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The UnPopular Opinion: The Matrix Reloaded / The Matrix Revolutions

03.27.2013

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

**** SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

When THE MATRIX was initially released in 1999, I hated it.  I thought it was cheesy and that Keanu Reeves could not have delivered a more wooden performance.  The lone bright spot was the closing battle in the lobby as well as the bullet time on the rooftop.  I felt like the only person who didn't like it.  Maybe it was the hangover I had while watching it or some bad seafood, but I did not understand the love for the movie.  So, I gave it another chance on DVD and realized the error of my ways.  I came to love THE MATRIX and was ecstatic when the sequels were announced.  Getting back to back movies in 2003 was going to be epic and I began reading everything available from ancillary materials that the Wachowskis claimed they used as inspiration for the trilogy.

When THE MATRIX RELOADED was finally released in May 2003, I was first in line to see it.  I knew what The Wachowskis would do would be not only heads and tails above the first movie, but something revolutionary for cinema.  But, instead we got this mediocre build-up with no payoff.  THE MATRIX RELOADED is the ultimate case of blue balls that would force us to wait six months before we could blow our load.  What a crock of shit!  THE MATRIX RELOADED somehow became the PHANTOM MENACE of the MATRIX movies.

If I could pinpoint the problem with THE MATRIX RELOADED, it would be scope.  THE MATRIX introduced us to a philosophical and unique world that was only the surface for a whole hell of a lot more stories to tell.  Like STAR WARS, THE MATRIX has thrived in an expanded universe of comics and online games.  Trying to cram in a universe worth of material and story into two hours results in an overload of narrative.  The introduction of Zion, The Merovingian, The Keymaker, and The Architect in just one film without any mention of them (aside from Zion) in THE MATRIX feels like a hell of a lot of retroactive continuity for the series.  With the bigger budget and need to outdo the first film, THE MATRIX RELOADED sacrifices quality in favor of scale.

You do not want to know where they got the wax to make those candles.

Take Zion, for example.  We spent the entire length of THE MATRIX hearing about this place that is supposed to be humanity's last safe haven.  I imagined in my head this scrappy outpost similar to the Rebel Alliance bases on Yavin or Hoth.  I mean, these humans have these ships but all of their clothes look like rags?  One would expect a level of poverty for these survivors to have pulled themselves together.  But, they actually have the technology to battle the Sentinels and yet they barely have anything else.  Well, they have enough to have a rave/orgy after Morpheus gives them a speech, but that is true for most post-apocalyptic societies.  Screw survival, lets grind to some house music!

Every time our heroes venture into The Matrix it seems to slightly change the rules on us, almost as if The Wachowskis were making it up as they went.  I don't think this was on the level of LOST making it up along the way, but clearly these siblings tried to throw everything but the kitchen sink in ro see what fans would connect with.  There is no other explanation for having the amazing Monica Bellucci for a single scene that could have been excised completely.  Persephone and The Merovingian are interesting characters that we never get to explore.  Sure, The Merovingian delivers a cool little speech and Persephone leads them to The Keymaker, but it is a 30 minute sequence that could have been truncated.  I was left wondering if these characters were going to return in THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS for a more prominent role which sadly, never happened.  In fact, they really only served to progress the protagonists to The Keymaker, plus introduce The Twins.

Hello, my name is Persephone.  Welcome to The Olive Garden.

The Twins are the Darth Maul of THE MATRIX RELOADED.  They are incredibly cool with very unique powers and yet they are squandered.  Their presence during the climactic highway scene is one of the best parts of the movie, but then they are gone so easily only to be replaced by those pesky Agents.  The Twins have just the right abilities to make the battle last longer than a few seconds and yet they are more easily disposed of than the Agents who keep popping up over and over again.  It would have made a lot more sense for The Twins to have been Agents themselves, or at least join forces to battle Neo and Moipheus.  Instead, we get Agent Smith.

Now, I thought Hugo Weaving's portrayal of Agent Smith in the first movie was awesome.  He was menacing, unstoppable, and his death was the perfect way to display the power of Neo as he becomes The One.  So, to bring him back with no fanfare and make him so much more powerful just feels like an attempt to cash in on the first movie.  As far as villains go, Agent Smith is top notch, but I would have preferred to have a new enemy rise to battle Neo.  Instead, this undermines his One-ness.

Talk about bringing a knife to a gunfight.

