Matrix Revolutions, TheReviewed By Robert Flaxman
Posted 10/11/04 04:00:23
After seeing The Matrix Reloaded, I felt that while most of that film was not especially good, the last half-hour did a pretty good job of setting the stage, plot-wise for The Matrix Revolutions. With that in mind, all Revolutions needed to do was follow through on the strands it had been handed and it would have been a good end to the trilogy. Revolutions has some good moments, but it does as poor a job of explaining many of its plot points as Reloaded did - and since there isn't another movie coming, this has to be viewed as something of a problem.Revolutions picks up where Reloaded left off, with Neo unconscious after stopping a sentinel with his mind. But now his mind is somewhere in the Matrix - or rather just outside the Matrix (where exactly that is is never made clear). Somehow he's being held captive by the Merovingian (how this happened is not made clear). The Merovingian wants the "eyes of the Oracle," whatever those are, in exchange for Neo. Instead, Trinity points a gun at him, and the whole thing is quickly dropped. This first sequence is almost worse than any in Reloaded as a combination both of "how is that supposed to have happened" and sheer pointlessness.
The film picks up from there, though Neo's narrative, somewhat surprisingly, does not take up nearly as much of the film thereafter, except for his climactic fight with Smith in the Matrix. Much of the rest of the time is focused on the defense of Zion as the machines attack.
Revolutions leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Okay, so Neo was able to create an electromagnetic pulse strong enough to knock out the machines by himself. Apparently that's what knocked just his mind into the Matrix. What? At least the Wachowskis connected the dots instead of not explaining it at all, but the explanation makes no sense. It's never mentioned how Neo is able to create this EMP, nor is it explained how, in Revolutions, Neo can see machines without the use of his eyes. It's one thing to be honing his skills in the Matrix (which was the premise behind the end of the original film, after all) but now he's some sort of supernatural being in real life too? How so?
Even more unforgivably, the film falls into a mess of clichés. The defense of Zion is basically your standard action movie tug-of-war, and many of the lines written for this film are just awful. The Wachowskis write dialogue for lovers about as well as George Lucas did in Attack of the Clones, and a number of times the audience at my screening either chuckled at a line or said it before the character did, which was certainly not hard in some cases. (Trinity: "Six hours ago I told the Merovingian I was ready to die for you. You know what's changed in the past six hours?" Neo: "No." Trinity: "Nothing." Welcome to the most obvious line ever.)
Despite all this, the film still has an edge over Reloaded, if only because, as the final film of the trilogy, it gets to have the benefit of closing up shop. Yes, many of the plot strands go unexplained, but the key strands are closed down and, I would argue, pretty well. The quasi-twist of having Neo and the machines work together was fun - I always find it interesting to see enemies join forces against a common foe. And I thought the last scenes were executed pretty nicely. The biggest problem with the end was the butting against each other of two different messages, and it sort of seemed like the more cynical one won out - but that's a more veiled aspect of the film that isn't even particularly obvious on first viewing.
Revolutions is nothing spectacular, but it's tighter and more entertaining than its predecessor. No, it's not even close to the original Matrix, but after the Reloaded debacle, anyone who was expecting that level of quality was deluding themselves.It's still disappointing, but Revolutions provides a passable ending to the trilogy.
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