The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Directed by The Wachowskis
In a world of shitty sequels, “The Matrix Reloaded” says “not so fast.” With a budget nearly two and a half times more endowed than its predecessor’s four years prior, this action sequel decided that bigger would be better. It wasn’t far off.
Neo and the rest of the humans in Zion (the last remaining human city, located near the Earth’s core) discover they have just a few days before machines come to destroy the rest of their race. In order to stop them, Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity will have to return to the Matrix to find The Architect, the one who programmed the entire thing. At the same time, Neo will try to protect Trinity (his new steamy love interest, if you’ll remember) from the tragic fate he sees for her in a recurring dream.
Like most action sequels, the Wachowskis’ script is a little more careless and a little less concise than the first. At times, these inconsistencies lead to lengthy, dizzying fight scenes followed by stretches of boring, uninspired dialogue. But fortunately, the action wins out in the end. Neo now must fight dozens of foes at a time, in ways that progressively continue to astound us. Choreographed fight scenes are more and more impressive, and special effects (now significantly improved with four additional years of technology and nearly $100 million extra dollars to spend) become a great ally.
After four years, Neo becomes a much more solidified and perfected character. Now he consistently wears the trench coat and sunglasses we know him for, and Keanu Reeves looks more comfortable (happily cocky, almost) as The One. I like it. Fishburne again possesses his brilliant dramatic timing, and his lines come out with the same gravity as before. Carrie-Anne Moss shows some genuine emotion this time around. She, too, has made the character of Trinity her own. Sometimes the steamy love angle seems unnecessary, as it often is in action sequels. I assure you, this time it plays a very important role. Gloria Foster (who unfortunately passed away shortly after filming her scenes) reprises her popular minor role as The Oracle with the same thoughtful, lovable, and witty performance she gave in “The Matrix.” It seems the script got a little boost whenever she was talking.
This isn’t your average sequel. In some ways, “The Matrix Reloaded” is able to better the efforts of its lower-budget predecessor. But even when it can’t, it keeps you engaged the whole time.