Matrix - Revolutions review by The Grim Ringler

Whether or not I liked or hated – M – R matters little. Because no matter what I think, there will be a vast ocean of people that will not just dislike the film but loathe it through and through. And some have good reason to hate it. Maybe they hated the hype, maybe they hated the actors, maybe they hate sci-fi, maybe, maybe, maybe. The biggest knock against the film, and I admit this freely, is its sense of self-importance. Its arrogance. It’s as if they know it’s a great film and dammit, you better know it too. There are a lot of questions in this film and moreover in this series that are never answered, and considering that they promised to answer all questions in the damned advert is bollocks and makes even me mad. Did they need to answer every little question? Perhaps not, but there are at least a few that are big enough to put a kink in your jaw. When I saw the film tonight I saw it with a packed audience, which proves that despite the ‘it sucked’ vibe that Reloaded gave off (if you read internet chatter, and if you don’t, god bless you) was a lot of crap. But more than a few groaned and sighed and nattered on whenever something happened that they didn’t like. So no matter what I, or you, or anyone thinks of Revolutions, it has a lot of people that will hate it outright, and that’s a shame, good movie or not. .

Revolutions picks up not long after the last film, Reloaded ended and we immediately get the feeling that this is not the third part in a trilogy but the second half of a second film. Which is not a bad thing, but it does add to the disorientation you feel during the first part of the film. Neo is lost, his body in a coma, his ‘being’ trapped in a neverwhere between the Matrix and the real world. No one knows how he got there – it was a result of his using his ‘powers’ in the real world against the machines. The machines are on the brink of breaking through to Zion and if the humans cannot stop them as they enter they may never be able to survive a full assault. But Morpheus still believes in Neo and refuses to give up on him so he and Trinity enter the Matrix at the behest of the Oracle (who has changed appearance, and actresses since the original died during filming) who knows how they can reach Neo and how they can save him, though it leads them right into the hands of the Merovingian, a renegade program that lords over knowledge and the Matrix like a robber-baron. Faced with making a virtual deal with the devil, Trinity places her life as well as Morpheus’ and that of Seraph, the Oracle’s bodyguard, on the line in a play to save Neo. It works and once reunited with Neo he insists he must speak with the Oracle one last time. And it is here that Neo realizes what it is he must do to stop the war against the machines. Meanwhile the war has broken out in Zion and in moments they are overrun, the war becoming more akin to Custer’s Last Stand or the Alamo than a true battle as the machines begin to disassemble all that the humans have worked to achieve outside of the constructs of the Matrix. And all the while Agent Smith is endeavoring to take the Matrix apart, bit-by-bit until he can reach Neo and destroy him, his army of clones expanding exponentially. Finally understanding what it is he is meant to do, and where it is he is meant to go, Neo and Trinity take one ship (as Morpheus and the others take another ship to return to Zion before it’s too late) and head towards the machine city to face the heart of the machines itself to offer a deal…if they can even reach the limits of the city. And every battle, every struggle, every moment heading for a collision course with Neo’s alter ego Smith in a fight for what may be the fates of all existence.

As with the first two films, things are not as they seem. Behind every answer are three more questions and behind that, god only knows. As much as there is revealed here, there is perhaps too much that ISN’T revealed. But what you want to know is did I like it? Yes, though begrudgingly. It truly is a film of epic ideas and intent. I love that there is so damn much to these films and that they don’t become what so many wanted them to be – a mindless action film. Yes, they are jammed with action, almost too much I would say, but beneath the action movie veneer is a very intelligent film. But not a perfect one. There are too many ideas pushed on you at once, and too many melodramatic speeches and every time I felt I was getting into the vibe of the film something pulled me out of it. This is a pretty darn good film, and it is part of a very good series, but this is not the perfect ending I think we had all hoped for.

The good – this film has great action. Mind-numbing action. And for every scene of philosophy and speeches there are two of action. I love that there is a real sense of danger in this film and that things happen that we do not expect. I love that there is something at stake in this film. And that the war scenes are so brutal and intense. I loved what this film wants to do…even if it doesn’t completely achieve it. I like that some of the background characters get a chance to step forward and become heroes. And I still really like the interactions between Trinity and Neo, two characters that do make you feel as if their worlds hinge on one another.

But this is not a perfect film. It begins at a point where some things have happened that we don’t know about, and aren’t really told about, and so we are, for at least a third of the film, left wondering umm, what the hell did I just miss? They pushed too hard to cram as much stuff in this film as possible and it feels like it. it feels bloated. And this doesn’t feel like it was a third film, as I said earlier, but more that it’s a continuation of the last film, which is fine…but not really a trilogy. And dammit, the big problem I have is that there are too many questions. What are the machines? What guides them? If the architect was the father of the Matrix, who was the mother? What and who is the Merovingian? Same question about Persephone. There are a lot of loose ends that are never tied up, and it will bother a lot of people. And really, the last thing that bothered me is that too much of the dialogue is sappy and cheesy. Maybe it’s a fault of the genre. Maybe it’s a fault of the writing. I dunno, but some of it just makes you wanna go ‘oh come on’.

But don’t get me wrong, I do like Revolutions. I think it’s a good film and, flaws and all, is still a good capper for the series. And I love how some of the issues are resolved. This is a very well made film and one that, though there are a LOT of special effects, the people in the movie, the characters are the ones that matter. The effects are just there to push the story forward and to add to the conflict. They never steal the show though, which is a credit to the actors and the directors. And I have to say that I read a lot of people saying how silly it was that Neo had become Superman essentially with no real foe that could stop him, but by the end of Revolutions we see that that isn’t so. What they were doing is setting up a parallel with he and Smith so that they’d be on even footing when it came around to one last battle. And yes, Superman can do a lot of things…but he can’t save every person and fight every monster at once. And neither can Neo. I would imagine that I will like this film a lot better upon seeing it a second time where I can soak up more of the ideas and can see more deeply into the film than I could this time. And it’d help if I didn’t have to listen to the incessant nattering of people that seemed as if they went to the movie to watch it fail. I think it really hurt the series when they showed Zion, not because they shouldn’t have, but it made things too tangible. It was better imagining Zion and the coming war more than it was to see it. Just as it’s always more fun to imagine what the Matrix is and what it means as an idea over seeing what it all truly does mean. But you have to give the Wachowski’s credit - they wanted to change action films, to make them smart and philosophical and to make them more than popcorn films. With the first one they achieved that goal perfectly but he more they tried to do the more the risked, and in the end, while they come close to achieving their goal for the entire series, they just don’t quite get there.

If you didn’t like Reloaded you will not like Revolutions. That’s the way it goes. But then, anyone who would expect they would is an ass. A lot of people are bound to be disappointed in this film, and I can see that. To a degree, I guess I am. But that isn’t to say this is a bad film or that it ruins the Matrix franchise. What it is is a very good film that provides a pretty good ending to a series that may be better appreciated in time, when we can take more time to ponder what the hell it all means. At worst this is a fun shoot-em-up and a great popcorn film. Me, I think it was made as more than that, and it comes darn close to achieving the heights it strove to attain. I give Revolutions a seven but the entire Matrix series I give an eight.


7 out of 10 Jackasses
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