I want to clarify that I don't hate the Matrix franchise because I want to, matter of fact, I wanted to like these movies. When I was a preteen years ago and I first watched these movies, I fell in love with them, I loved the special effects, I loved the philosophy, I loved the mythology and I even loved the science. But alas, this was during a time where I did not possess the cognitive capacity nor the knowledge I have today to properly judge these movies and their quality. I had stupid goggles on. But now that my mental capacity is nearing it's peak, my knowledge has expanded leaps and bounds beyond that which I previously had and I've been exposed to true quality material, such as the actual Allegory of the Cave, I can safely say that these movies are irrevocably stupid, which is a shame because they have lots and lots of good ideas that are never fully fleshed out and are only explored to a shallow extent. Not even my nostalgia, with of it's might, can keep a grip over the leash that is my overwhelming hate for unsound inconsistency in something that's supposed to be structured and articulated. With that being said, this particular installment is... not that bad. Really, I don't see why people think that Reloaded ruined the Matrix franchise, it's easily the best-- I'm sorry, let me rephrase that; the only remotely good one out of all four of them. But you know what, the fact that the third one just so happens to be the best is actually quite sad, because the reason why it's good isn't because it concentrates on the science or mythology aspect, but because it has a massive emphasis on action. Hardly any of it builds on it's own mythology, it's geared toward the end and for what it's worth, it actually ends up creating more questions than it answers. Allow me to elaborate.
The movie opens on Neo having a dream vision of Trinity invading an office building, causing an explosion that very well could have killed dozens of innocent people, beating up on the very same people who almost died, being chased by an agent out of a window after making it up to one of the upper floors and shooting at the agent as they both free fall and despite the fact that there's no conceivable way for an agent to dodge anything while free falling, the bullets emitting from the sub-machine guns miss him completely. You know, if this agent were like the Hollow Man twins we see earlier, then I could understand as they can become transparent and lose their corporeal forms, but this guy is a standard agent who's able to dodge bullets just because he's really fast, which considering how he doesn't have any footing to do so, I find it hard-- nay, impossible to believe that Trinity could possibly miss this many times while simultaneously the program with no particularly special capabilities only needs to shoot once or twice before he makes his mark, despite the fact that the wind current should have served as a massive disadvantage to the agent and therefore as an advantage to Trinity. And no, this isn't just a dream, this happens again later and when it happens, it's reality.
Neo wakes up from the nightmare that is the nonsense that we just witnessed and we're introduced to who I think is the track runner from the "World Record" segment of Animatrix. I dunno, it seems like him, he wear's his hair just the same way with dreadlocks held back to form a pony tail. But then, wouldn't that mean that this guy couldn't walk? I mean, it's explained in the first movie that whatever kind of injury you sustain in the Matrix will be transferred to your corporeal body, so either this guy's getup is incidental and they're not the same guy, or it is him and the fact that he's not crippled is a massive plothole. Either way, his name is apparently Link and he's serving as a one man replacement for more than half of the original crew, including Tank who died offscreen. Nice. Don't you just love it when significant characters don't even get a real final goodbye? You do? Well fuck you, I don't.
Neo is seen going to what I can only guess is the cafeteria, who is then in turn followed by Trinity who begs the question "Still can't sleep?", which Neo replies by saying that he's confused and afraid, Hell, if I lived in the Matrix universe, I would be too. Oh, not because of the mechanical tentacle monsters from Hell, no I could handle that, it's the plotholes that get me. Trinity reassures Neo that he'll get an opportunity to talk with the Oracle soon enough which is then interrupted by Link telling them that they're late for a meeting that's not being held in the safety and security that is Zion, but rather the extremely dangerous and deadly environment that is the Matrix, because when I think of having a board meeting where we need to discuss and debate plans for extensive and unpredictable amounts of time, a disruptive, nightmarish and often chaotic Hellhole like the Matrix would totally be at the top of the list of places I would deem safe, secure and appropriate to start discussing contingency plans. Don't they know that they're in a place where their enemy could spy on and hear the entirety of their discussion? That's like going into somebody's backyard to discuss plans to commit a home invasion, you're bound to be caught by the very same people you intend to screw over.
