Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two (aghrivaine) wrote,
Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two
aghrivaine

"Zion! The War is over!"

Matrix: Revolutions

There really weren't any "revolutions" at all. "Reloaded" seemed to promise some serious brain-twisting plot developments. Who knew who was on what side? What was the truth - was Zion in another Matrix? Was the Architect correct? What was the Oracle's real agenda? Why could Neo affect things in the real world? Why was Agent Smith spreading?

Well, none of these questions are answered in Revolutions. Don't go expecting any of the Great Questions of Western Philosophy being answered: the dilemma between Free Will and Predestination will not be resolved in any satisfactory way. Despite the Oracle and the Architect's admonition that only understanding one's motivations leads to power over choice - Neo never bothers to puzzle through any of the difficult philosophical and moral problems that confront him. If you're looking for a thought-provoking movie that you'll be talking about for months - like the original Matrix - this isn't it.

On the other hand, as an action-movie spectacle, it may well be unparalleled. There's less Kung Fu, and more gunplay in this one, but the overall action is so astonishing that my ass-cheeks clenched the seat-cushions right up into my booty. The actors all hit their marks in a way they haven't before - Morpheus' fabled cool finally starts to frazzle, Niobe has an excellent role drenched in bragadoccio, Link is still the very human connection between the action heroes and home -- but most of all, Trinity and Neo finally have a believable romance that doesn't seem false. In "Reloaded" their passion rang as flat as a Mummenschantz re-enactment of gettin' it on. This is probably because Keanu Reeves is not believably heterosexual. But anyway - in "Revolutions" their connection feels real, loving, and passionate. Carrie-Ann Moss mostly carries the burden, but Reeves does his part too. Their love for each other is very touching, and is one of the strengths of the movie.

There's all the kind of action you'd expect, and if your expectations are sky-high, fear not - it delivers. The Siege of Zion is the sci-fi equivalent of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Captain Mifune proves that there are no small parts, just small actors - I will never forget his continued bellows of inchoate rage as he piles dead Sentinals around his mecha. "The Kid" - a crossover character from the Animatrix is plucky, brave, and believably flawed. Niobe's mad flight of the Hammer down a mechanical tunnel is thrilling... really, every which way, the action is intense, non-stop, and very exciting.

Sadly, the final showdown between Smith and Neo is ... lacking. It's less a display of skill and finesse, and just a repeated thudding of two opponents who can't think of anything more sophisticated to do to each other than a bull-rush. If Smith and Neo were playing chess in the first two movies, in this movie, they've cleared the board off of the table and they're just arm-wrestling. It's not very dramatic, and it lacks the sense of dread and excitement that came in the first movie when Neo was clearly outclassed by the Agents, and finally figured out how to beat them --- but only by using all of his skills. Not so in this one - for all the Neo is allegedly smart, and Smith is supposed to be godlike and cunning... they just wail on each other without any particular style. It just doesn't make for an exciting fight.

So, in all - I was disappointed in the plot, which delivered a thoroughly doctrinaire Hollywood ending (except for one or two surprises that are arguably more lamentable than surprising). All the philosophical maundering of the first two movies is shushed aside by some hand-waving by the Oracle, and it really just comes down to Neo whupping Smith's ass. Good guys triumph, peace reigns, blah blah blah.

I still really liked it, but of all three movies, this is the least smart, and the most 'splodey.

On the Ring Scale (Where One Ring is the movie that rules them all...) I give it Two Rings: Definite must-see, and buy the DVD.

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