Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody and may your beer be green and tasty. Now I have a confession to make concerning this movie. I honestly put off watching this movie as long as I could. See, I honestly felt that The Matrix was great as a stand alone movie and didn’t really need to be expanded on. But of course, Hollywood didn’t seem to think that. So when it came out in theaters, I refused to see it. When it was first released on video, I refused to rent it. The only reason I bought it was because the box set was on sale a few years ago and I really wanted The Matrix so I bought it. Now, I will begrudgingly admit that The Matrix Reloaded is an enjoyable movie.
The plot: 6 months after the events of the first movie, Neo is woken from a dream in which Trinity is killed by an agent. Meanwhile, Morpheus and Link, their new pilot, find a place to dock the Nebuchadnezzar so that Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity can attend a secret meeting of every Zion ship. At the meeting, Niobe says that the machines are digging their way towards Zion, and that an army of 250,000 sentinels are coming behind them. Zion has ordered that all ships return to Zion but Morpheus argues that one ship should remain in case the oracle tries to contact them and convinces one ship to see. While this is going on, a man knocks on the door and asks for Neo but when the guards refuse to let him in, he gives them an envelope to give to Neo, saying that Neo set him free. Neo, sensing something wrong, shows up and when he is given the envelope, opens it to find the earpiece of Agent Smith. Neo warns the guards that Agents are coming, just as three Agents break down the door. Neo fights with the Agents, noticing that they have been upgraded, and manages to defeat them, then flies off into the sky, while nearby, Agent Smith is shown to be alive and talking with a second Agent Smith. The Nebuchadnezzar returns to Zion and Morpheus is escorted to see Commander Lock, the military commander for Zion, who berates Morpheus for disobeying a direct order and having one ship to remain behind. Lock says he is going to recommend Morpheus be removed of command but before it can go any further, Councilman Hamann enters the room. Hamann says there is a meeting at the temple due to all of the ships being docked at the same time and says he plans to speak at it. Lock recommends discretion in order to avoid a panic but Morpheus says that he should tell the truth. Meanwhile, Neo and Trinity are trying to get some time alone but as they are heading to their quarters, Neo is mobbed by a group of people that believe him to be a messiah-like figure. Elsewhere, Link returns home and finds his wife Zee visiting with their sister-in-law and her two kids (Dozer’s family) and after they leave, Zee argues with him about flying with Morpheus as she already lost two brothers to him and didn’t want to lose her husband. That night, Morpheus speaks in the temple and tells the assembled people that the robots are coming but that they should not be afraid and as the people cheer and begin to celebrate, Neo and Trinity take the opportunity to spend some time alone. Inside the Matrix, two crew members from the ship that stayed behind smash through a skylight to reach their exit phone. When the first one leaves with a message, the second one, Bane, is attacked and taken over by Agent Smith, who is then able to use the body to escape the Matrix. Neo finds himself unable to sleep and steps outside to get some air, feeling a little disturbed by all of the gifts that people left for him, and meets and talks with Hamann. Later that night, Neo is given the message from the Oracle, and the Nebuchadnezzar’s crew prepares to leave, with Link being given a set of prayer beads for luck from Zee. Meanwhile, Agent Smith, still inside Bane, sneaks behind Neo and is about to stab him but is forced to halt his attack when the group is approached Kid, a young man that hero worships Neo, who gives Neo a gift from the orphans in the city, which turns out to be a spoon. Inside the Matrix, Neo heads to meet the Oracle and meets her bodyguard Seraph, who spars with Neo before leading her to where the Oracle is. Sitting down with the Oracle, Neo asks how he can trust her when he knows that she is a program and she says it is his choice. After talking for a bit, the Oracle says that Neo can save Zion and stop the machines but he will have to go to the machines mainframe, which is the source of the Matrix. She says they ony way he can get to the source is with the Keymaker, but he is being held captive by a program called the Merovingian. When the Oracle and Seraph leave, Neo is approached by Agent Smith, who tells Neo that for some reason they are connected and that thanks to Neo, he is no longer an Agent of the system but a rogue program. After showing Neo that he can create copies of himself, Smith tries to take over Neo but when he finds himself unable to do so, he and his clones begin to attack him. Neo fights back but as Smith continuously makes more copies of himself, Neo is forced to run in order to avoid being overwhelmed. Back on Zion, Lock is in a meeting with the council and goes over his defense strategy but when