The person hosting the meeting, Captain Niobe, tosses a group of photos onto a table stating that these photo's confirm that the machines are digging directly above Zion, she also mentions that these photos were sent by the Osiris, a tidbit of which is one of the multiple reasons as to why Reloaded qualifies as the third movie in the series. They debate the legitimacy of the photos saying that the photos suggest that 250,000 sentinels are on the rampage and for whatever reason, despite the fact that they pretty much dominate the planet, would somehow be impossible. Morpheus, Neo and Trinity join the party, Morpheus noting that this tactic makes sense because that's exactly the same number of people who live in Zion. How it's possible for the machines to know the exact populace of Zion is beyond me, that would suggest that however many offspring are created inside Zion are being monitored at all times, which raises another question, why were the Agents so hard on for the password to Zion's mainframe computer in the first film? What necessitates their desire to have it? In that movie it was implied that they couldn't locate Zion without it, but by the end of this movie, it's implied that Zion's mainframe computer was a plant that the machines created from the very beginning, so by all means they should already have access to it. They already know the location of Zion and how to get to it, so even if they didn't have access to Zion's mainframe computer, why would they give a shit about such a thing to begin with when it's not even a necessity?
In any case, Morpheus apologizes for his late arrival to the meeting, stating that it's becoming increasingly difficult to secure a broadcast signal without being found and attacked by the sentinels, another in a long line of good reasons to NOT USE THE FUCKING MATRIX TO HOLD MEETINGS. I have to ask, what if they were invaded then and there? They'd have to make time to let everybody get to an exit point, let them escape while not getting killed and activate the EMP bomb their ship is equipped with making sure everyone has escaped or else somebody will die. This not only seems impractical, it's outright dangerous on multiple levels.
They then exposit that they've yet to formulate a plan for the incoming invasion. Um, here's a good plan, you guys obviously have the expertise to build a machine that creates a non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse right? Build a giant version of one of those to increase the range, shut down all of your facilities, wait for the machines to breach the walls and activate the explosively pumped flux compression generator or whatever the Hell you use and cause a mass deactivation to all the sentinels invading, including the drills. I mean, come on, you've already admitted that this is not only your best weapon, but it's your only effective weapon. So why not? Sounds solid to me. Better yet, create a whole bunch of little ones and layer Zion and the sewers with them and give them the same kind of radar technology you guys use for detecting sentinels and have them only self activate upon detecting them. Could you just imagine what a massacre it would be to see such a feat? A quarter million sentinels just dropping to the ground. Their lifestyle would be so much safer too, if one of their ships gets damaged in the sewers and they have to land outside of Zion, they could spend time on repairing it knowing that they're surrounded in non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse bombs that'll only activate if a sentinel gets near them. Of course they'd never do that because logic is for pussies, real men run around in mechas that leave the pilot exposed to either fall out to his death or get shot in the head bringing the whole mech down with minimum opposition, now that's badass, the whole NNEMP and zero casualties thing is for nerds and fags.
As it turns out, an agent found their location and led three other ones after him to the meeting, what a shock, so Neo has to deal with the three that followed whom of which he exposits are upgrades from the original agents he's used to fighting. Imagine what this situation would be like if Neo wasn't here; everybody would be royally and completely fucked, no lube and up the ass. This is so stupid. So instead of outright deleting the three upgraded agents, Neo decides to jump out into the stratosphere and Superman his way over to the Oracle's apartment, leaving his comrades to fend for themselves against the three and possibly four monoliths of power. Neo goes into the apartment to find that it's completely empty as he begs the question "where are you?" and suddenly I feel like I'm watching Wrath from the 2003 adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist; like Neo, Wrath was obsessed with finding a certain someone he identified with as a type of parental guide and he was willing to go out of his way to find her and take the consequences into complete disregard and flip the bird to anybody who gets hurt along the way. I'm sorry, but if I were Neo, my first course of action would be to twist and rip the heads off of each and every single one of those agents before I ever even considered leaving. It's not like it'd be impossible or anything, he once decompiled agent Smith by leaping into his body and reverse assimilating him during the end of the first Matrix movie. Oh yeah, apparently Smith is back and there's multiple copies of him, this is never explained all throughout the film. Yeah they just brought Smith back to appeal to popular demand. My guess is that Smith was never truly destroyed, just decompiled and after the fact he recompiled in such a way that turned him into a type of virus or some shit, but of course that's merely speculation and not a real answer because that's not what the film says. In any case, Smith is no longer underneath the same constraints as other agents as he can multiply as much as he wants.
In other news, everybody makes it out okay and they all return to Zion to have a meeting that's not potentially deadly and during this scene we get to see that annoying fucking mecha that I mentioned earlier, the one where the cockpit is not encased and leaves the pilot out in the open to either fall out or get killed, thus is the quickest way to disarm the mecha. You know, if there's anything that The Second Renaissance got right, it was that the people operating mechs were actually encased into the fucking things, meaning that they actually had some protection from being injured and I can't fucking believe that there's actually something that The Second Renaissance actually did competently when compared to any other movie. Any high expectations I had for this film have officially spiraled down the fucking toilet, which is sadly where those high expectations probably came from to begin with.
