There is a lot to get into with The Matrix: Reloaded. A whole lot. This story becomes much more complicated and layered. Because of what transpired at the end of the first movie, there are certain plot holes that arise in this film. Those mainly centering on Neo’s abilities and fighting enemies. We finally see Zion, so many new characters are introduced. So many Black people and people of color. A lot more philosophical ideas and conversations begin taking form. It’s a very exciting time. We have a lot to do, and we gotta get to it.
One thing people harp on is Neo’s journey – specifically the notion that we’re kind of back at square one. We saw Neo flying at the end of the first film. He discovered that he is the One. This movie is supposed to take place six months after the events of the first film. And Neo is, again, beginning to doubt himself. He doesn’t really know what he is supposed to do. This bothers some people. They had assumed Neo and the plot wouldn’t drift back into this self-doubt. However, the Wachowski’s are deconstructing the idea of a messiah. So it is necessary. What does being this savior mean? This is what Neo is dealing with.
When they reach Zion, Link, Trinity and Neo are approached by the kid. Neo apparently was the one who freed him. Although he doesn’t really want to take credit for that, instead, insisting that the kid saved himself. This is just another indicator as to how Neo is feeling about his messianic/savior-like status. And again…remember what I said in the last post. If you haven’t read it, you really should. The “prophecy”…is a lie. We learn that in this movie. So Neo doubting his messianic status is actually a very reasonable thing for him to do.
There’s a fight scene very early on in the beginning of this movie. Neo going against three Agents. Clearly, he could’ve wiped them all out in the blink of an eye, given his power. This is admittedly a problem that occurs throughout this film and the third. I fully admit. It’s cool to look at, nonetheless.
Then there is the matter of the incredibly long rave scene in Zion. So many people bitch about this sequence, and I get it. It is long. However, there is still substance within it. For one, you’re seeing so many people of color dancing in ecstasy. It’s also weird how nobody talks about how sexy the sequence is, given that Neo and Trinity are literally having sex during it. Bodies are touching, sweat dripping. But I guess everybody just finds it just goes on too long and it’s boring? I guess. Going back to the body, mind, spirit analogy I made in the last post, this is a celebration of the body. It makes sense.
I’ve always been a fan of the Neo and Trinity love story. It works for me. I understand the concept of love, how the Wachowski’s handle it, can feel cheesy or bland or played out.
After Neo and councillor Hamann talk about Machines and control, Neo jumps back into the Matrix to see the Oracle. This is where we’re introduced to Seraph, essentially the Oracle’s bodyguard. You’ll notice that when Neo first sees him, viewing him as code, he is made of light. Gold/yellow. Remember the color pallet thing I talked about in the other post. Seraph is a program, meaning he was created by the Machines. When Neo asks him if he is a programmer, he says no. He says, “I protect that which matters most.”
That’s the Oracle. The old Black woman matters most. Not Neo. And this becomes even more evident in Revolutions. Neo is important, but he is kind of a pawn in a much, much bigger game. Neo goes to talk with the Oracle, and confirms that she is not human. She’s a program. Which could mean she is part of the system, another kind of control. But she is actually trustworthy. Neo would be very wise to listen to her. This conversation between the two of them is one that I have still yet to figure out completely. They start talking about the nature of programs within the Matrix and how they function. I’m sure this could me some kind of metaphor or analogy for something else. I just haven’t figured out what that is yet, if that even is the case.
Or…it could just mean that these programs are evolving. The machines are evolving. We meet a young program named Sati, in Revolutions. Very briefly, in Reloaded, we see her father, Rama-Kandra, being escorted away from the Merovingian – right as Neo, Morpheus and Trinity arrive to see him. That’s something I can explore when we get to that movie, because that actually has huge importance to the film. But, the idea here is that programs are choosing exile when they are faced with the possibility of being deleted. They hide out in the Matrix, even when they’re not supposed to. They’re breaking the rules. They’re consciousness has evolved, even to the point where they will create children, out of love. This is important.
What’s also important is how Agent Smith has evolved. In the final act of the first movie, Neo literally jumps inside of Smith and destroys him. From the inside out. Seemingly. But apparently, some part of Neo imprinted onto Smith, or something was overwritten or copied. This is, after all, a big computer program. So it makes sense. Smith is Neo’s opposite. While Neo is simply the “One,” Smith has found a way to replicate himself and become “the many.” This is also ironic, given his speech to Morpheus in the first movie. Comparing human beings to viruses, who consume an environment until there’s nothing left, and then spread to another area. This is exactly what Smith is doing.
What’s great is that the Wachowski’s don’t call attention to these kinds of things. They let the audience figure it out on their own. It’s never overstated or shoved down your throat, never awkwardly brought up by any of the characters.
Hugo Weaving is absolutely pheonomonal in this role. Agent Smith has the best dialogue, monologues and speeches in these movies. This scene, in which Smith and Neo are reunited again after their encounter in the hallway in the first movie, is a prime example. Neo and Smith both died in that hallway, and were both reborn.
He talks about their connection. The fact that Smith is no longer an agent of the system. All thanks to Neo. He is “free.” The thing is, this is basically what he wanted in the first film. He wanted to be free of the Matrix and the whole system. Smith hated all of it, he was and still is also a nihilist. So he wants all of humanity, all of the machines, to be obliterated. He also has a specific goal, of course, which is to just kill Neo. That nihilistic desire he has, I’m sure, can be an allegory for many different things.
