Movie Review
The Matrix Revolutions
The Matrix Revolutions poster
By Stephen Lucas     Published November 12, 2003
US Release: November 5, 2003

Directed by: Andy Wachowski Larry Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves , Laurence Fishburne , Carrie-Anne Moss , Hugo Weaving

Running Time: 129 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $139,260,000
What could have been a powerhouse collection of sci-fi action movies is instead a series of films that get progressively worse and more unfocused.
Neo?s fist penetrates single droplets of rain beautifully crisp slow motion, hitting his nemesis, Mr. Smith, before the scene warps back into reality. This brief eye-catching moment is caught in the thrust of a vivid fight sequence near the end of ?The Matrix Revolutions,? denouement of the commercially successful Matrix trilogy; it may very well be the most innovative and exciting part of the entire film ? which isn?t a good thing.

I had expected ?Revolutions? to be the most epic of all three films, and I hoped that it would at least shed light on questions that have arisen about the Matrix (what it is, why it was created, who Neo is, and how things will change because of this all). The film instead arouses even more confusion and silly complexity as it treads thick, decadent waters. Like the previous installment, ?The Matrix Reloaded,? this final film further depresses the idea of what should have been an enthralling series of films. ?Revolutions? is an unflattering colloid of philosophical and religious themes executed with limp regard to acting, direction, and story.

What I always admired about the first Matrix film was that it acted as a jolt of thunder to science fiction, thus making it one of the most influential films of the past decade. The mere thought of what the Matrix actually is ? an alternative universe seen only by the common world as incoherent code was ? was, to me and millions of others, fascinating.

?The Matrix? grabbed my attention with its plot and then enthralled me with superlative special effects; it remains one of my favorite action films and sits snugly in my DVD collection. The following films both make a fatal mistake of choosing to emphasize action and spectacle as opposed to thought-provoking adventure as in the case of the first, superior film.

?The Matrix Reloaded? was filmed simultaneously with ?The Matrix Revolutions,? and had been released earlier this year in May to financial success despite both mixed reviews and (uneven) word-of-mouth. Because of these films? unique production, they seem to be nearly identical, both overstuffed and underwhelming.

What ?Reloaded? essentially lacks is the spirit and vigor of its predecessor. With four years since the theatrical release of ?The Matrix,? the film relied on the audience?s perception of coolness to make up for gaping plot holes and the overall preposterousness. The same laziness infects ?Revolutions,? and that fact becomes even more the apparent with further viewing.

?Revolutions? seems to lose sight of whom its main character Neo (Keanu Reeves) is, as his romance with Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) is force-fed to us in shallow spurts; it goes without saying that the scenes intended to be heartfelt between the two are passionless. Reeves? acting is little more entertaining than a cardboard cutout more often than not, and the stiffness of his character in ?Revolutions? yields the worst of Reeves? performances in the three Matrix films with painfully delivered lines; his limpness even tops that of his performance in ?Reloaded.?

The creators of the Matrix films seemed to have taken it upon themselves to take as many liberties as they desired with a fantastic premise. The intrigue of the two different worlds (human and computer) is interesting throughout the trilogy, but varying degrees of quality elsewhere in their stories has been the damning factor.

?Revolutions? is a more frustrating piece of work than ?Reloaded?; it retains the trash quality while digging an even deeper grave for itself. I had expected a fuller movie walking in, one with the interesting theories of the first film to tie it all together to some extent; sadly, ?Revolutions? is the most hollow of the bunch.

The film starts out more promisingly than the last, recapturing the cool, slightly suspenseful thread running throughout the first film but abruptly finds itself in the dark, as the dull writing and acting takes over. By watching ?Revolutions,? I?m convinced that most of this cast (including Laurence Fishburne and Jada Pinkett Smith) is leading the insufferable parade, marching their way through mechanical dialogue and action sequences.

I hoped that this final chapter would be better than ?Reloaded? and possibly return to the original?s philosophical highs, yet I was again letdown once more. It?s nearly depressing to think about such an opportunity beat with overly glorified imagery and shallowness.

Also, something which I found predictable was the fact that this conclusion relies more on religious metaphors than alternative routes to get across its point. Neo is stuck in a train station at the beginning of the film; he waits there, between the ?real? world and the Matrix. (Okay, let?s translate: the real world is representative of ?Heaven?; the Matrix: ?hell?; and the train station: ?purgatory.? Oh, how profound!) The obviousness of its convictions is perhaps better than if we couldn?t notice any theme at all (as in the case of ?Reloaded?), but the saturation of metaphoric language is altogether irritating.

I don?t want to describe all of what happens in ?The Matrix Revolutions,? as those who have not yet seen the movie may not want anything spoiled. I personally never want much spoiled when I read reviews prior to seeing a movie, and I realize that you especially don?t want to mess with something like the Matrix movies ? they?re exceptionally popular and important to fans.

But the thing is, after seeing the last two parts of this trilogy, what is the big deal? The first film is something of a modern classic by itself, but ?Reloaded? and ?Revolutions? ultimately look like loose, unnecessary continuations, in retrospect. What could have been a powerhouse collection of sci-fi action movies is instead a series of films that get progressively worse and more unfocused.

?The Matrix Revolutions? entails nearly no surprises or thrills, as we get a nice big dose of sugary CGI and spotted, scattered direction by the Wachowski Brothers. The aimlessness of the production (which so obviously is intent on just ending the trilogy) puts an overbearing strain on any slight, impressive scenes. The rain-drenched showdown between Neo and Mr. Smith is perhaps my favorite part of the entire film, even if it is rather silly in patches. Other elements such as the Oracle and a little girl who innocently inquires several of the characters also help lessen the disdain the audience has to endure seeing ?Revolutions.?

For the most part, what stands out in my mind are the technically proficient yet completely overblown war sequences, the cast (collectively) stale in delivery, tremendous plot holes, laughable writing, and the absolutely abhorring destruction of the premise the original Matrix film had established. ?The Matrix Reloaded? was the first row of nails in the coffin and ?The Matrix Revolutions? sufficiently finishes the job.

If only this film were part of some complex, alternative universe that I got myself hooked into for two hours, maybe then I could escape from the shameful memory of ?The Matrix Revolutions?; maybe ?then? there could be peace.
Stephen's Grade: C-
Stephen's Overall Grading: 23 graded movies
Share, Bookmark
'The Matrix Revolutions' Articles
  • Friday Box Office Analysis (11/7)
    November 8, 2003    Revolutions is headed for a weekend tally that will likely widen the eyes of many box office fans?and not for the better. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Craig's review A-
    November 6, 2003    It doesn't get any better than this. -- Craig Younkin