After the Nebuchadnezzar lands, we're introduced to three new characters, the first being Captain Mifune and the second being Commander Lock, Captain Mifune is only introduced through this scene for the purpose of giving context for his later scenes whereas Commander Lock exists for giving context to some mundane love triangle between himself, Morpheus and Captain Niobe that I couldn't give less of a shit about because I'm not big enough of a fan to own the videogame "Enter The Matrix". I only own these four movies because I saw them for sell in a four disc pack for ten dollars at Wallmart. Speaking of Enter The Matrix, yeah, I was okay with Animatrix having plot elements that were relevant to Reloaded because Animatrix was developed for the same art medium as Reloaded was, I didn't have to buy an entirely different three hundred dollar machine to watch it with, nor did I have to actively participate in the story where the ending was determined by the quality of my performance in punching and smashing a series of buttons. When you chop out plot elements to a movie series and insert them into other formats, in the words of a good friend of mine, "you have failed your franchise". The third character is-- no, for the final time, that's not Mouse, Mouse was the first hacker who died in the first movie via being shot to death, this is Michael Karl Popper from "Kid's Story" from Animatrix, who is now named "Kid". Neo's apparently annoyed by Kid as Kid has a major fancrush on Neo after Neo saved his life, to which Neo rebukes that he didn't save Kid's life, Kid saved his own. You know, I know that when Kid committed suicide that he woke himself up out of the Matrix, but don't act like you weren't involved in his rescue. What, you expect me to believe that when he woke up inside the Nebuchadnezzar he had woken up there because he slept walk his way over to the Nebuchadnezzar, forced the doors open and fell asleep on the ship's operating table? There's also another major plothole involving Kid too, if he dropped himself off of the ledge of his school building and plunged to his death, by all means, shouldn't his corporeal body be dead too? I know that there's a thing that most people have where if they die in a dream that they'll wake up from it as a response, but that explanation doesn't work in this context, the first movie was all about establishing that if you get injured in the Matrix, your corporeal body is injured too, regardless of how stupid that is. At least with Link, provided he really is Dan Davis the track runner from "World Record" whereas according to Matrix Wiki he's a freeborn thus meaning he's never been in the Matrix, but then again that Wiki was written by fans of the Matrix and not the writers of the movies, you could debate that his legs aren't broken because upon escaping the Matrix again, he eventually learned how to manipulate the Matrix and fix his broken legs like he did before, such as how Neo fixed all the bullets he received to the chest in the first movie. Those two things make sense because those people learned how to manipulate the Matrix without first being dead. If Kid didn't really hit the pavement and make mashed potatoes out of his own skull, then why was he given a funeral when his body was apparently never found? After all, if he wakes up from the Matrix, that means his avatar disappears because his mind is no longer projecting a self image unto the Matrix. See where I'm going with this? How little these movies function with one another is astounding. In any case, after one of Lock's cronies tells Morpheus that he's been called to a meeting with Commander Lock, Kid explains to the other three crew members that he wants to become a crew member of the Nebuchadnezzar.
Jesus Christ, I'm only sixteen minutes into the film and look at all this fucking text! Look at all the fucked up plotholes I've already uncovered, if it keeps going like this, I'll never have this rev-- oh that's right, the film has a massive emphasis on fight scenes, this factor is only temporary. That means that large chunks of the film can't even really be talked about too much because they don't feature much for content. Well okay, let's continue.
In the meeting between Morpheus and Commander Lock, Lock berates Morpheus for being an incompetent and self serving douchebag because Morpheus had another ship remain behind to await the Oracles appearance, to which Morpheus rebukes by saying that the only way to win the war is to trust in the very, very manipulative program that, whether you like it or not, is a program and part of the Matrix and is very likely working for the Matrix and is pulling your leg with her pseudo-philosophical crap that has no context, rhyme or reason. Yeah, Lock has a good point, he's a higher ranking officer and one of his subordinates is defying orders, orders of which to keep all the ships on standby in Zion until a counter-attack to the impending invasion is formulated and if one of his underlings is controlling other subordinates to wait for contact from a very untrustworthy program that's part of the Matrix and is very most likely leading them on in favor of the machine empire, then how could he possibly trust that when a plan is formulated that it could be initiated if everybody else is being led on a wild goose chase? Commander Lock puts down Morpheus' retarded argument by saying that his opinion is not supreme to which Morpheus rebukes by saying "Yeah bitch, it is". Why Commander Lock doesn't discharge Morpheus as Captain of the Nebuchadnezzar here and now is beyond me, he's disobedient and his actions could lead to some gruesome results, which they do. Commander Lock tells Morpheus that he's going to recommend to his superiors that he'd be discharged as Captain of the Nebuchadnezzar and if he were in charge of such a thing, he would retire Morpheus. Oh, so that's why he can't fire him on the spot, so what's the point of having a Commander again? Well in any case, a higher ranking officer named Councilor Hamann enters the room to not decide Morpheus' fate, but to get both Lock's and Morpheus' opinion on how he should address Zion when he gives a public speech later on, of course he goes with Morpheus' advice and you can infer from context that Morpheus is totally keeping his job and Lock is nothing more than a cliche rival that you're meant to hate despite the fact that I often times find myself siding with him a lot.
