Two years ago, in the midst of the Keanussance, I took the red pill and didn’t look back when I watched The Matrix for the first time. It was an intense yet awesome first showing and it has since come to be one of my favorite films.
With The Matrix Resurrections coming out this December, I felt that it was time to dive even deeper down this rabbit hole and check out the second and third films of the franchise. While I’m well aware of the divisive perspective they generally have (which is why I haven’t gotten to watching them right away), I still wanted to take a chance and experience them for myself anyway.
For The Matrix Reloaded, I went into it much like how I did with its predecessor. I didn’t watch the trailer or look up the synopsis in advance. I know that Aaliyah was originally filming for a character named Zee before the role was recast after she died, and that the actress who played the Oracle, Gloria Foster, also died before production had wrapped. Otherwise, my impression of this film was all a mere blank slate prior to hitting “play.”
In chronological order, these are my thoughts and reactions to different scenes and moments from The Matrix Reloaded:
- Trinity blows up a security booth and fights one guy after another: I like how both this and the original film parallel each other by having Trinity kick ass right at the beginning.
- Trinity crashes through a window in slow motion, in the midst of a shootout: You can definitely tell the special effects have greatly improved since the original film came out, and the Wachowskis are taking full advantage of it.
- Neo wakes with a start after Trinity gets shot and falls to her death in his dream: Shall I consider this foreshadowing?
- Neo flies off a la Superman after fighting the agents: So is that just something he does now?
- When we get our first real look at Zion: Wow! This whole civilization is below the earth’s surface? Impressive!
- Neo and Trinity start making out as soon as they’re alone in the elevator: I guess they don’t get a lot of alone time.
- The elevator opens and many people look their way: Of course! Also, awkward.
- When we meet Zee for the first time: Oh! This is who Aaliyah was supposed to play.
- When we learn that Doza and Tank were her brothers: Excuse me while I go shed a few tears…
- Seeing the room full of many people: Seeing this sight in the midst of a global pandemic just makes me sweat.
- The scene where we go back and forth between the people of Zion dancing and Neo and Trinity having sex: Okay, it’s official. This is the steamiest scene in The Matrix franchise… that I know of anyway.
- Councillor Hamann comparing and contrasting machines running Zion to machines running the Matrix: What he’s saying here is very philosophical, but I’m not sure how to feel about him just yet.
- Seraph: “You do not truly know someone until you fight them.” –> I love this line!
- The scene where Neo speaks with the Oracle: Any scene with her is just fascinating. She always has you seeing things in a new light. Gloria Foster truly did such a good job with this character.
- The Oracle: “We can never see past the choices we don’t understand.” –> This is also a brilliant line!
- Neo vs. Agent Smith clones: Isn’t this a classic trope of sequels, where we get multiples of what worked better when there was just one?
- Neo fighting the clones with a pole: I watched the first part very closely, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say that was all in one take. Props to the cinematographer!
- Cue the very white guys with dreadlocks: Um… what?
- Neo kissing Peresphone: I’m uncomfortable on Trinity’s behalf.
- When we first meet the Keymaker and his cell is filled with so many keys: I wonder where all those keys lead to.
- Neo vs. the Merovingian’s henchmen: I love how Neo is so swift to adapt to fighting with each weapon that he winds up with.
- The entire chase scene on the freeway: Why is this scene so long?!
- Morpheus giving a motivational speech to his team: That’s it. Morpheus is very much the Princess Leia of this universe.
- The Keymaker dies: No!
- The scene with the Architect: He has a similar demeanor to President Snow in The Hunger Games. Maybe it’s because he kind of looks like him too.
- Neo brings Trinity back to life: This is equally as unbelievable as when Trinity kissed Neo when his vitals stopped near the end of the first film. How is this possible?
- Neo electrocuting the machines: He’s not even in the Matrix at this point. I don’t understand how he’s able to do this.
The Matrix Reloaded had my brain fried by the end. There was just so much going on, you really have to take time afterwards to let it all soak in. I can already see how the Wachowskis were really leaning towards wanting to use the new effects and technology to up the ante on this one, and I think that’s probably why I don’t feel as strong of an emotional attachment to this film compared to its predecessor. The story didn’t feel as well developed by comparison.
In that regard, I think it’s a good film to watch if you want to see something for the sake of its action scenes. Otherwise, with the exception of a few scenes, there wasn’t as much to philosophically gain from this one.
I’m wondering now how The Matrix Revolutions will compare. I aim to find out soon enough.