Technically, this is part 3 of the Matrix trilogy, but to be more accurate, it is the second half of The Matrix Reloaded. It’s a continuation of the story that began there and was left on a cliffhanger. Of course, the whole trilogy has one overarching narrative about the humans versus the machines, but the original Matrix film can stand alone. It has a solid beginning, middle and end, but Matrix Reloaded feels like it ends in the middle of its story. Matrix Revolutions is the ending to that story and, as endings go, it was not the best received. As far as I can tell, it was thought of as repetitive and cliché. The fighting was seen supposedly boring and overly computer generated. They had the audacity to abandon The Matrix itself for the human settlement of Zion. We shall address all of this, but first a quick recap of the plot.
We follow Morpheus and the remaining humans as they defend Zion from an impending machine attack. Meanwhile Neo and Trinity (with a stowaway Agent Smith) travel to the heart of the machine city to see if it holds the key to their survival. You may have noticed that Neo comes second in that description, and that’s because he comes second in this film. Freeing humanity and protecting Zion have always been the primary objective, it just so happens that Neo is no longer directly involved with that objective. As such, it makes sense that we see less of him and more of the humans that he has been aiming to protect since the beginning. His existence isn’t what matters, it is the future of humanity that comes first. Neo is often compared to Christ Jesus, including through the films own lens, so it astounds me that people could miss the point entirely. Christ Jesus was sent to die so that we may live and as a result, the same should be expected of Neo. I’ve heard it said that the “Christ symbolism” is over the top here, but it’s never exactly been subtle. You can see it as a cliché ending, but clichés become what they are for a reason- they work, and have worked for years. It also wouldn’t have been beneficial to the plot to spend more time inside The Matrix itself, because we already know exactly what is taking place there. Agent Smith absorbs every single inhabitant, including The Oracle, so we only need to see him again for the final battle. That battle may seem boring and overly CG’d to some, and that’s okay. It isn’t as exciting as any of the fights that have come before, but, from a story-telling point of view, it shouldn’t be. Neo and Agent Smith are now equally matched so there aren’t really any stakes here. Nobody has the upper hand. With that said, I wouldn’t have minded a larger-scale fight through the entirety of The Matrix instead of just one street. As for the battle of Zion, I think it still holds up, especially for a film made in the early 2000s. It’s unrealistic to expect a battle that is 100% practical effects, and I think that is more true today than it was at the time. Take a look at what movies like Avengers Endgame achieved with their CGI and the reaction they get and explain how it’s fair to judge a 20 year old movie for doing the same. To their credit, they built a fully functioning mech suit and copied it into scenes several hundred time over. It’s still visually stunning to look at and has the highest stakes of the entire trilogy.
This review might seem like a small rant to some and they’re not entirely wrong. I would not have “every film is worth something” as my tagline if I didn’t genuinely believe it. To see something as iconic as the Matrix trilogy being torn apart without a second thought is painful and it probably doesn’t help that I’m currently witnessing Star Wars go through it too. The Matrix trilogy is not without it’s faults but you can still like it in spite of them. I still think The Matrix Revolutions delivered a solid ending and I still have a lot of fun watching it. I hope you can too.