Meanwhile, the crew members of the Nebuchadnezzar splinter off into their own directions followed by Neo being addressed and treated like a deity by everyone in Zion characterized by people basically praying to him to watch over crew members whom most of which are probably freeborns who don't enter the Matrix at all and only work as either pilots or operators. To top it all off, they actually brought him stuff as if they're paying him tribute. This is... I don't wanna say "deep" because that would actually attribute credibility to the Matrix, but it is interesting to see a bunch of people who are disillusioned from the Matrix treat another human being as a messiah figure despite the fact that everything they had ever held true in the Matrix, religion included, was a lie and such behavior should be beneath them. Neo has basically become Jesus. I guess this part touches on the whole "can't let go of the obvious lie because it's been the truth for entirely way too long" element that I bitched about only being a mere footnote in the first movie. Strangely enough, I approve. I know that it's only being briefly touched upon here too, but the difference that makes this acceptable is that the aspect isn't being directly addressed as it was in the first movie when Morpheus was trying to convince Neo that the air he was breathing was his own concept of limitation, here, it's being addressed through an undertone. This is probably the most intellectually impressive part of the entire movie and it even then, it still stems from the Allegory of the Cave.
After which, the meeting is held and when Hamann gets up to the podium, he decides to drop the ball and let Morpheus catch it, in other words, he puts Morpheus on the spot and makes him address the crowd with the issue of the invasion. He tells everybody that the machines are drilling directly down to Zion but not to worry because we're going to win just because! Yeah I don't buy it, especially not from a crackpot like Morpheus. Morpheus had a commanding presence that implied he was wise in the first film, but now that his position and opinions have been challenged and it turns out that he's not at the top of the food chain and there's a good chance that he's wrong in his pursuits, he's pretty much lost all credibility. Part of what convinces me that someone is a master of something is the idea that he in turn has no master of his own. But since people challenge his beliefs and he still follows the guidance of a program that's probably most certainly not rogue and is indeed working in the best interest of the machine empire, he's more sheep now than he his sheppard. I wouldn't want this guy leading me.
What follows is a rave from all the people in the announcement hall, as per suggestion of Morpheus. I can just imagine myself in that crowd when Morpheus said "Tonight, let us shake this cave. Tonight, let us tremble these halls of Earth, steel and stone. Let us be heard from red core to black sky" and I cut into his speech by shouting "ORGY!!!" followed by Morpheus pointing at me going "See, he's got the right idea!" and then everybody... um... spreads their legs apart and starts running up to each other and attacking each other... Mmm... Yes. Well that's what Neo and Trinity do anyway.
Meanwhile, the crew who are stationed in the sewers aren't having such a good time as it turns out that they've been contacted by the Oracle. However, they're being chased by Smith as they make their escape and Smith ends up assimilating the hacker named Bane and overwriting his consciousness with his own, thus exiting the Matrix through Bane's body. See, this is what he should have done with Morpheus from the beginning and don't you dare tell me that the agents aren't capable of doing this until after they become like Smith, even if it is limited to only one person at a time, the agents can assimilate anyone within the Matrix and no, it's never been specified that they had to have been connected to the Matrix through the Matrix's mainframe via the red incubators, just that so long as someone is in the Matrix, they could potentially be an agent and the tools the hackers use to access the Matrix with are no different than the one's the machines use for their incubators, if they were, that would mean that sustaining injuries in the Matrix wouldn't harm your corporeal body like it does in the red incubators; you'd be invincible. In other words, if there's that one exception, why not others? If they didn't have the ability to assimilate hackers before then, that should suggest that it's impossible regardless of the type of program being applied because assimilation would be the obvious tactic to go with considering that the circumstances both allow and demand for it. Is it just that the agents don't know that they can do that, or is it a massive plothole? The latter, obviously.
