The anticipation of this sequel put a lot of burden on the filmmakers. IMO, with the exception of The Lord of the Rings and T2, there aren’t many sequels you could say performed as well or outdid their predecessors. This film comes close.
The Matrix Reloaded is everything you would expect from a sequel, the explosions are bigger, the villains are badder and bullet time still looks pretty damn cool. The story still centers around Neo as “The One” who will save the human race from extinction. I was impressed with the underlying themes throughout the film as Morpheus spouts hope & prophecy to the faithful against a background of pragmatism from Zion’s military leader Locke. While only a few names are dropped we learn that Morpheus & crew are just one group of many plugging into the Matrix.
This isn’t a movie you can see just once because you’ll leave asking all sorts of questions. The plot has a few twists & turns and while some scenes left me asking “Uhm, why did he do that?” it also had my brain reeling from all the “What if?” scenarios this saga seems to generate.
The Good – Everybody was kung fu fighting. If you loved the fight scenes from the first film you won’t be disappointed with the sequel. The scenes are more elaborate and fortunately the cinematography doesn’t distract from the action. The love scene made me wonder if anybody thought about all the attachments you could connect to those body plugs. Agent Smith to the 10th power. Morpheus wielding a samurai sword, nuff said.
The Bad – Jada Pinkett’s character Niobe. Barely onscreen and not much of a plot mover. In fact, the supporting cast felt just like that, afterthoughts. The movie doesn’t end it gets cutoff. The cliff-hanger moment isn’t really a surprise, but when the credits started rolling I was like “What the hell?” The Twins as an appetizer instead of the main course.
Overall – It was hard to go into this film without any expectations. I was annoyed that the previews highlighted some of the best scenes (really can the marketing people STOP doing that?), but even so, I was thoroughly entertained. I look forward to the movie being released in IMAX theatres in the upcoming weeks. It’s definitely worth another look. Oh and if you can manage to sit through the credits (which took forever) then you’ll get to see a quick 60 second preview of The Matrix Revolutions.