We missed you.
- Agent Smith, "Matrix: Revolutions"
And we missed you, Herr Smith!
While the film suffers from some undisciplined editing, on the whole, it was a satisfying conclusion to the fantastic original story that wowed audiences in 1999. Revolutions manages to wrap up many of the loose ends left dangling by what is considered by many to be an unsatisfying 'Reloaded,' and while it is not without its own flaws, does successfully avoids Reloaded's most obvious problems: bizarre philosophizing and tensionless special-effects fireworks ("The Burly Brawl").
The Neo-Smith battle is perhaps the most impressive and exciting 'Battle of the Supermen' exchanges ever seen on the silver screen; the audience gets a sense of the sheer force and power exchanged by the two combatants, as they trade blows before a street full of Smith clones, and remains the highlight of the film. Likewise, the breathtaking defense of Zion, where soldiers step into machine-gun-toting exoskeletons to make their last desperate stand against invading forces from the surface packed a visceral punch that was wholly absent in Reloaded.
Revolutions stumbles in the moments it tries to pretend to be something other than a sci-fi action film; while the irritatingly smug Architect is thankfully a small part of the movie, character development feel heavy-handed and awkward, particularly the introduction of The Oracle.
As many moviegoers know, the actress Gloria Foster who played the Oracle died in 2001 in the middle of filming, and left some very large shoes to be filled by newcomer Mary Alice. While Alice's vocal intonations and mannerisms are a spot-on impression of Foster's original Oracle, the Watchowski brothers end up overexplain her new appearance instead of simply introducing her and letting the story unfold on its own.
Like Kill Bill, the film suffers from a surfeit of bloat - the most persistent flaw in the creations of directors who find themselves suddenly thrust into popularity. If one could combine Reloaded and Revolutions, and edit out the banal/philosophical elements to focus on what the Matrix series does best (exciting science-fiction storytelling), you would have one competent and powerful sequel.
As it stands, the Matrix trilogy is about one movie too long.
Still - not bad for a free film I got to see a week before anyone else. ;) Thanks, Charlie! :D
In amusing news - apparantly, the problem of film piracy is so bad that there were metal detectors at the theater and people who had cell phones that were equipped with cameras had to check them in during the screening; men with infared-detectors swept the audience during the film for signs of people surrepetitiously recording the movie. Crazy.