Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Heavy-handed, air-headed, effect-overkill sequel.
I tried to remove anything that might be considered a spoiler. I also assume that you've seen the first movie or at least know the general gist, so if you haven't some of this might not make sense.
Plot: This movie beats the audience over the head with tired philosophical ramblings again and again in an attempt to get the theme across. We are bombarded again and again by questions of purpose, and destiny, and choice, and forced to endure the long, torturous platitude sessions that contain them.
Neo, awakened from a dream in the last movie, now begins a period of realization about his own existence. There are a lot of revelations in this movie, which I'll be vague about so they won't seem like spoilers.
*If you're still worried vague references will spoil the movie, don't read the paragraph below.*
The strength and weakness of faith is revealed. The strengths and weaknesses of love, and its temporary nature, are also revealed. The interdependence of humans and technology, and our faith in technology, are also revealed. The importance of choice and experience is revealed. Explaining further things that are revealed would go into too much detail, so I will refrain (as the guidelines for writing a commentary asks). Btw, by "revealed" I mean pounded through our ears and eyes like nails.
Storyline: So how does Neo and the gang get from the end of the last movie to the beginning of the next one? In short, they keep the faith, and use and abuse overly-stylized action and bullet-time like it's going out of style (and after this display, I'm hoping movie-goers and makers alike learn to appreciate subtlety and originality a bit more). More on that later. To not spoil anything, I will say no more than the promo material already did: Neo is still trying to figure out the Matrix, and he is looking for answers while trying to save the humans, and Zion, all while baddies are going after him and his cohorts. The movie pretty much picks up where the last one left off.
Action: While martial arts action and gunplay peppered its predecessor in somewhat equal parts, this movie focuses much more on martial arts than gunplay, adding swords, sais, etc. to the mix. Special effects are so often used and waved in the audience's face that it becomes really tiresome. I've discussed this movie with friends and coworkers alike, and nearly all of them found some of the action sequences--especially the "Smith fight" we all heard would be in the movie--to be too long and tedious. This is a huge red flag for action fans, because the end of an action sequence should either leave you wanting a slight bit more, or completely content with the awesomeness that just occured.
These fights scenes do neither. They are over-stylized, over-the-top sequences that are wooden and uninspired. In the first movie, there was a real sense of desperation to some of the action, a sense that fighting was for survival, not just looking good (which I honestly don't think they manage in Reloaded anyway) in black and leather. Go watch Drunken Master or Iron Monkey after this movie to remind yourself of what good fighting sequences are--you won't regret it. In addition, the "Matrix abilities" people have in Reloaded is not consistent, and what they actually do is not consistent. The first movie had its inconsistencies here, but they weren't too glaring--unlike Reloaded.
Special effects are poured on and on and on. Every little thing someone does, be it just jump, somersault, spin, and in many cases just pose, are
slow-moed, bullet-timed, or over-accentuated by some sort of destruction. It's evident the W Bros had a ton of money to throw at this movie, and boy did they throw it, with no real restraint. Sharp editors could have really helped this, but the first movie was such a hit that free reign was obviously given, which brings us to. . .
Character and dialogue: I have already more or less said the dialogue was tired and full of philosophical platitudes. Actors can't really bring a lot of depth to their character when the script and direction is shoving character progression audience's face, or neglecting it altogether. The audience is at no time given nuance and substance so they can contemplate the character on their own.
Keanu's acting performance is stiff at best. Keanu is good at acting confused, and that's about all he does in this film. He makes a decent attempt to show passion between Neo and Trinity, but it falls flat.
Lawrence tries to make Morpheus everything from Moses to Henry V, and be as cool as a cat throughout. With the script he is provided, he makes a noble attempt, but it also falls flat.
Moss isn't very believable either. Her look of concern is always the same, much like Keanu's, and the chemistry isn't there, although in their very physical scenes they fake it well enough.
Hugo once again brought his weird sense of being an Agent program, but he too suffered from the script's hand. I actually find him to be the most interesting character of the bunch, but instead of development they just make him an excuse for a huge, drawn out fight scene.
All in all, this movie is beyond disappointing if you had good expectations, and on its own, as a stand-alone movie (which is not how it's supposed to be taken), it's still horrible. I don't see The Matrix as deep, but I at least see it as an enjoyable scifi romp that has some interesting ideas, good action, a few funny lines, and enough restrained symbolism and elusions to amuse the attentive. Reloaded fails on all these counts, and I really hope the W Bros will give us a better experience in the 3rd installment. Granted, I don't have a lot of hope left for that after this film.