I thought "The Matrix" was great and very innovative in its own right. The basic element from the original "Matrix" film is present in this; there's your pretty dazzling opener with Trinity doing what she does best and we enter into the great story that serves a heaping help full for any "Matrix" fan to feast on. The Wachowski brothers manage to surprise and amaze with some stunning machine special effects and great scenes that truly dazzle the mind. The opening where we're introduced to Zion is truly magnificent as we're first shown the exterior's of the almost too lifelike Zion guard robots then shown the entire city. Zion is a basic hybrid of modern machinery and old age homes that live among each other in a community.
The entire cast is back for business and all of their characters are further developed. Keanu Reeves is back as the popular hero Neo, and he seems more comfortable in his character's skin this time, because Reeves is truly amazing in this movie. When he has to be emotional he pulls out all the stops, and when he has to fight, he handles it well without fault. It becomes easy to distinguish why fans have taken such a fancy for him. Carrie Ann Moss reclaims her role as the black leathered heroine Trinity become a lot cooler, though having less to do in the film.
The best character in the film Morpheus is back as well and serves as more a disciplinarian role in the film serving as the captain of the Nebekenezzar and as the potential commander for the army of Zion to revolt against the robotic sentinels who are rapidly penetrating the machine city. Morpheus has a truly incredible fighting sequence in the exciting car chasing scene, a scene that continues to further the dimensions within his personality and depth. Hugo Weaving (Lord of the Rings series) manages to steal the show in this film as the despicable but all too cool Agent Smith who returns once more, more powerful than ever. He is no longer apart of the Agent program system but serves as an unbreakable lone program who can multiply in vast numbers and turn others into a clone of himself. Weaving immerses himself in this role as Agent Smith and becomes a truly intimidating adversary to fear and an incredible memorable villain of the Matrix series.
He a truly welcome addition to the great heroes and Harold Perrineau pulls his character off well. There's also Niobe, an opposition group leader who has a past with Morpheus and begins to help with the revolt against the invasion against the robotic sentinels. Though as small as her role is, she's a character with much potential. There are also the additions of some new villains including the shady femme fatale Persephone played by the gorgeous and seductive Monica Bellucci, along with the incredible villains Twin # 1 and Twin # 2 who have the incredible ability to phase into transparent beings which enable them do dodge bullets and knives. There's even a memorable fight sequence in which Morpheus fights them off in a parking lot attempting to slice them while they faze in and out during battle.
The film itself takes a stab at philosophy including numerous references to Buddhism, mysticism, philosophy, and existentialism. There are many instances within the story that beg for answers and debate. The architect insists that the choices we, as humans make are still in fact products of Matrix regardless of whether we're connected into the system or not but Neo disputes the fact. However the architect can predict a series of outcomes and reactions Neo will make and can guess his emotions because it is in fact a part of the Matrix' mechanism. This is based on the philosophy on whether humans as a whole ever make decisions or have the freedom to make decisions.
It's safe to assume that we do make our own decisions but most of our choices are based upon brain impulse, cause and effect, emotion, and the concept of fate so do we ever have a choice? That's something the Wachowski brothers present during the concept of the film, and the spectrum of this philosophy will only get bigger. The film within itself also serve a series of paradox' that scream irony. The environment is bombarded with advanced technology, yet at the mansion these people rely on barbaric tools at their disposal for fighting including swords, axes, and sais. Also while on the freeway, they leap into a high speed car chase and the only way to reach the advanced creator of the Matrix is by a primitive tool: a key.
By the closing scenes of the film, it leaves you breathless with countless questions that will leave you guessing until the last of the trilogy. Will the team ever discover the traitor within their ranks? Can the Oracle be trusted? Is she an enemy or ally? Is the prophecy true or bogus? Is Neo human or just another program? Is he the chosen? Is the concept of the chosen bogus as well? Is Neo in fact savior of Zion or just an advanced upgraded program exactly that of Agent Smith except with an opposite purpose? Was it my choice to ask this string of questions or was it fate? Who knows?
It's evident from the start of the film, that, unfortunately, The Matrix has become a commercial property that it's ruined before I even began watching it. After months of merchandising, commercials, billboards, trailer after trailer, the matrix has become too commercial somehow ruining the experience. The film has a brighter atmosphere apart from the first film which was bleak and instantly we begin to notice, there's nothing dazzling happening that I haven't seen before. What the Wachowski brothers fail to do is create anything truly original or any incredible sequence in this film that sets it apart from the original. In many ways, this film attempts to surpass its predecessor but fails on many aspects.
The character development is less intriguing and also less involving than the original. Trinity has a smaller role and is reduced to a love interest to Neo; she becomes a tool rather than a character. She also becomes sympathetic and more emotional aside from the dominatrix-esque slick character we saw in the original film. Neo is developed to a very small degree in this film. By the end, we still don't know a whole lot about him aside from the fact that he can tell the future, and is one damn good fighter, though there is a startling character development at the very end, but it all tends to feel rushed. The entire cast is back including the best character Morpheus but his character development is so broad for this type of film.
He has a grudge against another commander because they were both once in love with Niobe played by Jada Pinkett Smith, and he seems to still carry a spark for her, but we never truly get an idea about Niobe's character because Pinkett Smith has what should be considered a walk on role. Unfortunately it's all bogged down by the likes of a long drawn out long-winded self-indulgent pretentious script that is so hard to follow, it's staggering. There's not one moment where a character doesn't speak a sentence of four words. It's all drawn out long poetic sentences and monologues that muddled down by philosophical mojo that is hardly interesting. I was so bored in the opener of the film that I was hoping something good would happen. Lambert Wilson is the hilarious but creepy French talking Merongivian who provides opposition against the rebels of Zion by hiding the key maker who holds the key to the secret location of The Architect of The Matrix.
The film serves up what it promises: an action packed and fun filled science fiction romp. But it also does much more: provokes thought, sparks debate, and serves some exciting and memorable action sequences to talk about for days. I enjoyed this follow-up more than I should have.