The Matrix Reloaded is the sequel to The Matrix, and stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Ann Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith, Ian Bliss, Gloria Foster, and really just a lot of people.
Some time after the events of The Matrix, Zion, the human city, is facing unprecedented aggression from the machines. Their military leader, Lock (Harry Lennix) orders all ships back to Zion, Morpheus (Fishburne) requests that one stay handy to see if the Oracle (Foster) tries to contact them. She does, but a crazed, self-replicating Agent Smith (Weaving) manages to infect a real live person called Bane (Bliss), and upload himself into the real world.
Neo (Reeves) meets with the Oracle and gets today's quest (go find the Keymaker and he can lead you to the Source), fights a horde of Smiths, then he and Morpheus and Trinity (Moss) go confront the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) because he's holding the Keymaker (Randall Duk Kim) prisoner, so more big fights, and then Neo finally gets into the Source and meets the Architect (Helmut Bakaitis) who tells him that he's actually the sixth "One," the result of a compounding anomaly that blah blah lots of words Zion is about to be destroyed so he has to reboot the Matrix and pick out some survivors but he fucks off to save Trinity instead, and then leaves the Matrix, and disables a bunch of robots with real-world magic, falls unconscious, to be concluded in Matrix Revolutions which I don't own.
Woof. I remember seeing this movie in theaters and being really, really confused, and it hasn't gotten better. The whole movie is infodump followed by huge action set pieces, and those set pieces generally look really cool (the Neo vs. a Million Smiths fight hasn't aged very well, but the freeway chase is still awesome), but then we're back to "introduce a new character, let said character monologue, now another fight." It's like a game of Feng Shui if all of the wacky fun was stripped out.
The obvious conclusion to draw when Neo fries the Sentinels at the end is that the "real world" is in fact another layer of the Matrix, and there's some more evidence for that if you want to be a nerd and really analyze it (and these fine folks did). I kind of feel like the movie doesn't quite do a good enough job of explaining itself clearly, but it sure tries to explain itself. Repeatedly. The only thing that really comes across is that everyone thinks this universe is deterministic as fuck, which maybe plays into the idea that the "real world" isn't real, but unfolds as it must? I dunno. I think it might make more sense if you topped it off with the third movie, but I've had enough Christian imagery to last a lifetime and I'm not interested in watching it just to see if it makes this movie make more sense. Frankly, I'd have been happy if they'd left it at one Matrix movie.
My Grade: C
Rewatch value: Low
Next up: Maverick