In 1999, The Matrix proved to be one of the most influential films of its age. It is perhaps no surprise that a sequel was immediately set into motion but it would not be like most sequels.The Matrix Reloaded and its follow up The Matrix Revolutions were filmed back to back which is a practice that was rarely used at the time and has barely been used ever since. At the time the only examples were Back to the Future Parts 2 and 3, Superman 1 and 2 and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, all of which are wonderful films. I’ve heard it said that the only good Matrix film is the original but I’ve never believed that. The Matrix Reloaded may not be as good as The Matrix but I still think it’s a good film.
The plot picks up shortly after after the events of the first film as our team returns to the underground city of Zion. The city is preparing for an attack but our heroes must leave and re-enter The Matrix to find The Keymaster. The film flips between our heroes and Zion but continues to focus primarily on Neo. He’s anxious because he had a vision of Trinity dying and Agent Smith is back, though he is no longer an agent of the system and has gone rogue. By the end of Reloaded, Smith has entered the real world as has Neos Matrix abilities.
The main complaint seems to be that there isn’t a huge amount of plot which leads to a film comprised of action scenes which become repetitive. I can see where this comes from as the plot is definately lacking although I would’t call the action pieces repetitive. Originally, Neo was unable to keep up with the agents he was fighting but now they are perfectly matched which means the fights aren’t as exciting. Where once there was fear of injury there now is not. However the fight sequences are beautifully choreographed and it’s almost like watching a ballet, which isn’t something one expects from sci-fi but I’m okay with it. Special mentions go to the fight on the freeway and the so-called Burly Brawl, which are both fantastic examples of the choreography and the CGI. While the CGI isn’t flawless and can seem a bit bendy at times, it is still very impressive for a film that’s nearly 2 decades old.
Audiences also seem to take issue with The Architect, who designed The Matrix and tells Neo that is is not the first to be The One. I will admit that I initially found his intellectual language difficult to decipher but eventually I got my head around it. In laymans terms, this is the sixth iteration of The Matrix and Neo is the result of an anomaly in its code. He is the sixth chosen one and the events of this trilogy has played out 5 times before meaning that The Machines have already destroyed 5 iterations of Zion. Once you break through his technobabble and really grasp what The Architect is saying it’s a brilliant plot twist and re-integrates that sense of dread which appeared to be missing. It is setting up our heroes to fail regardless of what happens.
Lastly I want to focus on Trinity and her romance with Neo. I wasn’t a huge fan of her in The Matrix and I’m still not, but she has grown on me slightly. She serves as an Achilles heel for Neo which humanises him but in Reloaded she is actively useful. During the final sequence several vital assistants of our team die and Trinity has to plug herself into The Matrix to replace them. This inevitably leads to her death but Neo chooses to restart her heart instead of going directly to The Mainframe where he could have destroyed The Machines. In one swift moment she goes from a one note character to an essential part of Neos growth as a character.
The Matrix Reloaded is a wonderfully made film between the CGI and the acting but I will admit that it has one major flaw. It feels at times like it serves only as a prolouge to The Matrix Revolutions. Whether this is due to how much footage was shot or how it was planned to be from the beginning I do not know but I don’t think it works in the films favour. There are defiantly worse examples of filler, which is what I think best describes it, and if you can make peace with that I think you might find yourself enjoying it as I did.
Until Next Time…