I initially felt this would be something that would take a month, but now I realize that it may be good to spread it out. After all, trilogies are spread out over a larger amount of time, therefore it is prudent to take that same amount of time.
Trilogies, particularly the third film in any trilogy, is usually given an enormous amount of backlash and many “third parts” are considered to be the worst in the franchise’s history. But is this the fault of the trilogy as a whole or the fault of the film itself? To put it another way, are the third parts that are famously “worse” necessarily bad movies themselves or just the result of inflated expectations?
So, at the beginning of my examine of the trilogy, let us look at The Matrix Revolutions, a coming of age tale about a boy distancing himself from his family and falling in love with a girl who is experimenting with her sexuality…wait, no. Wrong movie. It’s actually about Armageddon and the attempts to thwart it. There is also some sort of half baked philosophy in there (particularly Marxism taken to the only logical conclusion) and surprisingly few explosions, but a lot of deaths.
And you know what? At the risk of alienating a lot of people, I like The Matrix Revolutions for one simple reason; it is not pretentious. The first two films in the franchise are better; they are more well choreographed and manage to challenge audiences more. But both are essentially the same as this one – action films that borrowed heavily from their Eastern counterparts.
But the first two also tricked people into thinking they were far smarter than they really were. The Matrix tried to included a healthy amount of philosophy into the mix. But rather than coming off as knowledgeable, like a philosophy professor, it came off more as a philosophy student after an unhealthy intake of Red Bull.
The Matrix Revolutions had none of that. It is an action movie and does not pretend to be anything more. So, taken as an action film, it is quite good. It features many of the sort of “wire fu” movies that people have come to expect from this franchise. Oh sure, there is a lot of filler and psuedophilosophy (particularly whenever The Oracle is on screen) but when a large chunk of the second act is taking place in a city about to be destroyed by killer robots….well, we have arrived where we always needed to be.
The main problem with this film is that it is far too tied down to The Matrix Reloaded. They were filmed back to back, thus one inevitably had a gigantic impact on the other. In this case, the first act feels hopelessly tied down to Reloaded, tying up loose ends that have no overall bearing on the story, getting rid of characters that were pretty much done with in the second part, and the like. Who cares that the Merovingian showed up again? There were slightly more pressing matters going on. The entire first act pretty much needed a rewrite to help with the cohesion to the rest of the film. But then again, in some cases that is a good thing, as it allows us to segue properly into the action movie the rest of the film will be.
If the franchise overall has any flaws, it is simply that it tries to do too much, doing things that have been done elsewhere. Maybe not quite as well, but still, many fans of the franchise claim that the Matrix was highly original when it was not. If we wanted to see Fritz Lang and John Woo collaborating on a movie after thumbing through a Descartes anthology…well, that’s why Dark City already exists, isn’t it? If you simply want more of a focus on John Woo, than The Matrix trilogy has you covered. Any flaws The Matrix Revolutions has is present throughout all three. So, why is the third film as critically lambasted as it is? I have absolutely no idea. Maybe the fact of the matter is that people got tired of the story as a whole, and this just became the target.