The Matrix: Revolutions (2003) – Andy and Lana Wachowski

 

The Sci-Fi Chronicles brings me the last chapter in the Matrix Trilogy today, and I was eager to see if this one stood up as well as its previous sequel. Of the two of them, I have to say, I like Reloaded better than Revolutions.

The Wachowskis write and direct again, and put Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving smack-dab in the battle between man and program, with the fate of Zion, the last human bastion, hanging in the balance.

As Neo (Reeves) travels to the machine city, to confront the Source, and try to stop the seemingly inevitable destruction of humanity, Zion prepares for the final battle. In fact, the entire second half is nothing but battle and climax – Zion is swarmed by machines, Neo confronts the Source, as well as a Matrix completely taken over by Smiths (Weaving), all while Morpheus (Fishburne) and Trinity (Moss) fight to survive.

The film picks up right after the previous film ends, which requires Neo to escape the hold the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) has him in. Once free, the rest of the story seems to be thrown aside for one action sequence after another, as if there wasn’t enough narrative for three films, but there was certainly enough action and fight sequences.

What we are given this time is just a balls-out action flick, gone are the philosophical ruminations (wanted or not) of the second film, and the wonder and newness of the first film. In a way, it just feels tired. Like it had nothing left to share with us, just cool ways to blow things up, as humanity fights to survive.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all the actors in the film (though Monica Bellucci is far too underused, sigh), and the action sequences are well done, it’s just by this point, I don’t think I feel very invested in the characters or even care about what happens to them anymore. But it sure is pretty to look at.

And by the time the final confrontation with Smith comes around, there is no way they could do justice to the build-up they’ve created, and that final showdown actually comes across as anti-climatic. Which, again, is too bad, as I enjoy seeing Weaving and Reeves square off.

And given all the cool stuff Morpheus has done in the previous two films, this one he seems to be little more than a passenger, and not allowed to do much at all, but believe, and cite that belief that Neo is the One and he is doing the right thing, Zion simply has to believe in him. Sigh.

Everything gets wrapped up fairly nicely by film’s end, but that doesn’t mean the world can’t be revisited sometime in the future. I mean, just because a peace has been brokered between man and machine doesn’t mean things are going to get easier, the planet is still a mess, they have to learn to co-exist with one another, and I’m sure there are problems (people and programs) on both sides that could cause further conflict.

Will we ever know? And do we care? Hmmm.

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