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Review The Matrix Trilogy (1991-2003): Despite it's many flaws this is a classic and iconic trilogy for sure!

genre: science fiction, action, adventure

In 1999 I went to the cinema and watch The Matrix. I had no idea what it was going to be about and how big it would become. But once I finished watching I realized I had seen one of the best films in film history. Now I am first to admit that it is heavily flawed but especially compared to the sequels definitely did a lot of things right. 

First of all The Matrix keeps you in the dark about it's universe and the characters. Through Neo, step by step you learn more and more. What is The Matrix? That was the question that was lingering throughout. It was totally compelling and thrilling. Same could be said about Neo being The One. Neo himself has no idea who he is. Morpheus knows. And believes. Well, he and Trinity are very firm believers. Not every character thinks so. They can hardly blamed as they are very aware of the dire situation they are in. 

But what really blew our minds back then were the visuals, the special effects and the action. Mind you the action was inspired and derived from Eighties and Nineties Hong Kong Cinema. No matter what you say in those two decades Hong Kong gave us the best action ever produced. And it still continues to inspire Hollywood. Or do you think John Wick would have existed without it? Think again. The Wachowskis even hired one of the best action and martial arts choreographer in the world, Yuen Woo-Ping. Without him The Matrix would not be what it is. He actually made Keanu Reeves, Trinity, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving look like they were true martial artists. 

Granted if you aren't into martial arts or action then it is very possible that The Matrix might not be that appealing. Although I do think that the science fiction elements are extremely well done and still have an impact today. As they do give you food for thought. What is reality? When is something real? Does something need to be physical and tangible? Or already when you think or dream it is? Are machines to be feared? Or are humans the ones we need to look out for? What would you choose? The red pill or the blue pill? Where in the hell can I get those cool outfits and glasses?

The Matrix is an action packed thrill ride from start to finish. Back then I had no idea that The Matrix was going to be a trilogy. As I was concerned The Matrix finished strongly. Imagine my surprise when I heard sequels were coming. I was ecstatic. 

For a long time The Matrix Reloaded was a big favourite of mine. I am very aware that compared to the original it's even more flawed and certainly more convoluted. However visually and action wise it was far more spectacular. Even if some of the CGI was very obvious and fake looking. But honestly, I didn't care. Pure because of it's awesomeness. Neo fighting hundreds of Smiths never gets old. Hell, it's one of those classic moments that I kept playing over and over again in Path of Neo.

When you already have seen The Matrix Reloaded multiple times the viewing experience can get a tiny bit boring in certain sequences. Mainly because it contains mystery elements that aren't mysterious to you any more. It's at these moments where you realize The Wachowskis didn't go deep enough. They easily could have put a spin or several spins on the narrative to make you doubt continually. What if The Matrix is a figment of Neo's imagination? What if he is just an ordinary person like you and me living a plain life?

The Matrix Reloaded very clearly is focused on action, action and more action. The plot basically serves to tie events together and to show us more of the world and it's inhabitants. In hindsight the whole plot concerning The Merovingian could have been left out and it would not have made of a difference. One of the most compelling elements that is tied to him is downplayed and discussed in such a casual way that it's easily missed. Ghosts, werewolves and vampires are part of his crew. Now he explains how and why they are possible with this world but to not have them heavily featured in the films is a missed opportunity. Why not have some sequences where it's shown what The Merovingian refers to? Because it would then more tension and suspense would be added. 

But the shear insanity of what is displayed on the screen is mesmerizing. In essence The Matrix Reloaded is trying to top the original just because they can.

I think The Matrix Revolutions was the first part that disappointed me. In my opinion the ending is quite weak and too biblical. Yes I am aware that Neo is meant to be a Jesus like figure. Still doesn't mean the ending couldn't be dark and negative. 

Although it is claimed that the ending is ambiguous. That can be argued since The Architect from The Matrix Reloaded basically tells you everything you need to know about the fate of Neo and the humans. It's pretty grim and pessimistic. Only do you care? Or let me rephrase that. Are you made to care enough? I think it is in this aspect The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix revolutions dropped the ball. 

However this is not the part that had me disappointed. It was the big battle between the humans and machines that I found to be underwhelming. I had expected much more death and dramatic impact. The way it played out was far too convenient and predictable. Also seeing how big Zion was it should have been bigger and more spectacular. 

Another thing that didn't feel right was the almost complete abandonment of bullet time and the ultra stylistic combat. It's done to emphasize the raw and realistic nature of the war without actually showing the reality of war. The devastation should have been bigger.

I do have to admit that The Matrix Revolutions is my least re watched title and that for the sake of fairness I should watch it again soon to see if I still feel the same. 

Despite it's many flaws I can't deny that I did like it for the most part. And that I do love the entire franchise for it's entertainment value. The Matrix trilogy had an impact on me and continues to do so. Therefore it is definitely a franchise I can recommend. 

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