Much has been revolutionized since the inception of the Wachowski brothers’ Matrix phenomena. Never before had mainstream cinema and philosophy been paired so successfully with the accessories of sex appeal, aggression and extreme cinematography; the original “Matrix” broke this boundary, “Reloaded” however, does not.
The viewer joins Neo (Keanu Reeves) and his fellow freedom fighters at a time when the prophecy of his destiny is supposed to be fulfilled. Neo’s skills have improved to the point of him being a veritable Superman, invincible to the point of being obnoxious; the fact that he dons a Gucci overcoat amidst his exploits only seems to accentuate this dilemma.
Nevertheless, the machines have designed a plan to defeat by drilling into Zion and liquidating it. On top of this, a third party enters the race for the control of earth, as beyond the Man v. Matrix paradigm enters the wild card of renegade Matrix programs, bent on taking control of the Matrix for themselves.
Filling in such a plotline is an extraordinary display of imagery, featuring a brawl between Neo and one hundred Agent Smiths, and a 14-minute car chase.
Yet, despite all the films technological magnificence, such outstanding effects eventually desensitize the viewer into seeing extraordinary events as merely commonplace. There is a problem when a 14-minute car chase, complete with shootouts, high velocity crashes, sword fights and gravity defying combat… becomes boring.
Additionally, a problem arises in the sharp and unpleasant juxtaposition of these extreme action sequences and the dense philosophical verbiage that follows them. It is as if you were thrown into a lecture with a hangover from the night before. While certainly an admirable attempt at bridging philosophy and cinema, the two maintain their distance from one another; the action sequences being hyper- cinematic, the philosophical themes being extremely anti-cinematic.
All this in mind, “Reloaded” is wholly unavoidable. It is after all “The Matrix”. It’s technical marvels are astonishing, until such marvelous technique is taken for granted due to its over usage. There’s something to be said for accepting some degree of humility in a given character’s abilities; “Reloaded” avoids this humbleness. After all, there is a point when a bombarding display of high feats, philosophy and fashion, can become a little obnoxious.