The Matrix Reloaded (2003) Directors: The Wachowskis
As a sequel to the brilliant original (The Matrix), The Matrix Reloaded is an entertaining ride if you can simply shut your brain off to the convoluted, jumbled, overblown CGI-infused and mostly confusing, indecipherable plot which relies on the appearance of profundity and depth, but in fact is really just another vapid but occasionally fun action movie. The gratifying moments in the movie include Keanu Reeves as Neo, now essentially an invincible superhero when wired into the matrix, as he confidently battles his enemies wherever he goes. However, there are also some ridiculously cartoonish CGI fight sequences (notably a scene in which Neo suddenly fights a dog pile of Agent Smiths). Writ large, The Matrix Reloaded was widely regarded as a massive disappointment upon its release, and that reputation has held up to this day. It is a mostly cheap cash grab sequel that clings tightly to the coat tails of its vastly superior original.
The Matrix Reloaded concerns the last remaining humans living in Zion and their war against the machines in the real world (or what is left of it). When inside the Matrix, Neo fights his way out of the clutches of the “agents” in order to discover the architect of the matrix where Neo tragically learns that “the one” is merely another pre-planned, pre-determined aspect of the matrix rather than the fulfillment of the long-foretold liberation prophecy (of course, there are now multiple matrixes that have existed in alternate dimensions). There are also various ghost programs roaming throughout the matrix, now a key-maker, and Agent Smith can merge his program with any other, especially with the oracle of the matrix, allowing himself more or less total control. The film ends with Neo gaining otherworldly powers outside the matrix as well, before promptly collapsing into a coma.
The Matrix Reloaded is weighed down by vague philosophical determinist diatribes though admittedly it contains some interesting ties to post-structuralist theory, and unfortunately the contrived and recycled Christian allegory is preserved in this as well as the third installment of The Matrix in which (you guessed it) Neo embodies the christ figure. Outside a few fun action sequences, The Matrix Reloaded is a terrible movie, it was clearly desperately thrown together to craft a trilogy a la Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings series which was also released at the same time, but The Matrix Reloaded appeals to some of the lazier instincts within our broader culture. Outside of a few fun action sequences, don’t waste your time with this one.