Movie Review: The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
“Everything that has a beginning has an end.”
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Director: The Wachowskis
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss
Synopsis: The human city of Zion defends itself against the massive invasion of the machines as Neo fights to end the war at another front while also opposing the rogue Agent Smith.
The Matrix movies are like a huge, unwieldy juggernaut ascending an ever-increasing incline, its momentum inexorably slowing as it changes down through its gears; it never stalls, and never stops ploughing forward, but the journey becomes increasingly laborious as it crawls ever nearer to its end. The Matrix was a revelation to filmgoers at the end of the 20th Century, something fresh and inspiring; The Matrix Reloaded built upon the foundations of the first movie while inserting considerably more action sequences between the metaphysical philosophising. The Matrix Revolutions, which was filmed back-to-back with Reloaded, relegates the story’s more philosophical aspects to the side-lines for much of the time in order to attend to the kind of extravagant action sequences that belong in an altogether more prosaic series – Transformers, perhaps…
The Matrix Revolutions resumes the story that ended mid-breath at the end of The Matrix Reloaded. Neo (Keanu Reeves – Knock Knock, Exposed) is still in a coma on a gurney opposite Bane (Ian Bliss), the rebel whose body was occupied by the devilish Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Last Ride) in the previous installment, but his brain patterns show the kind of activity associated with one who is jacked into the Matrix. He’s actually in a subway station which is a kind of limbo between the Matrix and The Source, held there by the wicked Merovingian with whose cadre of henchmen Trinity and Morpheus hold a Mexican stand-off in order to retrieve their missing comrade. Meanwhile, the giant drilling machines are bringing the Machine’s sentinels ever closer to the City of Zion as it frantically tries to prepare for their arrival.
The centrepiece of The Matrix Revolutions is a seemingly endless battle scene in which rebel fighters climb into giant robotic machines to pound the advancing sentinels with a hail of automatic gunfire. All the military types bellow their trite lines of dialogue with the kind of gung-ho urgency that screams friendly-fire, while those plucked from the citizenry to replenish the fighters’ ammunition, or provide back-up mortar fire, gulp back their nerves to carry out their duties with a sense of calm resolve. The battle goes on forever – a barrage of noise and dodgy CGI effects from which it’s impossible to remove one’s eyes, but which leaves one strangely unmoved. That’s because all the characters in whom we have any kind of emotional investment are elsewhere at the time. Neo, in fact, has little more than a supporting role for much of the movie, only resurfacing every now and then as if to remind us that we really are watching a Matrix movie.
The Matrix Revolutions does turn its attention to more philosophical matters on occasion, but the meaning behind certain conversations are purposely enigmatic, to the point that we struggle to understand the significance of later references to them. The ending does remain faithful to the religious allegorism that runs through the entire franchise so that, while it might be disappointingly predictable – the Wachowskis really did have us believing they had something more mind-blowing up their sleeves – it’s at least logical. Overall though, The Matrix Revolutions proves to be a victim of the heights it reached earlier in the series.
(Reviewed 26th April 2016)
Click below for a free preview of the Kindle book, The Films of The Wachowskis. The book, written by the author of this review, features reviews of all of the directors’ films, and is available for anyone to buy, or to read for free if you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited. You don’t need a Kindle reader – Amazon’s Kindle app works on most popular devices and can be downloaded for free from their site.