Things look dire early on, with boring supporting characters spouting Star Trekish technical nonsense or yelling at our heroes as if they were the police chief in a bad cop movie. Zion is still an ugly place, I couldn’t care less whether Link reunites with his girlfriend, and I don’t give a damnobe about Niobe. The introduction of a new actress in the role of the Oracle is distracting, and her scenes verge on self-parody. We also get more of that obnoxious Frenchman and of Monica Belluci’s mouth-watering cleavage, in a kind of pointless scene in a fetishist nightclub. There is one brilliant moment in the first act, though, a Daffy Duck-style throwaway gag in a train station that made me laugh out loud for five minutes.
Then about half an hour into the film, things heat up considerably and the excitement barely lets off for the rest of the running time. While Neo and Trinity take a ship to the scorched surface to get to the Source, the Machines finally drill their way into Zion, unleashing countless Sentinels into the last human city. It’s up to an army of men in big-ass robot-suits with machine guns to try to contain this deadly intense assault and… Gosh, I can’t describe it, but this is HUGE and AWESOME. It’s an all around technical masterwork, a relentless assault on the senses with epic sci-fi action on a level we’ve rarely seen. The Wachowskis have also crafted one final in-Matrix confrontation between Neo and Agent Smith that’s literally earth-shattering, like the ultimate super-hero/super-villain showdown.
As mentioned, I don’t care about most of the characters or the people who play them, but I did feel invested in the fates of original cast members Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving (Laurence Fishburne is ok, but Morpheus doesn’t have to do much here). Weaving in particular is priceless as Agent Smith, who’s even more wicked cool than before, all menace, over-enunciation and batshit-evil insanity! As for Reeves and Moss, they’re the heart and soul of these films. Through the trilogy, we increasingly believe in the One’s absolute power and in Trinity’s absolute love for him. It’s pretty much all about faith, ultimately. That, and incredibly cool action sequences!