Directors: The Wachowskis
Writers: The Wachowskis
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mary Alice, Ian Bliss, Monica Bellucci
The Matrix Revolutions was until now the final part of The Matrix series. It’s long been criticised for not living up the expectations of the original. Watching it now, with low expectations, it’s just as bad as its reputation says it is. It’s a shadow of the original and shouldn’t have been made in the first place. Unlike The Matrix Reloaded there are next to no redeeming qualities.
The film picks up exactly where Reloaded left off, with the big battle to decide the fate of humanity on the doors of Zion. All the threads that Reloaded set up are either discarded or given underwhelming conclusions. Smith (Hugo Weaving) is inhabiting Bane outside of the Matrix, except there’s no reason for him to be there and it doesn’t interfere with the plot. In anyway. What about that this iteration of the Matrix is the sixth one and the ‘One’ is a vital part of the Architects vision for the simulation, is that going to be brought up again in a meaningful way? No. Almost everything great about the series is left to one side so massive epic battles can take centre stage, leaving you with a hollow feeling after boredom seeps in and you start to drift away from the action on screen. Then you get to the actual ending, which is the most underwhelming it can possibly be. This isn’t the wrap up to the series that you want it to be.
The effects and visuals are outstanding and would still stand up today against most releases. The world looks real, and they are convincing. But almost all of The Matrix Revolutions is completely reliant on them. The bulk of the film is humans sitting behind controls of mech suits or ships as they battle against hordes of CGI sentinels. It’s overdone and dragged out to such a ridiculous length that none of it is entertaining. It’s just dumb shooting waves and waves of enemies until Neo saves the day, yet again. There’s no heart to it, the characters that we’ve spent two films with are barely there except to propel the plot enough for another wave of CGI bullets flying in every direction. Neo is blinded, but for plot reasons can see again instantly.
In the same way the close-up fighting isn’t close to the greatness of its predecessors. Instead of there being entertaining and thrilling fight sequences, they’re driven up to the extreme with a flying Neo and Smith battling it out in the sky, that feels like something out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, except there’s no personality to it. There are still some moments that are reminiscent of the originals, but these feel like nostalgia driven call-backs to the first film, which at the time was only four years old. It’s like the film saying to you, ‘remember when Trinity froze in the air while doing the crane kick? Well, here it is again’, ‘remember when Neo beckoned Smith before the big fight? How about you watch it again’. It’s pure trash.
Agent Smith is reduced to little more than an angsty teenager having a teenager. He beats down Neo, only to ask why does he continue resisting? Is for love, which is a construct as artificial as the Matrix itself. It’s just drivel that doesn’t really serve any purpose apart from destroying the sinister image of the Smith from the first film. When the climactic battle first starts and there’s an entire army of Smiths waiting, to the point that it’s almost funny – except the film is completely void of humour and takes itself very seriously, it’s just hard to join in and get invested.
Rewatching The Matrix Revolutions now on the precipice of the long-awaited sequel being released almost destroys all excitement. It’s hard to believe that the same people behind the original are also responsible for this travesty. It may be great visually, but it’s completely soulless beyond that shallow surface and the ending is one of the least satisfying endings to a series ever made.
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