Review – The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

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the-matrix-reloaded-58aced85d9176Welcome to Simulated Reality Week: Day 2. We are continuing with the most noticeable trilogy covering simulated reality, with The Matrix Reloaded.  When it comes to the franchise as a whole, the first film is always seen as a masterpiece and the sequels are basically garbage. When it comes to me, though, my entertainment level is really high up there with both the first and second film. I even consider this one to ultimately be the most memorable than any of the others. There are so many speeches I know from heart in this movie and so many fights that I have memorized as a fight choreographer. It may not match the first from a discussion standpoint, but I really love this movie as well.

The story of the second film is a simple one. The first film was about becoming “The One”, and the second film is all about what to do once that happened. In this particular case, Neo has to return to the source in order to save Zion from falling.  However, saving Zion isn’t really the issue here. Being “The One” isn’t really the issue, either. Ever since the beginning of the film, it’s the choice that’s the problem. While we have free will and have the ability to do anything, we must always remember the consequences of our actions, as well.

First thing’s first, you will immediately feel as if The Matrix Reloaded is more of a martial arts film than the original, and it is. In the first film, they knew martial arts, which was always amazing to see, but they almost always used it as a last resort, preferring bullets and other weapons before getting to that point, but I understand what they were going for here. Neo doesn’t need bullets, nor is he afraid of them, being able to stop them, and given how the agents are upgraded versions of themselves, he still needs to defeat them somehow. It’s both understandable from a computerized standpoint and clearly done just to have more fighting…but I’m not really complaining…the fights are amazing.

Even though the tone of the film is slightly different from the first film, there is still quite a bit of discussion points here, both from a theological standpoint, as well as a moral standpoint, which is part of what made the first movie so influential, to begin with. Personally, I think the issue with this film is that it was ultimately unnecessary. After Neo became The One, you figured he already fulfilled the prophecy. Once he’s there, you basically just expect everything to be good now, but I guess there’s more to the puzzle.

Okay, let’s break it down.

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PEOPLE SCORE – 10/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 2|Casting – 2|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 2

As usual, our first category is “people”, which once again gets a perfect score – basically for the same reason as the first (and more). There’s a ton of people in this movie, and nearly all of the newer characters are just as memorable as our original trio of characters. Characters like the Merovingian, the Twins, Niobe, Link, Lock, The Keymaker, Seraph, the Architect, even Bane and Persephone…they’re all very memorable, and they are all pretty fantastic actors all around. I can’t say I’d replace any of the actors, either, as they all seem to fit their characters so incredibly well, and everyone (believe it or not) plays an important part in adding to the plot. Finally, they all have exquisite chemistry with either other. This score deserves its perfect score.

WRITING SCORE – 8/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 1|Story – 1|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2

Next up, we have writing, which didn’t get a perfect score, but it was still pretty decent. The main points I’d like to mention comes down to how imbalanced it is, and how weak the story is overall. To tell the truth, the movie is convoluted. I wouldn’t necessarily consider it over-convoluted, but it’s getting there. There is a lot of locations and a lot of people here, and a typical audience member may forget why Neo is here or there, but there is a reason, as long as you listen to what the Oracle tells Neo near the beginning. The story is just continuing the story from the original film, which was ultimately more interesting than this one. This time, he just has to go somewhere, not basically become a new person. Everything else was good though. I consider this a seriously memorable film, beginning with the dialogue. While watching this film for the umpteenth time, I found myself lip-syncing the things that basically everyone was saying.  I do consider this a very original and interesting film, as well.

BTS SCORE – 10/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 2|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 2|Music – 2

Behind-the-scenes still got a perfect score from me. As far as visuals go, this movie is just a blast and a half to watch. The fight sequences are beautiful, the actual CGI was slightly better than the original, everything worked for me here. The directing was mostly great because of the fight sequences, not because of the storytelling, and the same goes for editing. You need really good directing and editing to film a good fight scene. This is as-advertised and the music, again, is amazing. You always know a Matrix soundtrack when you hear it.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 6/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 1|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 1|Falling Action – 0

Alright, so the narrative arc category didn’t exactly get a perfect score…why? Well, it feels like an incomplete film. The introduction is fine, as we are re-introduced to absolutely everything and have a good idea about what’s going on in the real world as well as the Matrix. The inciting incident is most definitely when Neo meets up with the Oracle to figure out his next steps, but there’s not an overwhelming “no going back” moment unless you count the burly brawl. The obstacles really do just come down to fights. As far as the climax is considered, there’s a lot of fights, and they all are fantastic, and nothing really stood out for me as a culmination of everything else, unless you count the real world scene at the very end, which was cool, but not as cool as other scenes in the movie. Finally, it ultimately just ends right there, with an obvious cliffhanger, which I don’t consider a falling action.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 10/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 2|Impulse/Talk – 2|Sucks Audience In – 2

Next up, we have the entertainment category, which gets another perfect score from me. I’ve rewatched it plenty of times, so of course, it’s rewatchable. I get so sucked into this movie that I physically start acting out some of the fight sequences while they play out on screen, so yeah. I had a blast watching it, I would buy it in an instant, and yes, after watching it, I wanted to talk to people about this movie.

TOTAL SPECIAL – 50/50
Sequel – 10|Adds New – 10|Martial Arts – 10|Keanu – 10|Memory – 10

Finally, the specialty questions that I wrote before seeing the film. First and foremost, this is a sequel, so how does it fit within the Matrix universe? In my personal opinion, it fits very well. It’s a little bit different, but you still feel as if these are the characters that you know and love. Does it add anything new? As I mentioned before, a bunch of characters, a bunch of settings, and probably most importantly, Bane…which we’ll see more of in part three. How were the martial arts? Please. This is one of my favorite martial arts films in general, if not my very favorite. How was this as a Keanu Reeves film? Well, I think it’s great. I’ve never really seen Keanu in this type of insanity before, and I loved every second of it. Finally, does it hold up to memory? Yes, yes, and yes.

TOTAL – 94/100

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