…except that in parts of The Matrix Revolutions, that end just couldn’t come soon enough.
This post contains spoilers for The Matrix Trilogy.
I absolutely loved the original Matrix, and I enjoyed Reloaded. Alas, the final part of the trilogy is not good – unless by dint of being so bad that it’s good. It’s not that there’s any one particularly bad thing to point at, just a whole slew of mediocrity. The acting talent, for example: Hugo Weaving is the only one who shows any real ability (and does proceed to steal the show), and as for Keanu, he never quite manages to make a facial expression. The rest of the cast fall between these extremes with an array of workmanlike performances. Sadly missed is the late Gloria Foster – the replacement Oracle is a very poor (and poorly explained) substitute.
What about the action sequences and effects, then? Ho hum, says I. The battle of Zion sequences are good – the whole mechs vs. sentinels thing looks impressive and is fairly fresh, and the shots of the machine city and the like were impressive. That’s about it, though. The fight to get into the Merovingian’s club is highly derivative of the Lobby sequence from the first movie, for example. Flying a hovercraft through a narrow corridor isn’t overly impressive (you can’t relate to it as you can someone riding a motorbike the wrong way along a freeway), and the sentinels attacking it were better done in the Animatrix short Final Flight of the Osiris. And the final Neo vs. Smith fight was rather underwhelming.
Last, and least, the plot – or lack thereof. First off, we get the bit where Neo is stuck in Limbo and the others have to rescue him – which seems to serve no purpose whatsoever other than filling time. Then we get some naff expositionary bits, which lead us to the fact that Neo really does have 1337 powers in the “real” world. This is where it all falls over for me – the amount of disbelief that I’m willing to suspend. The first two movies set up the “Dream World” inside the Matrix, where the rules can be broken because, after all, it’s only a computer simulation, and the “Real World”. Flying hovercraft, sentinels and the like I am willing to accept in the Real World as advanced technology Sci-Fi stuff. Neo having magical superpowers outside the Matrix crosses the line into pure fantasy and for me completely broke the suspension of disbelief.
I was a fan of the matrix-within-a-matrix theory post-Reloaded. It was an explanation I was more than willing to accept, and even makes perfect sense as another level of ’control’. Plus it’s just plain neat (vis-a-vis eXistenZ). Other niggles: Trinity’s final scene was 500% too long – just die already! Occasional in-jokiness (eg Neo’s predictable bring-it-on hand movement) – I’m all for films not taking themselves seriously, but little bits of it injected into a serious film are bad. Since when did Smith have Superman powers? This is in no way explained and in no way makes sense. Plus the final wave of destruction is a fairly literal deus ex machina, and the non-ending was really rather unsatisfying.
To conclude: Bleh.