I’m going to be honest. I did not get on well with The Matrix. It was a good film, sure – I could recognise that much – but it was not to my personal taste. But, if I didn’t like The Matrix, then I positively loathe its first sequel, The Matrix Reloaded. Directed and written by the Wachowskis and released in 2003, this was a successful and popular sequel to the cult film, though most critics agree that its quality is less than the original. Unlike the first film, this is neither to my personal taste nor well made. Sure, it’s directed well and stuff, etc. etc. but, after having seen it all before, this doesn’t alone make the film good. Why continue watching these films, you may ask? Largely because a couple of my friends have are really big fans of the franchise, so I would like a full insight into what the fuss is about. And while I’m here, I might as well get it finished. So, anyway, here are some brief thoughts.
Firstly, I just simply didn’t really get the plot, or see any reason why I should care. The machines are digging down to Zion! The humans bizarrely react by having some kind of orgy-celebration. They need a key! For, uh, some reason. Then Neo saves the day because he’s ‘The One’. Or something along those lines. Most, if not all, of the plot was explained through a dull excess of expository dialogue, so I really should be following. My conclusions are that the plot really is that boring and unintelligible, or I’ve stopped caring. Possibly both. I generally just felt frustrated that the robots hadn’t slaughtered them all yet and ended it all.
The characters are no more likeable or endearing in this film. I welcomed Harold Perrineau, who played Link, for providing one of the few characters in the film who actually acts like a human being, albeit a clichéd one at that (I wonder if the irony was intentional). Neo, Morpheus, Trinity and Niobe might as well have been machines themselves – although that would possibly be an insult towards the talents of Hugo Weaving, whose performance as Agent Smith was one of the few things which kept the film watchable. Pity he was wasted in drawn out, excruciatingly tedious action sequences in which he got beaten up and then the characters escaped, presumably deciding they too had had enough.
In terms of structure, it felt all over the place. Granted, I couldn’t distinguish between ‘scenes where dull people in sunglasses talk in riddles trying to sound smart’, nor ‘scenes where they fight with martial arts for no apparent reason’. The chase on the motorway is the exception, which was a piece of masterful direction, but even that just went on and on. Another scene I genuinely did enjoy was when Neo met the creator of the Matrix, who explained – correct me if I’m wrong – that the human insurrection is not only permitted, but ensured by the machines, and that by giving people a choice to stay in the matrix or not is the solution for stability. I think Neo’s cop-out ‘One’ powers are also the work of the machines. That was a genuinely engaging twist.
But overall, I’m afraid, I really, really did not like this film.
Final rating: 3/10
(+1 for Hugo Weaving, +1 for Neo’s fabulous cloak and +1 for occasional displays of genius direction).
[Yes, that is a worse result than any four of the Twilight books. In fact, it’s the worst result I’ve yet to give on this blog].