, "The Fellowship of the Rings," was beautifully crafted and well told. But the second film, "The Two Towers," was just an overblown action film. And so it is with "Revolutions".

In this final installment, the last bastion of human civilization known as Zion, is facing annihilation as the war between humanity and the machines of the Matrix world barrels to a conclusion. Neo (Keanu Reeves), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), and Trinity (Carrie Anne-Moss) work together in a desperate attempt to save themselves from extinction. Neo, our unlikely messiah, continues his journey to the machine world where he hopes to stop the war at the source. Along the way, he becomes locked in an epic struggle with the resurgent Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) who continues to multiply in power, number, and ambition. Meanwhile, everyone else is fortifying their defenses in anticipation of their apocalyptic battle.

Ultimately, the film lacks a certain amount of continuity and conviction. Never mind the fact that if you haven't seen the first two films that this will leave you scratching your head. But, the storyline seems to take a lot of liberties that we can not fully follow. What is Agent Smith's true agenda? How does Neo 'see' the things that he does? Why do the constructs of the real world somehow blur into the virtual, alternate world of the Matrix? Perhaps I'll find my answers on one those chat groups that ponder these issues. Finally, the plot is minimal. But the film seems so long that you come away feeling tired rather than invigorated, as I did in the first two films. Also, I was also unhappy at how they slowly softened Trinity's character, depriving her of her feistiness.

You can steadily discern my growing level of disappointment. But, there are certainly items to enjoy. The first scene is a whiz-bang reminder of why "The Matrix" redefined action films. And several minor characters from "Reloaded" enjoy expanded roles. Meanwhile, the film is technically brilliant, seamlessly marrying live action with special effects. But having said that, all this will do is to keep you interested but not engaged.

Reflecting upon the trilogy, the original was by far the best. It toyed with our perceptions of reality and illusion. It provided an underlying philosophy that has diminished over the final two films. Our sense of wonder has lessened. And, what the Matrix has done is devolve from the thought-provoking brilliant to just the technically brilliant.

Grade:        B-
S:        1 out of 3
L:        1 out of 3
V:        2 out of 3
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X-RT-RatingText: B-

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