But Smith’s whole speech in this scene is just…perfection. Maybe it’s just me, and that’s fine. But I love this so much.
It’s important to remember Smith’s evolution in all of this. How he behaved in the first Matrix film – behaving unlike a typical agent would. Actually wanting to be free.
There are theories suggesting Smith is not a program, but in fact, human. If we’re taking the computer program element of the movie literally, Agent Smith could be a misbehaving Intrusion Detection System. Others suggest Smith is in fact the One, not Neo. Great stuff. And we haven’t even gotten to the Architect yet. Which I will get to in this post soon, in an update.
Neo continues exploring the Matrix, meeting characters like the Merovingian. There’s a lot of talk about causality and effect. Choice. It’s kind of plopped into the middle of this movie. It may feel out of place, this sequence, as they are looking for the Key Maker. But there is a point to it. Neo is gaining a better understanding of the Matrix. And the Merovingian also represents Neo, if he had been corrupted and decided to be a dick, pretty much. Or something like that.
Then there is the massive chase scene on the freeway. Which is very cool. Not much for me to elaborate on there.
This whole scene with the Architect is just brilliant. What’s going on here? What are they talking about? Well, Neo is basically being told that he is not the first “One.” This is not the first time the Matrix has existed. Smith hinted at this in the first movie, actually. When he was talking to Morpheus and he was telling him that the first Matrix was perfect. But humans rejected it. The Architect basically reiterates that during this scene. This is the 6th version of the Matrix.
Also, notice the introduction to this scene. The transition, looking at all of those television monitors. You’ve seen that before. In the first film, when the Agents capture Neo and bring him in, during the first act. The Architect has been watching him the entire time.
But as the Architect is telling Neo that he is the sixth version of The One, Neo points out the obvious. This is all about choice/free will, and it is. You see, the Architect created a perfect world for human beings (remember, to keep their minds occupied while their bodies are used as batteries for the machines.) He created a world in which there was no violence, no war. It was beautiful. But we rejected that, we didn’t accept it. Subtle commentary on humanity right there. So he rebuilt it, to reflect our violent and disgusting history as human beings. But even then, he realized that people ended up rejecting the program, not accepting it. (They’re kind of vague on what that means exactly, to be honest) But, it just doesn’t work.
So, the Architect was stuck. See, he’s a computer basically. His mind is too far gone intellectually to humble himself enough to understand the human psyche. He needs to understand why we won’t accept it, and he is incapable of understanding that. He needs someone else, someone with an intuitive mind who can understand humans.
The Oracle. She figured it out. Humans needed a choice, they weren’t going to accept the Matrix if they were just forced into it. Even if they were only aware of the choice at an unconscious level, that worked a lot better. But only 99% of people accepted it. While the other 1% were allowed to leave, unplug and live in the real world. Obviously, if this goes on for too long, a rebellion would soon begin. Naturally. This was a major problem. They had finally figured out a solution to the Matrix but it would still fail. So they needed something else. A Failsafe, if you will.
Neo. The One. The legend or “prophecy” of the one. See, this person was created for the sole purpose of keeping the 1% distracted, while the One went on their journey and went to the Architect to have the very same conversation he is now having with Neo. He will give them two doors. One to your right leads to salvation and saving Zion. Because what would happen is Neo would step in that door, the program would reset and they would start all over again. Picking out a few members of Zion to rebuild. It’s also revealed that even Zion is a form of control. It’s where humans, the ones who are freed, can go to rebuild humanity. But, it’s all part of the game. They are allowed to build Zion.
Anyway. The door to the right is the one Neo would have to take in order to keep this system, this cycle, flowing. Destruction, rebuilding, Matrix lives, the prophecy is told, the One is found, yada yada, then back to the Architect. Over and over again. This would be the sixth time they have reset the Matrix. But…Neo does not end up choosing that door. He chooses the door to his left, which leads to Trinity.
Thank God he chose this door, by the way. If you think this was stupid, it wasn’t. It was smart. Going this way gives them their only chance at BREAKING THIS CYCLE completely. He had to choose that door. The Oracle needed Neo to choose that door. But how? What could she possibly do to help make sure of this? Why does Neo choose the door? Because of Trinity. So she is important. Their love is important. The Oracle has to make sure Trinity and Neo fall in love in order to make sure that Neo picks the door on the left.
So she tells Trin, in the first movie, she will fall in love with the One. She also hints to Neo that he is waiting for something, the first time he sees her. She really means Trinity but she doesn’t say it outloud. She never does. She says, “I can see why she likes you.” And he doesn’t get it. She’s real careful and sneaky about this. It’s actually brilliant. This was all set up by the Oracle. She got these two to fall in love to ensure that Neo would choose her, allowing them a chance to break the vicious cycle. Even at the end of Revolutions, the Architect tells her, you played a dangerous game.
It is fucking brilliant, I’m sorry, but it is. It took me years to finally understand all of this. The Wachowski’s did not go out of their way to highlight any of this. You have to put the pieces together for yourself. It can be extremely difficult. But a lot of the online websites about the films helped shape my view.
Neo is the result of an equation trying to balance itself out. This is also referring to Smith. Back to their connection. They are opposites, Smith is Neo’s negative. And as Smith grows with power, so does Neo. He is able to control the sentinels outside of the Matrix, he can feel them. Now…this is actually representative of two things. One of them we’ll explore further in the Revolutions talk.
(I’ll finish this later)