the council suggest sending two ships to contact the Nebuchadnezzar, he grows frustrated in their belief in Neo and says he can’t spare the ships. Overriding him, the council asks for two volunteers and Captain Soren volunteers the Vigilant to the mission, and Captain Niobe of the Logos does as well, much to Lock’s displeasure. Inside the Matrix, Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity go to see the Merovingian who speaks with them but refuses to give them the Keymaker. As they are leaving, the Merovingian’s wife, Persephone, offers to take them to the Keymaker in exchange for a kiss from Neo, which he reluctantly does much to Trinity’s displeasure. Persephone leads them to the Keymaker but as they are leaving, they encounter the Merovingian and his men, who is angry over Persephone’s betrayal. The Keymaker runs and when the Merovingian sends his chief enforcers, the Twins after him, Neo tells Morpheus and Trinity to look after him while he deals with the rest of the Merovingian’s men. Morpheus, Trinity, and the Keymaker head to the garage and grab a car, with the Twins in pursuit but when Neo goes to follow, he finds himself transported into the mountains 500 miles away. Police are called in to the high speed chase but the officers end up being taken over by Agents, who attempt to kill Morpheus and the others as well. Trinity and the Keymaker manage to get away while Morpheus stays behind and manages to defeat the Twins. As the Agents close in, Trinity turns around and passes off the Keymaker to Morpheus while she makes her escape, and Neo rescues Morpheus and the Keymaker before they are killed in an explosion. Meeting up with the Logos and Vigilant crews, the Keymaker explains what they will need to do to access the Source and the two crews are sent to take out the power plant and back-up generator to allow Neo, Morpheus, and the Keymaker to enter the hallway to reach the Source. Niobe and her crew succeed in blowing up the power plant but a sentinel destroys the Vigilant, killing Soren and his crew before they can finish their mission. Trinity, who Neo had asked to stay out of the Matrix, goes in to finish their mission. Meanwhile, Neo and the others enter the hallway but encounter Smith, who sends his clones to fight Neo and Morpheus. The Keymaker manages to open the door and Neo grabs Morpheus and heads through it but Smith shoots the Keymaker before he can close the door. As he is dying, the Keymaker show sMorpheus which door to take to get home, then gives Neo a key for the door to the Source. Neo enters the Source, where he meets the Architect, the man that created the Matrix. The Archtiect explains that Neo is a failsafe that is designed to reset the system before it suffers a fatal crash. Showing what is happening to Trinity, the Architect says that Neo has a choice; enter the Source and save Zion, or save Trinity and doom mankind to extinction. Neo chooses to save Trinity and leaves the hallway, flying to where she is and catching her, but not before she is shot by an agent. Neo manages to remove the bullet and restart her heart, bringing her back to life. Back on the Nebuchadnezzar, Neo explains that the prophesy was nothing more than another system of control, much to Morpheus’ dismay. Suddenly, a group of sentinels approach the ship and launch a bomb at it so Neo and the others are forced to run while the Nebuchadnezzar explodes. As the sentinels approach to deal with survivors, Neo tells Trinity he can feel them and manages to stop the sentinels but falls into a coma afterwards. The crew are picked up by the Hammer, and while Trinity stays in the sickbay with Neo, Morpheus and Link learn what happened to the counter attack. Apparently an EMP went off early and 5 of the 6 ships were downed. After the sentinels went through the area, the Hammer did a sweep for survivors and managed to find one, as Bane is shown to be in the sickbay next to Neo.
The Matrix Reloaded met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Though its heady themes are a departure from its predecessor, The Matrix Reloaded is a worthy sequel packed with popcorn-friendly thrills.” There was some controversy around the film and it’s questioning issues regarding human creation, which caused the movie to be banned in Egypt. Regardless, the movie was a box office success, earning over $742 million off a $150 million budget.
Another movie that fell victim to the sequel curse, this is still a decent movie to watch. Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Hugo Weaving all did good jobs in reprising their roles from the previous film. I did like how Keanu was uncomfortable with the hero worship and almost religious treatment that some of the people in Zion treated him with. The plot was pretty decent and did a good job of expanding on the story from the original movie, but I think it trying to hard to make this more of a “thinking/philosophical” movie. The special effects were good but I think they tried to much with the freeze frame martial arts fight scenes as they got fairly ridiculous at times, which kind of hurt the movie. Not as good as the original but a fairly decent follow up and worth a watch.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5