THE MATRIX RELOADED is better than THE MATRIX in a lot of ways: the cinematography and special effects, the scale of the visuals, the action scenes, and the soundtrack.  But, it also feels like too much dessert.  At the end of THE MATRIX RELOADED, I felt like I had eaten too much and now had a stomachache.  Combine that with the fact that there is no real resolutions of any kind, and you are left with an empty feeling.  To call THE MATRIX a trilogy is a bit of a misnomer.  We really have THE MATRIX and THE MATRIX 2 which was broken into two films.

I was very excited as I left the theater after THE MATRIX RELOADED, left to ponder thousands of theories and ideas for where the finale could go.  I ran out and bought ENTER THE MATRIX and played through the game and the hour's worth of original scenes to enhance my experience with the movie, only to realize I would have to wait months to find out how it would all end.  Having seen the full trilogy, I can look back on all three films and say without a doubt that THE MATRIX RELOADED was a vast disappointment and the lowpoint of the three movies.  Does that mean I thought THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS was better?

This was the better version of TLC's music video for "Waterfalls"

Yes!  THE MATRIX trilogy concludes with a very satisfying chapter in REVOLUTIONS.  When I originally saw it in the theater, I was f*cking pissed.  I thought that THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS was a piece of hot garbage.  But, I allowed myself time to cool down and get over my overhype, I realized that you cannot look at RELOADED and REVOLUTIONS as two films but rather two parts of the same movie.  Much like HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, RELOADED and REVOLUTIONS are a whole film.  If you sit down and watch them back to back, it works much better than having to wait months between theatrical releases.  Unlike KILL BILL which cleanly divides a film both tonally and narratively, nothing in these two MATRIX movies works on it's own.

Suddenly, the revelations from The Architect to Neo makes more sense.  Now, the threat of Agent Smith feels more credible.  Like DEATHLY HALLOWS, the concluding battle between Neo and Agent Smith while Zion is attacked by the Sentinels takes up the bulk of the film.  REVOLUTIONS is the action packed ending that the film deserves, culminating in the ultimate sacrifice to reboot the entire system.  I found the ending to REVOLUTIONS to be satisfying while many found it to be anticlimactic.  I never thought this was going to be the end of THE MATRIX as a series and I do not recognize them truly as a trilogy.  RELOADED/REVOLUTIONS together represent the second chapter in THE MATRIX series and The Wachowskis owe us another story to properly conclude the saga of Neo, Morpheus, Trinity, and the rest.

Detroit looks so much better in the future.

THE MATRIX set up a world of infinite possibilities while THE MATRIX RELOADED tried to expound on too many philosophical directions that could not possibly be satisfied wholly in a single film.  THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS successfully ends the arc of Neo fulfilling the prophecy of The One while also rebooting The Matrix.  Many of you may have felt that, like the critics, THE MATRIX sequels failed to live up to the grandeur of the original.  I disagree and think they enhanced it.  While I disliked RELOADED and enjoyed REVOLUTIONS, together they are a satisfactory sequel.  Now, we just need another movie to continue that magic.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!

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Source: JoBlo.com

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8:09AM on 10/24/2013
One of the few columns of his I agree with.
One of the few columns of his I agree with.
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12:52AM on 03/28/2013

The unpopular spelling

"It would have made a lot more sense for The Twins to have been Agents themselves, or at least join forces to battle Neo and Moipheus."

Its Morpheus not "Moipheus"
"It would have made a lot more sense for The Twins to have been Agents themselves, or at least join forces to battle Neo and Moipheus."