After Neo wakes up from another nightmare, which is implied to have been the scene of Bane getting possessed by Smith and seriously now, how is it that Neo is getting these dream visions? He's no longer in the Matrix, you can't just excuse it by saying "a program did it". These nightmares he has actually happen, sometimes as he's dreaming them as is the case with this particular one. That's impossible on three different levels. Let's count the ways, shall we? One; Neo is not connected to the Matrix during the periods in which he has these nightmares, so it's impossible for him to see what's going on in the Matrix on that time. Two; although this is fictional, it's heavily grounded in reality, sure it's a hypothetical reality, but it's still based on our current technological aspirations and tools nonetheless, with that in mind, clairvoyance does not compute in this context; the Matrix franchise has a heavy emphasis on science and philosophy, not paranormal activity. Matter of fact, the segment in Animatrix dubbed "Beyond" explains that all paranormal activity occurs in the Matrix and it's incidental to flawed and glitched coding, ergo, they gave a rational explanation to the phenomena, which further emphasizes on the first account of how clairvoyance is impossible. Three; no, they are not in another layer of the Matrix right now or anything to that extent of the word, there is no big revelation by the fourth movie that Zion and the machine empire are lies and that Neo and Trinity are actually machines who've won and are experiencing the human rebellion first hand as a life experience or anything like that; this really is reality and Neo really is having these visions, which is kinda sad because that ending would have been a good twist and would have beat the living shit out of the actual ending. I'm only 35 minutes into a 2 hour movie and there's already an overabundance of plotholes and literal impossibilities. One might say it's even in excess, which one would be right.
Well in any case, Neo stumbles out of his apartment to find lots of miscellaneous junk laying outside his door, because apparently people didn't get the hint when he didn't accept briberies the first time. As it turns out, Councilor Hamann is restless as well and he notes that this is probably the most content he's ever seen his people, but he still can't sleep because, well, he laments the fact that he's spent entire years being asleep. I share the same condition, but, not the sentiment. When Neo tells Hamann that he can't sleep just because, Hamann states that it's a good sign because regardless of the reason why he can't sleep, the fact that he can't implies that he still in fact human. Okay, I don't see how insomnia qualifies someone as being human, the machines have that too. I mean, I always thought that what qualified someone as a human was, you know, anatomy, biology and you know, stuff like that. I know that he probably means that the anxiety that Neo feels is what qualifies as a human, but he has no way of knowing that because Neo won't divulge that anxiety is the reason why. I dunno, that just gets me in the wrong way.
Homann promptly invites Neo to see the engineering room where all the facilities are handled and what follows is probably my favorite scene out of all four movies; the philosophical debate between Neo and Homann. Homann points at the machines that facilitate Zion and states that like so many other people, he has no idea how these machines work and he doesn't care how they work just as long as they do work. He then points out the irony of their circumstance that they depend on certain machines to survive where as other machines are coming to kill them, stating that technology is not intrinsically evil or good, but rather it's how it's applied that qualifies as such. He also points out that despite what they'd like to think, they really have no control over their current circumstance and that despite their freedom, on a principle scale, they are no different than the people still attached to the Matrix through their incubators to which Neo rebukes that the core difference comes from the fact that if they wanted to, they could destroy the machines they're living off of now whereas the people living in their incubators have no choice in the matter and are at the complete mercy of the machines that cater to them. This statement is then rebuked by Homann stating that if they were to take that course of action, they'd lose their life support, therefore making Neo's point mute. Neo then tries to decrypt his analogy by summarizing it with "So your point is that we need machines and they need us?", to which Hamann says "Nope, there's no point, only contemplation". You see, this is the thing that when the Matrix does well, it does very well, Homann isn't claiming that he knows the answer, just that he's trying to make Neo question the answers he's been given in life as opposed to accepting them blindly. This is what science fiction is supposed to do. The sad part about this is that this philosophical argument is very brief as something weird happens and Homann goes on a bizarre rant on how even though he doesn't understand how the machines work that he understands why it works and that the same principle applies to Neo and that he hopes that they'll come to understand why he's able to do what he does before it's too late, as if he's giving foreshadowing to Neo, like he somehow knows that Neo and everybody else has been taken for a ride this whole time; led to believe that they actually had a shot in defeating the machine empire when really they were just playing along until the point where Neo would eventually stumble upon the Architect and become wedged into a conundrum that's been predicted and orchestrated since the beginning and he has to act swiftly to prevent a complete regurgitation of the entire process leading up to this same point again entire generations later. What the Hell aren't you telling us Homann? I've actually heard theories after this movie came out that Homann is the original Architect and the one who's running the Matrix is actually a copy of Homann's consciousness. Of course, as evidenced by the end of the fourth movie, that's simply not true, but it's still interesting nonetheless.