Computer hacker Neo and the rebel leaders continue their fight against the oppressive machine army that is intent on destroying the one stronghold of the Resistance in the second part of The Matrix trilogy.
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Essentially it deserves one star for the digital mise-en-scène and the offense this causes to the cinematic film form and art. Nonetheless, its main merit is that it discloses the pseudo-philosophical veneer of New Age eschatology, the latter's crypto-fascism and fetishism of the soldier-ethic, regardless of gender. Neo's superman-like orbits can only elicit laughter on top of Jungian archetypes like the Architect.
Post-9/11, American audiences needed Keanu Reeves' Neo to be The One. The Wachowskis were all too prescient in reminding us that prophecies, messiahs, and the 'real world' as we know it are often merely another system of control. Fortunately, they couched this message in one of the most visually stunning and technologically advanced action movies of the last 20 years. I think I've finally caught up to their vision.
I like the Wachowskis because they always try something new. Their stamp is visual innovation, never shooting the same film twice, not even within a trilogy. Reloaded displays the full potential of The Matrix; the breadth of its characters/programs, sociopolitical structures, and operating logic. In turn this influences the Wachowskis' formal exploration into the surreality of the world...
I'll admit: I don't hate the sequels as much as everyone seems to. In "Reloaded" I liked that we got the chance to visit Zion. The question of whether fait is immutable or not is always an intriguing one to depict. I don't know if we need the twist that came with the Architect's revelation but the twins, the highway chase for the Keymaker, Belluci's Persephone, the battle with the sentinels... overall I liked it!
Weaving is even more diabolical, the action scenes are hyper-thrilling, frequent and imaginative, the characters develop and the Wachowskis' world is built upon in intriguing new ways (the hall of doors, the architect and the rebellious programs among my favorite examples of this). As a sequel, I found and still find it euphoric, and I find it sad that I seem to be the dissenting opinion in that regard.
I definitely see why everyone hated this movie when it came out. Both Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions have far too much crammed into them and trying to recapture the greatness of the first Matrix is too large a task on its own. It's not as great as I used to think it was, but still not entirely deserving of the lambasting it initially got. Besides, how the hell could they top the original?
Already 10 minutes in, all of the original's mystery, energy and tension between reality and computer imagery is flatten underneath the worst kind of Star Wars-like mythology and faux-philosophical bullshit, replaying and stretching the same exact plot until it becomes a tedious joke. And it only gets much, much worse...