The Matrix: Reloaded is a 2003 action sci-fi sequel in the critically-acclaimed Matrix movie, written and directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski. Following the events of the first movie, The Matrix: Reloaded continues the adventure of Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves), now formally referred to as Neo. After discovering that his normal life was merely a simulation, designed to keep humanity docile while enormous machines feed on their bodies, Neo must fulfill a mysterious prophecy that will end the war between man and machine.
With a plethora of new characters and sub-plots, The Matrix: Reloaded attempts to expand the movie’s universe, putting a greater focus on life outside of the simulation. Combined with more expensive stunts and action scenes, The Matrix: Reloaded is a satisfying and suitable sequel, but it stumbles in some key ways that make it inferior to the original.
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The Movie Review
The narrative in The Matrix: Reloaded is confident at first, offering a deeper delve into the philosophy behind the dystopian, sci-fi future established in the first movie. Together with his mentor Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and lover Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), Neo struggles with the newfound weight resting on his shoulders. In the gritty world outside of the Matrix, the last human civilization known as Zion awaits an impending from the warring machines.
Overwhelmed and outnumbered, only Neo can save them. The Matrix: Reloaded starts out confident, lofting thought-provoking themes of religion, duty, and choice. However, the movie gets lost in the weeds and becomes self-indulgent, growing more convoluted as the story progresses. Although it reaches for more abstract elements of science-fiction, The Matrix: Reloaded ultimately feels like a heist film, albeit with some extremely cool and interesting characters.
In proper sequel fashion, The Matrix: Reloaded also offers bigger budget action sequences, highlighting Neo’s heightened abilities. The movie even kicks off with a bang, with Trinity fighting multiple super-powered Agents after a massive motorcycle stunt. While the amped-up action scenes are impressive to watch, they’re occasionally marred by painfully obvious green-screen effects and early-2000s CGI. That said, the dated effects still provide some inventive and fun scenes, including an iconic battle between Neo and dozens of Agent Smith clones.
In addition to the stylishly choreographed fight scenes, there are also ample moments of explosive mayhem via gunfights, chase scenes, and more. At worst, the shoddy CGI can pull you out of the action and ruin immersion, but it’s still aesthetically pleasing and entertaining to watch.
The Bottom Line
Overall, The Matrix: Reloaded continues the trend started in the first Matrix flick, featuring highly-stylized action, slick costuming, and a brain-racking plot. Clocking in at roughly two hours and 15 minutes, the movie can feel a bit bloated at times, with a habit of introducing sub-plots and quickly forgetting them. However, some of the newer characters, such as the phase-shifting Twins (Adrian and Neil Rayment), are memorable enough to shine through the middling plot.
Even though some elements of the narrative are disappointing, there’s enough high-flying stunt work and explosive action to keep you invested. Although it’s missing a significant chunk of the mystique and mystery that made the first Matrix movie so popular, The Matrix: Reloaded is still an exciting action flick with some inventive ideas.
- More iconic action scenes
- Expanded world-building with neat characters
- Impressive stunts
- The plot feels jumbled and misguided
- Poor CGI weakens the action