Expectations are a hard thing to meet. I suspected ‘The Matrix’ might have had some problems in wrapping up one of the most ambitious and complex through-lines to be seen in film so far, at the time of watching ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ I had complete faith that the bold ideas outlined within that movie would be resolved accordingly here, or that at least it was too hard to judge Part 2 of a trilogy without seeing the final part. Either way, I have to say I’m somewhat disappointed at the overall result.
‘The Matrix Revolutions’ delivers on it’s action quite successfully – perhaps even better than it’s predecessors… the robot invasion of Zion would have to be the most full-on and audacious action set piece to be seen in the entire series. Unfortunately, this is where my praise for the film would probably end. The thing about the previous two films is that they built up some really great ideas, the second film increasing the lateral expansion of the series’ fictional universe exponentially… this is where I feel ‘Revolutions’ goes wrong. There are no revelations to be seen here. The big questions and twists posed at the end of ‘Reloaded’ are resolved somewhat pathetically and limply – there are no more big surprises, not even where they had been hinted at previously. Kudos to the Wachowski brothers for the directions they take their protagonists (although, admittedly, Morpheus seems somewhat useless here), but is it just me or did the ending seem a little too sudden and underdeveloped? And did anyone else other than me not really give a shit about all the secondary human characters in Zion?
Trilogies are a tricky thing. The ending has to really be something special in order to justify three films-worth of hoopla that comes before it. It’s obvious to see what the filmmakers were trying to say with the ending here, and it follows somewhat logically and obviously from the messiah parallels first drawn upon in the first film, but has anything really changed? It wasn’t nearly anywhere as resolved as I would have liked to have seen. There are various pointers to a rich undercurrent of philosophical and apocryphal ideas powering the film underneath, perhaps most patently in terms of Neo’s gradual distancing from the real world, but for it to remain mostly implied in what should be the last word on the series is almost a sin.
As I said before, none of the other human characters really did much for me. The broad strokes used for characterisation (perhaps, to be fair, just as they had been used for all three films) lend themselves better to a comic-book universe than actors in a film. Hugo Weaving dominates the screen in all his scenes (literally), and it was good to see Bruce Spence (though a little underused), but the five minute appearances of all the other major AIs introduced in ‘Reloaded’ seemed a little too much of a directorial tick-list.
Anyway, I think I’ve said enough. ‘Revolutions’ is by no means a bad film, and the entire trilogy is still worth watching – for it’s action, envelope-pushing special effects, and vast tapestry of theoretical implications – at the very least. It’s just a shame for the series to have ended so obviously when the other two films promised so much. I really, really don’t know what happened. It sucks because ‘The Matrix trilogy’ isn’t anywhere near as revered as most other trilogies and I think it’s almost entirely the fault of the way it ended.