I’ve tried to keep the review relatively spoiler-free, but the discussion will probably get you more spoiled than a $5000 gift certificate to Mr. Bulky. Hey, why are you still reading this? Go see the movie already.

Cast and Crew

The full listing is on the
. You saw the first one, you know most of these people already.
Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Lawrence Fishburne, Wachowski brothers, et


Picking up where
The Matrix
left off, Neo is now more-or-less a superhero. Meanwhile, those adorable
squid robots are about to launch an attack on Zion, the last human city.

High Point

Predictably, the fight choreography. The twenty minutes or so of random
shooting, kung-fu, and a little “Shogun” on the highway pretty much rocks.

Low Point

The ending. No, really. Just like
The Empire Strikes Back,
The Matrix Reloaded has a squirrely ending that leaves our heroes
pretty much screwed, and the world about to go back to Hell in a

The Scores

It’s hard to be original when you’re following something as
original as The Matrix. The originality here comes mainly from
the impressive fusion of disparate elements. Zion has elements of
cyberpunk, steampunk, and tribal beliefs, and is still somewhat
believable. For pulling off an environment where I can buy into primitive
drumming and powered exoskeletons within ten minutes of each other, they
get 5 out of 6.

The effects were impressive, but we all saw the first movie, and
expected no less. There was lots and lots of that nifty bullet-time stuff,
obviously, but they didn’t seem to really break much new ground here.
“Bullet-Time” made everyone say “damn, that was cool;” nothing here really
stood out like that did a few years back. What they did, though, was of
course spectacular; I’ll give it a 4 out of 6.

Story? You mean there was a story mixed in with all the

Sorry, that was a bit flippant. Like the prequel (and I know there are a
lot of comparisons between this movie and The Matrix, but it’s
the best thing I can think of at one in the morning), the story isn’t
much. Philosophy Lite. All the moral dilemmas, now with 50% less Deep
Thought. 4 out of 6 for a good solid effort, though if The
Matrix Revolutions
lets me down I reserve the right to come back to
this and edit the score six months hence.

The acting score suffers, not because of Keanu Reeves (who has
actually improved a bit, or maybe it’s just that his role now mainly
consists of standing round in cool shades and fighting a whole lot), but
ironically because of Lawrence Fishburne. All the weird
pseudo-Shakespearean monologues just annoyed me. Apparently Morpheus’ job
before being pulled out was as a cult leader. Merely 3 points for
this one…

Emotional Response: Well, I had a strong urge to hunt down the
Wachowski brothers for their in media res ending…

All the Neo-and-Trinity kissy stuff felt a bit forced and heavy-handed.
“Look, we’re a happy couple even though we don’t have much on-screen
chemistry!” I know they’re trying to establish them as a couple, so
there’ll be some sort of response later on when they’re inevitably torn
from each other — which happens about a half-dozen times — but they got
entirely too heavy-handed. Fortunately, this is more than cancelled out by
the visceral bang-bang, which literally had the audience cheering in a
couple spots. 5 out of 6, because I’m being generous.

Production… um, what’d you expect out of what may very well be
the biggest action film of the summer? (I can’t say “of the year” because
there’s that third one due out near Christmas.) Good solid production,
though that’s almost mandatory in a film as effects-laden as this.
4 out of 6.

Overall, well, who are we kidding? 6 out of 6.

Total: That’s 31 out of 42.