Things That Bothered Me About The Matrix [11/13/03]

I loved the films, but I feel the last two (and the game) had so much more potential than what we saw. The first one is a classic, but the other two? Why did so many people love The Matrix, and so many of them have beef with the sequels? Now, I've spent a lot of time researching the names and philosophies and religious references, and I'm pretty educated to begin with…so I'm actually pretty set in those areas. I have my own theory about what it all means, and I'm pretty sure I'm "right". The problems I had with the sequels are largely the way they were structured, the way they were implemented as movies or stories. These are the same problems I'd have with any movie sequel. So here you go:

Things That Bothered Me About The Matrix

1. Increasing use of supporting characters, most of whom we don't build much attachment to, and many of whom act very poorly.

2. The first movie builds suspense at the beginning, the sequels just start slow; too much exposition right away when there's already a first movie out there and a lot is unresolved.

3. Neo continues to expand his understanding of the matrix and the rules he can break but slows way down in Reloaded and stops in Revolutions. Why does he have to block? He could control his mass or density. Why continue flying? He could teleport. Why not manipulate energy or force in an offensive way? He already uses telekinesis to stop bullets. Why can't he manipulate code? He did it in the first movie with Smith, then again with Trinity…he should be using this as a potent weapon.

4. For that matter, why does the bottom line solution to every problem have to be use of force? Can't the machines use chemical or biological warfare instead of invading? If not, why isn't this addressed?

5. Regarding fights…where were they in the third film!? Other than a brief altercation at the Merovingian's, we get lots of action but next to no martial arts! This is a staple of the series, and it's unacceptable for it to just disappear.

6. Regarding the Merovingian…we are told in Reloaded that he has all sorts of rogue programs at his disposal: vampires, werewolves, ghosts, presumably aliens, the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, etc. In Reloaded we are treated to seeing the difficulty of fighting some of these monsters, but it's just a tease. Why oh why don't we see more!? Particularly since the Brothers went out of their way to get everyone back to the Merovingian's in Revolutions! There is such potential here, and instead we got gun-wielding sadomasochists.

7. What the hell was the point of having Neo fall into a coma other than to have a cliffhanger ending for Reloaded? They don't explain why him using his connection against the machines would do that, they don't explain how it would benefit the Merovingian to keep Neo inaccessible, or what his connection really is to Neo and his predecessors…the whole thing felt unnecessary and contrived.

8. Smith. How exactly did he take over the physical environment of the matrix? How does him controlling the matrix interfere with the machines energy source? How exactly is the Oracle his mother?

9. Seraph. What's his origin? How does he fit in? He's a fallen angel, but how and why?

10. Why is Neo not shown actively freeing minds? This is what he promised to do at the end of the first film, yet we don't see it. As a matter of fact, other than what we see in that film, there are no real traces of Neo acting as a savior until the end of things. He has disciples, but what does he teach them? Has he expanded Morpheus or Trinity's perceptions? They are shown having the same abilities as before. Neo should be in the matrix, performing miracles, waking people up, making them believe. Instead he's in the real world most of the time, where he's (relatively) powerless. The sequels feel like a complete misfire in that respect.

11. Why are Reloaded and Revolutions constructed so oppositely one another? In Reloaded, so much time is spent in the matrix, they even hold conferences in the matrix. And it's ¾ action. Revolutions spends most of it's time in the real world, and has the 2 apocalyptic battles, but not much else. So much of it is drama, or melodrama actually.

12. What is the point of Neo being blinded, other than as a plot device so that we focus on him seeing things differently (pretty special effects shots for the masses)?

13. Morpheus and Niobe. For spending so much time on this relationship, we get a very noncommittal, unsatisfying resolution.

14. The Kid has such a strong drive he can wake himself up. Why is he not back in The Matrix where he'd be most effective? His age? Bulls**t. They state in the first film that as a mind spends more time in the matrix, it's harder to wake up. They should have lots of enlightened kids who would be extremely useful, a la the possible messiahs in the first film. This is never touched upon.

15. In the first movie, whenever the plot branches out and you see a choice coming for the writers, they always make the odd choice, and make it work. But we get away from that by Revolutions. In that movie, the choices are all pretty predictable, and the movie suffers for it. (With the refreshing exception of Trinity not backing down from the Merovingian. Where did Morpheus' balls go when dealing with that guy?! He was such a badass in the first two movies that I let the first confrontation go, but he fades in to the background in Revolutions, and takes s**t from the Merovingian AGAIN! I guess that should be number 16.)

17. Smith. Again. You know, this really bugs me. The brothers keep saying they meant the whole thing to be a trilogy, and that they had it planned out from the beginning, but I have a really hard time believing they planned to kill Smith and bring him back like this. The whole flip side of Neo thing is a great idea, but it suffers from having it be Smith. Yes, he's a great villain, and I can understand writing him back into the sequels, but he worked so well in the first film as a product of the system. In the sequels, he takes on this new dimension, and logically it works, but it just doesn't feel right, it feels forced.

18. What purpose did Trinity's death serve? Is it symbolic? Right now it feels like a plot device to sever Neo's attachments so that he could sacrifice himself. Also, if she went into the city, would the machines kill her or leave her be? (She doesn't have any real special status with them, unlike Neo.) It seems like it was designed to surprise the audience and make a dramatic scene and add a note of finality to the series. (Perhaps as Neo and Trin die, Morpheus and Niobe start a new cycle?)

And still counting…

Let me know what you think! Write in to me or the site with your comments, agree or disagree. Just please be civil.

- - Jeff Light

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