a critiQal film review The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Plot: Neo (Reeves) is The One, the man prophecised to destroy the Matrix, a virtual reality construct designed by intelligent machines to occupy humans' minds while they cultivate them for their energy. While visions of a dying Trinity (Moss) haunt his dreams, Neo, Trinity and Morpheus (Fishburne) search for the Keymaker, who will be able to open the door to Neo's future.

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  • ...the action is amped up for this second film, making for a great thrill ride - right until the abrupt end.

It’s finally here! The moment I’ve been waiting for… the sequel to The Matrix (1999) has arrived! Since first hearing they were making not just one, but 2 sequels to The Matrix (1999) (and both coming out in the same year…the first sequel in May, the second in November), I’ve been eagerly anticipating this day, just to see if the Wachowski brothers could come through and continue the excitement and originality of the first film into 2 more films.

Would they be able to take the film that has inspired so many movies since it came out it’s almost a cliche, and carry on the excitement, the thrill, and the originality in The Matrix Reloaded? You bet they can.

Every actor returning from the first film slipped so easily back into character, it was as if they hadn’t even taken any time off. Keanu, one of the most unlikely action stars around (who probably got this role after his action hero performance in the much loved, but badly acted, Speed (1994)), continues to take Neo to new heights (literally, at times), and seems awash in confusion over what to do. The viewer can almost feel the weight of being the savior of the human race bearing down on him. To add to that, this time his romantic involvement with Trinity is threatened in his dreams, and he’s got a whole convoluted struggle going on in his head, which is easily visible on his face.

Fishburne, as Morpheus (the coolest character to hit the big screen in quite some time) continues his low key, obsessed fanatic role to perfection. You can see the belief in Neo reflected in his eyes in every single scene, and you know it’s the driving force behind each and every move he makes.

Trinity, more the love interest then the butt-kicking female of the first film, does lag a bit here, but it’s probably only noticeable because of the near perfection being exhibited by everyone else.

Smith, now a rogue agent, also returns and brings back his sinister placidity in whole new ways. Almost never disturbed by anything around him, Smith continues to be sinister in his eerie calmness.

The Matrix Reloaded also introduces a few new characters (as sequels should), most notably the new navigator of their ship, Link (Perrineau), and the Twins (Neil & Adrian Rayment), who they must battle in a climactic freeway sequence.

The plot, usually a huge hinge on which a second film like The Matrx Reloaded revolves, continues to twist and turn, much as the first film did. But, it also gives the viewers what they were craving after the end of the first film.

We get to see Neo, with his new-found abilities, kicking butt and taking names from slews of agents; we get to visit the much talked about city of Zion, buried deep underground in the ravaged future; we get to see the continuance of the romance between Neo and Trinity that sparked in the first film; and, of course, we get to see more of the crazy camera angles and stop/slow-mo that made the original so famous. Plus, the storyline continues from the first, as Neo strives to discover what he must do to destroy the Matrix.

The Wachowski brothers, obviously, knew exactly what the viewers wanted, and provided it in The Matrix Reloaded with their own unique flair.

The special effects of The Matrix Reloaded in one word: In-Credible. Amazing. Astonishing. WOW! Okay, maybe that’s more than one word. They take the awe-inspiring stunts from the first film, throw in some new twists, and amp them up 10-fold. You liked the fight between Neo and Smith in the subway in the first film? Fine – the sequel gives you Neo and so many Smiths you can’t even count them – all at once.

That scene showcases the talents the Wachowski brothers have with fight scenes. There are so many people on-screen at once, it would be easy to lose Neo. But, with strategic use of slow-mo, the Wachowski brothers keep the viewer focused in on the main action, without it going by so fast the viewer gets lost. It makes the scene much more intense, and the viewer is on the edge of their seat, just watching in amazement as Neo battles on.

The scope of the fight scenes has been increased dramatically for Reloaded, and it’s simply amazing to behold.

With a great returning cast and some remarkable new characters, The Matrix Reloaded has you hooked from the start. Follow that up with one of the best written sequels ever, and the film only gets better. Toss that in with the Wachowsky brothers slo-mo that made the original famous, and already you can’t wait to see it. To top it off, toss in more action then the first, and you should have already seen this film by now.

The only drawback? The movie just stops. There is no end. Because the third film is hitting theaters in November, The Wachowski Brothers apparently decided they didn’t need an ending to this first film. Instead, they present the audience with a new twist – and the movie’s over. Sure, this will probably get viewers to flock to the third film, but it does detract a bit from the second film. Each film should stand on their own, with a beginning, middle and end. No ending leaves the viewer a bit disappointed.

Despite that, however, The Matrix Reloaded is one sequel you shouldn’t miss on the big screen.

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