(WARNING: Post contains spoilers.)
The Matrix Reloaded was fun. The fight scenes were the best I’ve ever seen. They were choreographed superbly even if the Neo versus 100 Agent Smiths looked more like a video game than movie. That was a case where computers got in the way of the scene (although it probably couldn’t have been created without them).
With all the whiz-bang special effects I was concerned that the story would suffer. It didn’t too much. A problem with The Matrix is the whole determinism/free will argument ingrained in the plot with a heavy seasoning of Eastern philosophy. Even though a book has been published on the philosophical questions surrounding the movie, I found discussion more suited to late night bull sessions in freshman college dorm rooms. Morpheus always talks about prophesy and destiny while every once in a while throwing in the concept of choice. Hard determinism and choice aren’t compatible. At one point in the movie Neo learns that while he is “The One,” his destiny isn’t the destruction of the Matrix, it’s to maintain it. Yet in order for Man to beat the machines Neo will have to go against his destiny. Choice and free will do reign supreme. But how then can Morpheus and other characters talk about their purpose as being in a certain place at a certain time doing a certain action? This isn’t so much philosophy as a logical conundrum.
While not moving steadily to a climax as in the first movie, you can see how the story goes forward to the final battle against the machines that will take place in The Matrix Revolutions later this year. So, as a part two of a trilogy, Reloaded isn’t The Empire Strikes Back.
On the acting front, Keanu Reeves actually acted. I didn’t notice a single “whoa” out of him, and he played the role of the reluctant messiah well. Lawrence Fishburne remained his preachy self as Morpheus who faces a question of faith at the end of the movie. Carrie-Anne Moss seemed colder, less emotional as Trinity.
Realoaded had the biggest hype of the summer movies, but it didn’t blow me away. Fun, yes, but I would put it on the same level as X2 which is the best comic book movie since the first Batman.
“Matrix: Not Much Neo to Report”