The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

Rating: ***
Release Date: 11/5/03
Producer: Joel Silver
Written and directed by: Andy and Larry Wachowski
Martial Arts Choreography: Yuen Woo Ping
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Lawrence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith, Ngai Sing, Monica Belucci, Bruce Spence

Well, it's over. If nothing else "The Matrix Revolutions" reminds us of just how good "The Matrix" (1999) was, and how disappointing "The Matrix Reloaded" (2003) was. As far as overall enjoyment goes, I think it falls squarely between the two. After events in "Reloaded" rendered Neo (Keanu Reeves) comatose, he finds himself stuck in a construct that exists as a bridge between the real world and the Matrix. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) must find a way to save him, while the rest of Helm's Deep, er, I mean Zion is bracing for their imminent destruction at the hands of a massive machine army. Neo finally realizes what must be done, and he faces the renegade Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) for the last time in order to save both worlds.

Although ridiculously melodramatic, clichéd, and formulaic, the film certainly is exciting. The epic battle for Zion is thrilling and horrific, with just the right balance of heroic sensationalism, dramatic tension, and emotional dread. Surprisingly, the events that take place inside the Matrix this time around are all rather dull and uninteresting, with the only kung fu goodness going to an extremely brief skirmish with Seraph (Ngai Sing). I really wanted to see more of him in this installment, but alas, no. Thankfully, "Revolutions" ditches the overly preachy philosophical panderings that defined "Reloaded" and goes back to its roots by focusing more on action and the unifying power of love. Effects-wise, the film is quite good, but it definitely uses a much more conservative and straight forward approach. Phil Tippett's hand is prominently seen in the battle sequences, which is quite nice, and more than once I thought of "Superman 2" (1980) during the final showdown between Neo and Smith. Also, for the first time in the series, I actually noticed the soundtrack, whose stirring Carmina Burana refrains perfectly complement the dramatic action. Good stuff. Overall, "Revolutions" wraps everything up nice and tidy, but somehow still seems unfinished and unsatisfying.