Its Morpheus not "Moipheus"
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9:24PM on 03/27/2013
I just rewatched the first Matrix over the weekend. It's my 2nd favorite movie of all time. I've seen it so many times I've lost count, but I haven't watched it from beginning to end in years (I've watched large chunks of it on HBO or AMC every time it's on). I enjoy the sequels too. Sure they're not perfect but they're fun. I actually enjoy Revolutions over Reloaded. Reloaded I feel like is just a bridge movie and after the slow first 45 minutes it's just one big long action sequence. Plus I'm
I just rewatched the first Matrix over the weekend. It's my 2nd favorite movie of all time. I've seen it so many times I've lost count, but I haven't watched it from beginning to end in years (I've watched large chunks of it on HBO or AMC every time it's on). I enjoy the sequels too. Sure they're not perfect but they're fun. I actually enjoy Revolutions over Reloaded. Reloaded I feel like is just a bridge movie and after the slow first 45 minutes it's just one big long action sequence. Plus I'm a sucker for finales.
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8:56PM on 03/27/2013
I think the first movie was such a surprise hit that the sequels had no chance of living up to the hype. Sure, they aren't perfect, but both sequels are entertaining. And I agree with the assessment that these 2 movies are really one long movie, both play better watched together. I also really like how this was an original, big budget blockbuster series. So many of the film series these days, good and bad, are based on comic books, cartoons, reboots of older movies, etc. The Matrix series was a
I think the first movie was such a surprise hit that the sequels had no chance of living up to the hype. Sure, they aren't perfect, but both sequels are entertaining. And I agree with the assessment that these 2 movies are really one long movie, both play better watched together. I also really like how this was an original, big budget blockbuster series. So many of the film series these days, good and bad, are based on comic books, cartoons, reboots of older movies, etc. The Matrix series was a nice change of pace from that.
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6:13PM on 03/27/2013
I like both films & the only reason people don't like them is because the first Matrix set the bar so high & brought something fresh to both sci-fi & action films then of course you expect more. Plus you can blame other films who completely overdid the bullet time concept, which is typical of Hollywood.
I like both films & the only reason people don't like them is because the first Matrix set the bar so high & brought something fresh to both sci-fi & action films then of course you expect more. Plus you can blame other films who completely overdid the bullet time concept, which is typical of Hollywood.
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2:58PM on 03/27/2013
The original Matrix is an amazing film. The movies that followed are slow, sloppy, unfocused, and completely misguided stories with characters that only somewhat feel like the characters we met in the first installment.

There are changes in character on a fundamental level that can't be explained away and that completely sweep the carpet out from under the series. The big example? In the Matrix, Morpheus absolutely will not rest until every human being is free and the machines are
The original Matrix is an amazing film. The movies that followed are slow, sloppy, unfocused, and completely misguided stories with characters that only somewhat feel like the characters we met in the first installment.

There are changes in character on a fundamental level that can't be explained away and that completely sweep the carpet out from under the series. The big example? In the Matrix, Morpheus absolutely will not rest until every human being is free and the machines are destroyed. By the third installment he'll settle for a peace treaty. Yeah...about that.
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1:03PM on 03/27/2013
They are both heaps of shit and just one big wasted opportunity.. They pale in comparison to the first one, but I don't think this is an "unpopular opinion". I mean doesn't everyone hate them?
They are both heaps of shit and just one big wasted opportunity.. They pale in comparison to the first one, but I don't think this is an "unpopular opinion". I mean doesn't everyone hate them?
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12:19PM on 03/27/2013
The first one is clearly the best, but I never bought into the hate for 2 and 3. I think they're kick-ass action movies with a sprinkling of philosophy. That's all the first movie was, it just did it a little better and a little cleaner, and had the benefit of not trying to create an end-of-the-world story, which always creates a little bloat.

Two has problems. The multiplying Agent-Smith thing gets dumb as soon as it becomes 100% CGI. Pretty much as soon as Neo picks up that metal pole the
The first one is clearly the best, but I never bought into the hate for 2 and 3. I think they're kick-ass action movies with a sprinkling of philosophy. That's all the first movie was, it just did it a little better and a little cleaner, and had the benefit of not trying to create an end-of-the-world story, which always creates a little bloat.

Two has problems. The multiplying Agent-Smith thing gets dumb as soon as it becomes 100% CGI. Pretty much as soon as Neo picks up that metal pole the fight stops being cool. Three's major problem is lack of the Matrix. Other than that, they're both fun flicks, and I'll always watch them when they're on.

That Highway Chase is still the stuff of my adolescent cyberpunk wetware dreams.
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11:10AM on 03/27/2013
I loved Reloaded, but it's major weakness is Revolutions. If Revolutions had delivered on the promise of Reloaded, it would have been fantastic, but instead we're left with a video game climax and a lame epilogue.
I loved Reloaded, but it's major weakness is Revolutions. If Revolutions had delivered on the promise of Reloaded, it would have been fantastic, but instead we're left with a video game climax and a lame epilogue.
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10:34AM on 03/27/2013
I loved Reloaded and thought it was a deep, entertaining, and smart film. Revolutions spent way to much time in the Real World...It's called The Matrix so spend more time in the Fucking Matrix! LOL...I do love the films and it's one of my favorite trilogies, it just connects with me.
I loved Reloaded and thought it was a deep, entertaining, and smart film. Revolutions spent way to much time in the Real World...It's called The Matrix so spend more time in the Fucking Matrix! LOL...I do love the films and it's one of my favorite trilogies, it just connects with me.
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10:16AM on 03/27/2013

This is not an Unpopular Opinion

This is not an Unpopular Opinion
This is not an Unpopular Opinion
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9:56AM on 03/27/2013

.

