This review may contain spoilers.
The buzz around this was humungous at the time. There was the Animatrix anthology that provided some clues — a separate rewatch pending. Also, I recall fan theories online were going nuts.
Unlike Reloaded… on a rewatch of this, after a long long time, there’s a lot going wrong with this sequel. Hanging over this was the question… Would they be able to close all these threads in the second part elegantly? The answer is not that simple.
Logically, yes. They closed most threads and gave the story closure.
Was it an emotionally satisfying one? No.
Let’s get what they did right out of the way first:
– The bigger action remains ground-breaking and impressive for its time.
– A lot of theory, around software design & malware works on paper.
– The imminent threat to Zion was intensely nail-biting, even this time.
What went wrong?
The largest fan theory, which they even seemed to allude to but didn’t deliver on was a big reveal not being that Zion and the “real world” that they were all trying to save too was all but a matrix within a matrix. You might say that this lost opportunity eventually became Inception (arguably Nolan’s best blockbuster outside of Gotham).
They had explained ports and port forwarding in Reloaded with the Keymaker, but rather than exploring that further, they gave us new tangential information like the train station. Let’s call it “Recycle Bin”. Neo gets trashed and Trinity and Morpheus who are doing a search can’t seem to find him.
Confused, they go to the Oracle (Admin) who advises they should check the recycle bin, but it’s being held hostage by Microsoft’s infamous paperclip. — The Frenchman!
So they now have a reason to return to the Frenchman, but he has no cool sidekicks to carry off his supposedly powerful persona. The twins blew up already and I guess LinkedIn wasn’t invented yet.
Woohoo, they got him back. Now what?
Right, Zion. Yep, the clock is ticking. Jar Jar Binks: You say we gonna die!?! This whole chapter is just a repeat of what we’ve seen in Reloaded. Nothing new here at all., until the attack begins. This is a superb battle of epic proportion. It seems unwindable, but their efforts really do get you invested.
Meanwhile, Neo and Trinity go off on a suicide mission.
What’s the plan? No idea. Neo has a hunch. RED FLAG.
Hero has a wishy-washy goal which might save all of those that are fighting to their imminent death. Sure, as we know he succeeds because Agent Smith has become a “Divide by Zero” error, a pain in the ass for even The Matrix itself. If only in this advanced technological future had used a catch statement to empty the stack.
I digress, so what Smith didn’t realise was that a part of the data on each floppy disk (human in the matrix) he writes a copy of himself on remains in some form of 0’s and 1’s underneath. That stupidity is what the fate of the world hinged on?. BIG RED FLAG.
Anyhoo, Neo makes a deal with the matrix personified, saying I am a virus killing virus, send me in and I’ll clean up, after which you can do with me what you want, on the condition that the war ends, basically becoming a Jesus figure.
Meanwhile, in Zion, we just saw a bunch of brave folk practically get obliterated to save Zion and “Lose”. Then we see them “pray for a miracle” and the machines just stop attacking. It takes away from ALL the heroics we saw. In the end you just got to have faith? Isn’t this forcing religion on all of humanity that don’t believe in fate?
It’s okay that Neo has an arc of beginning to believe, but even then, the whole philosophical debate was that “your choices matter”, but you are mirroring that with literally the rest of the population of the world you are saving left with no choice.
RED FLAG FINALE. It made me not disappointed, but angry, again, 18 years on.
Overall, did I enjoy it?
In parts, I’ll admit it has moments.
Overall, not at all.