After re-visiting the original, I'd realised that it was never that great in the first place. So surely the sequels, generally deemed as lesser, would be even worse? In this case...no.For 'The Matrix Reloaded' is a continuation, that freed from the constraints of explanation and scene-setting, that really begins to take a shape of its own and build up pace to a hopefully satisfying conclusion. So Neo is now well and truly out of the matrix, Morpheous believes he is the One still and they have only days left til the machines discover the final hiding place of Zion and wipe out the resistance. In the matrix itself however, Agent Smith is running rouge and multiplying himself all over the place.
Things do not initially bode well for the second part. The first half-hour takes an age to crank itself into gear and you have to go through a really badly conceived rave in Zion intercut with Neo and Trinity making love. It seems that the Wachowski brothers never learned that their biggest flaw from the first was to play everything so stern-facedly solemn. This unfortunately causes more laughs than empathy for the characters.
After this draggy half-hour however, 'The Matrix Reloaded' happily becomes bullet shaped, stripped down of dull stretches and pointless rumination and just insists on battering the hell out of your senses. The 'burly-brawl' of a thousand Smiths against Neo is simply insanely conceived and it would take either an idiot or barking mad genius to try and pull it off. And damn it all if it doesn't work. There's not quite the photo-realism Joel Silver boasted of, but it still kicks a thousand pieces of ass and finally achieves the heights that the Wachowski brothers are dreaming of.
But even that fades into shadow when you compare it to the final rescue-escape along the freeway. Lasting about 15 minutes it doesn't waste a second, becoming the most breathless and most chaotic scenes of carnage ever seen on a freeway chase.
So the Wachowski can make things look good and can shoot action. But they can't write or structure a script. I'm talking about the infamous Architect scene obviously. Now I'm not complaining that I don't understand a word of what he said. Get past the pretentious, chin-stroking goobledook and it's pretty simple what he's saying. But screenwriting lesson 101 here people: don't give all your explanation away in one 5-minute wodge that will most people scratching their head and saying "Eh???". Just when 'Reloaded' had built up a terrific pace, along comes the Architect to bring it down to a slow crawl and scupper the rest of the film. Surely someone could have told them that you need to drop clues in along the way in a screenplay, not just as an indigestible block. It smacks of amateur writing and no amount of mumbo-jumbo, pseudo-intellectual waffle will sugarcoat that.
Nevertheless, 'Reloaded' still entertains on a massive level and convinces that this is something truly spectacular.'The Matrix Reloaded' manages to avoid the usual sequel pitfall of believing your own hype and trims off the fat that doesn't matter to give you jaw-dropping spectacle. There may still no brains behind this brawn but it's muscular enough to divert your attention.