I went back to school so I can study film and production, and in one of my cclasse there was this kid who always picked certain movies that wweren't popular with the general masses. Example, on day in a world cinema class he said that he loved the star wars prequels and thought the originals were garbage. the outrage in class was crazy, ecspecially for us older fans who grew up with the originals. Point is i like articles and discusion like this, ecspecially when it goes against popular
I went back to school so I can study film and production, and in one of my cclasse there was this kid who always picked certain movies that wweren't popular with the general masses. Example, on day in a world cinema class he said that he loved the star wars prequels and thought the originals were garbage. the outrage in class was crazy, ecspecially for us older fans who grew up with the originals. Point is i like articles and discusion like this, ecspecially when it goes against popular opinion. I thought the two matrix sequels didnt live up to the original, all that CGI dont make for a good movie if the story isnt there or you try to confuse everyone with all that logic and philosophy. Anyways, keep the articles coming
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9:58AM on 03/27/2013
Excuse the spelling errors, ever since I accepted a update on my phone, its been working like garbage.
Excuse the spelling errors, ever since I accepted a update on my phone, its been working like garbage.
9:47AM on 03/27/2013
I prefer the big dumb sequels to the highschool postmodernism of the original.
I always felt like The Matrix was very deliberate in its attempts to manipulate a certain audience by incorporating what was deemed to be "cool" at the time. Sure it innovated on a technical level, and what it borrowed from animé it borrowed fairly well, but its attempt to leech onto outsider/alternative culture always seemed a bit disingenuous to me.
The sequels failed on many levels, but I enjoy the odd dumb,
I prefer the big dumb sequels to the highschool postmodernism of the original.
I always felt like The Matrix was very deliberate in its attempts to manipulate a certain audience by incorporating what was deemed to be "cool" at the time. Sure it innovated on a technical level, and what it borrowed from animé it borrowed fairly well, but its attempt to leech onto outsider/alternative culture always seemed a bit disingenuous to me.
The sequels failed on many levels, but I enjoy the odd dumb, schlock sci-fi movie and the sequels had that aspect in boatloads. They were just so over the top and increasingly ridiculous that I couldn't help but enjoy them.
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9:18AM on 03/27/2013
The twins were cheesy as hell. Why did they transform into goofy looking ghost monsters? They looked like something that would be in a kids scary movie.
The twins were cheesy as hell. Why did they transform into goofy looking ghost monsters? They looked like something that would be in a kids scary movie.
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9:05AM on 03/27/2013
Bloated gobs of gobbledeegoop w some cool action sequences sprinkled throughout. Original is phenomenal & a stand-alone in my world....
Bloated gobs of gobbledeegoop w some cool action sequences sprinkled throughout. Original is phenomenal & a stand-alone in my world....
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7:57AM on 03/27/2013

Love reading this.

I loved the first movie. It set the bar high for a good science fiction flick.
While I enjoyed Reloaded I thought it wasn't more than an eye candy and by the time I watched Revolution I felt underwhelmed. After multiple viewings I started to enjoy a little bit more.
Make another trilogy, bring back The Merovingian (maybe as the main villain) and Monica Belluci's twins.
I loved the first movie. It set the bar high for a good science fiction flick.
While I enjoyed Reloaded I thought it wasn't more than an eye candy and by the time I watched Revolution I felt underwhelmed. After multiple viewings I started to enjoy a little bit more.
Make another trilogy, bring back The Merovingian (maybe as the main villain) and Monica Belluci's twins.
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6:45AM on 03/27/2013
I do really love the sequels for certain aspects but I still absolutely hated the ending for REVOLUTIONS. So anti-climatic and barely anything was actually accomplished. Sure Neo destroyed Smith but the Matrix was still operational, humanity was still enslaved and the war was on "hiatus". This could have been the LOTR for science fiction but they just didn't go that extra mile. I almost wish they'd do another trilogy.
I do really love the sequels for certain aspects but I still absolutely hated the ending for REVOLUTIONS. So anti-climatic and barely anything was actually accomplished. Sure Neo destroyed Smith but the Matrix was still operational, humanity was still enslaved and the war was on "hiatus". This could have been the LOTR for science fiction but they just didn't go that extra mile. I almost wish they'd do another trilogy.
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1:43AM on 03/27/2013
My own experience with the first 'Matrix' was similar. I didn't really connect with it the first time. The violence turned me off (this was around the time of Columbine mind you) I thought it was overlong, and bleak to the point of boredom. But a couple more viewings and I was completely hooked on its status as a brilliant movie, arguably my favorite movie during my high school years.

