And now for the supposed conclusion to the stupid Matrix trilogy, called The Matrix Revolutions (2003) for some reason. Throughout this last installment there is a lot of talk about change and doing things differently, but we never actually see it. We are just told, as we were in The Matrix Reloaded (2003), that the fall of the remainder of human civilization happened before, but this time it was going to be different. Might a flashback have been in order? Maybe, but the Wachowski sisters, the siblings responsible for this mess, apparently decided against any scenes that might help the audience better understand this digitally created world where humans are unknowing slaves to machines. I guess there is a bigger social commentary in all of them, and there is a brief exchange in The Matrix Reloaded where Neo (Keanu Reeves) chats with a human elder named Councilor Hamann (Anthony Zerbe) about the irony of them fighting one set of mechanical beings while also relying on another for their survival. But enough of blabbing about the precariousness of their existence, and introducing new concepts like karma as they do early on in The Matrix Revolutions. Let us get back to more kicking and punching because that is what we really want to see, right?
When we left off in The Matrix Reloaded, our intrepid hero was rendered unconscious after fending off a swarm of sentinel robots sent to destroy them. He somehow does this with his mind because the movies call him the One and, oh by the way, he can sense and interact with the machines when he is not in the Matrix. In The Matrix Revolutions, he has been loaded aboard the ship of another one of the human resistance captains, along with a mysterious figure named Bane (Ian Bliss). Okay, he is not that mysterious because in the previous film he is actually Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), or one of Neo’s archnemesis’ copies, who had managed to find his way into the human world. Because, I guess, he is still on the side of the machines, he thwarted an attempt by the ship captains to stop the approaching attack on Zion, and he was the only one to survive from his crew. Meanwhile, despite not being tethered to the usual wires and computer interfaces, Neo finds his mind is still connected to the Matrix . . . kind of. At the moment he is stuck in some other artificial construct ruled by the Trainman (Bruce Spence), and it has the appearance of a train station designed to take programs in and out of the Matrix. Waiting there are a couple of programs who serve no purpose to the plot other than to have the aforementioned conversation about karma. They tease about the importance of their daughter Sati (Tanveer K. Atwal), but she does nothing for the rest of the film other than seemingly make the sun rise at the end. Anyway, the Trainman works for another antagonist hold over from the previous film, the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson). Neo’s long-time compatriots, Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), along with the Oracle’s (Mary Alice) bodyguard Seraph (Collin Chou), go to the Merovingian in order effect their friend’s release. Because there had not been any action set pieces to this point, instead of talking their way into the Merovingian’s presence, they shoot their way in and hold a gun to his head until he agrees to let Neo out. Before returning to the real world (though I do not know why he is even bothering at this point), Neo goes to see the Oracle one last time. There proceeds another conversation about fate and choice that is interesting, though short. Neo is told that if he wants true peace with the machines, he must travel to their city and confront them there . . . because that is what the script says, I guess. When he finally comes to in the real world, he tells the two remaining captains that he needs one of their ships to get to the machine city. The one who agrees to this is Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith). Thus, while Neo and Trinity head off, the remaining ship, controlled by ace pilot Niobe, returns to Zion intending to help defend their home. Actually, the scenes of her on the stick guiding their vessel through mad twists and turns while fending off swarms of sentinels is the most exciting sequence in all the films. As for Neo and Trinity’s trek, they make it to their intended destination, but crash land upon arrival. The wreck kills Trinity, and they have a heartfelt farewell with her dying breath, leaving Neo to carry on alone. Oh, I suppose I should mention that Bane had also attempted to kill Neo and Trinity shortly after their departure, and though they survived Neo had been blinded in the resulting scuffle. Not that it matters, though, because he can apparently see the machines without the use of his eyes. Anyway, when the machines finally confront him, they decide to help him get into the Matrix and fight Agent Smith, who had been slowly taking over the artificial reality by copying himself onto every person, including the Oracle. In exchange for fighting Agent Smith, the machines agree to leave Zion in peace. Enter fist fight number 17,328, this time with our two rivals flying through the air to land their punches and kicks, but this time in the rain. Whatever. The end result is that Neo ends up letting Agent Smith copy himself onto Neo, which triggers some kind of chain reaction that dissolves everyone except for the Oracle. So, Zion is saved, Neo (I guess) dies, and the Matrix is seemingly put back to normal. This time, though, supposedly all people are going to be given the choice as to whether or not they will be a part of the Matrix.
Oh, darn, I forgot to talk about the battle for Zion’s dock in The Matrix Revolutions. Still, because it had been essentially foretold in the previous film, it is predictable how it goes. In the previous review, I complained about the circular logic of these three films, and the struggle for control of Zion’s docks neatly sums up the problem. As the Architect (Helmut Bakaitis) assures Neo in The Matrix Reloaded, there is an air of inevitability to pretty much everything that happens. The machines had destroyed Zion as many as six times before, and they are clearly capable of doing it again. In order to get down to its location deep underground, they utilize giant drills to bore through its walls, and a truly innumerable amount of sentinels to tangle with any opposition. The only idea we get of how many sentinels there are is a throwaway line from Morpheus, who surmises that the machines would send at least one of the killer robots for every man, woman, and child in Zion. When you watch the film, it looks like countless more than even that number. The humans use all their resources to shoot as many sentinels as they can as they emerge from the drill hole, but eventually they are utterly overwhelmed. They are attacked by so great a number that it begs the question as to why the battle lasted as long as it did. The cynic in me says it is because people want to see shooting and explosions, and the more than can shove into their movie the better they think it will be received. Yawn.
Like with The Matrix Reloaded, I will take issue with The Matrix Revolutions for once more making Neo into a Jesus-figure. Neo and Trinity’s journey to the machine city, particularly proceeding her death, is almost like the walk Jesus took to Calvary. After Neo’s fight with Agent Smith concludes, he appears in the real world with his arms outstretched, looking much like somebody who had been crucified. Does this mean that when the fourth iteration in the series comes out later this year, it will be called The Matrix Resurrection? I will not be at all surprised if that is its title. Look, it is all well and good that Neo is willing to lay down his life for a greater cause. The point I am trying to make is that it is an all too familiar theme. For a franchise that is supposedly original, could they not come up with a new way of introducing this concept? In the Matrix, Neo is practically a god, so why is it that he has to struggle with Agent Smith? Ultimately, the films raise more questions than they answer, and anything that a person of Faith like me can relate to is always brushed aside to get to the action schlock.
So now you have The Legionnaire’s take on The Matrix Revolutions, and the whole current trilogy. I am sure that when the fourth film comes out, I will be watching that one as well. Ultimately, it was a concept they should have left alone after the first movie. While as a Christian I am uncomfortable with questioning reality to the point of believing that someone other than a loving God is in control, I can still appreciate it cinematically. But when the Wachowski two saw how much money their first film made, it was like they went into a room and said, “Huh, what if we added this element, or that idea?” Our lives are good as they are if you have a personal relationship with God. You do not need a movie like these suggesting otherwise, and then making up a bunch of other crap to go along with it.