'Reloaded' is fine. It builds on the mythology in smart ways, the visuals blew me away in theaters back
My own experience with the first 'Matrix' was similar. I didn't really connect with it the first time. The violence turned me off (this was around the time of Columbine mind you) I thought it was overlong, and bleak to the point of boredom. But a couple more viewings and I was completely hooked on its status as a brilliant movie, arguably my favorite movie during my high school years.

'Reloaded' is fine. It builds on the mythology in smart ways, the visuals blew me away in theaters back then and the car chase still holds up fantastically.

Revolutions just plain sucks. I've seen it a few times now. Sorry. Everything that made the first one cool and original and mysterious is thrown out in favor of awful dialog, hammy acting, cliches, and an utterly unsatisfying ending. Its got Monica Bellucci's cleavage and thats it.
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6:20AM on 03/27/2013
thanks for sparing me the time of writing exactly that. but also, REV felt very self-indulgent, going to far with the Christ figure theme of Neo and really, i have never been more bored with an action scene as i was with the invasion of Zion.
also, on Reloaded, if you slow down Bellicci's scenes when she's walking around, you can see right through that dress. mmm canoli
thanks for sparing me the time of writing exactly that. but also, REV felt very self-indulgent, going to far with the Christ figure theme of Neo and really, i have never been more bored with an action scene as i was with the invasion of Zion.
also, on Reloaded, if you slow down Bellicci's scenes when she's walking around, you can see right through that dress. mmm canoli
12:48AM on 03/27/2013
I love the Matrix Trilogy. Each one was great and felt like their own individual chapter. Now I can understand why people would criticize the two sequels, but I thought that Reloaded and Revolutions really expanded the story and the characters in so many fascinating ways. The first Matrix is easily the best with most franchises, but personally my favorite film out of the three was Revolutions considering we got to see Neo finally fulfill his destiny, him defeating Agent Smith, seeing Zion
I love the Matrix Trilogy. Each one was great and felt like their own individual chapter. Now I can understand why people would criticize the two sequels, but I thought that Reloaded and Revolutions really expanded the story and the characters in so many fascinating ways. The first Matrix is easily the best with most franchises, but personally my favorite film out of the three was Revolutions considering we got to see Neo finally fulfill his destiny, him defeating Agent Smith, seeing Zion battle the machines, and seeing Neo going to Machine City.

Both films were written very well and I thought were visually stunning. I was very satisfied with the way the trilogy ended and how and where each character ended up. And because of this the Matrix trilogy will always be one of my favorite trilogies of all time.
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12:46AM on 03/27/2013
I am so confused by this UnPopular. This seems to bash on Reloaded, which people already do. But I am a huge Matrix fan and am sad that it, as a franchise, has died off. This is the Star Wars of my time, as far as I am convinced, and the fact that people have ditched it is kind of disappointing. I am in your boat. While I was slightly let down by the sequels, I also enjoyed them quite a bit. I love the world that The Matrix sets up and just being in that world, witnessing the bending of the
I am so confused by this UnPopular. This seems to bash on Reloaded, which people already do. But I am a huge Matrix fan and am sad that it, as a franchise, has died off. This is the Star Wars of my time, as far as I am convinced, and the fact that people have ditched it is kind of disappointing. I am in your boat. While I was slightly let down by the sequels, I also enjoyed them quite a bit. I love the world that The Matrix sets up and just being in that world, witnessing the bending of the rules is great for me. I was so in love with this series I went out and bought video games (EtM and Matrix Online), bought McFarlane's action figures, and got The Animatrix. I still love this series, so much so that I bought the Blu-ray like ten years later. I was always curious why this never got picked up again for anything. It was such a massive hit when it came out, then it just died down. Still one of my favorite franchises ever (if not my favorite of all time) and I would love to see someone do something with it at some point in the future.
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