Let me confess up front. I haven’t a clue as to how Neo, the Oracle, and the machines combined to defeat Agent Smith. But I still enjoyed “Matrix Revolutions”(M3) more than its
predecessor. Why? Because the movie focused on people:
People who loved.
People who lost loved ones.
People who fought against impossible odds.
People who paid the ultimate sacrifice when they chose to do the right thing.
People who fought against evil.
People consumed with purpose.
And because the focus was on people, I cared.
Sure, the movie had some of the most incredible fight scenes anywhere. But with the movie making resources available today, we expect nothing less. Great fight scenes no longer carry a movie.
Remember “Star Wars 2- Attack of the Clones”? I don’t. That movie had great fight scenes. But I can still recall many of the scenes from “Star Wars” 4,5, & 6. They were movies about characters I cared about.
This explains why “Matrix Reloaded”(M2) was the weakest in the Matrix trilogy. It had great action scenes but its human-interest quotient was low. Even with the Trinity resurrection scene at the end. “Reloaded” seemed to serve no purpose beyond setting the scene for “Revolutions”.
But give me the first “Matrix”(M1) any time. From the exciting opening scenes where Trinity was pursued over the roof tops, to the closing scene of a triumphant Neo now able to fly in the matrix, the movie was focused. The divisions were clear:
blue pill/red pill
And these divisions were played out in the lives of characters we cared about. The movie highlighted one key truth: that the choices of individuals have life changing consequences.
Will Neo choose to follow the white rabbit?
Will he choose the blue pill or the red pill?
Will he return to try to save Morpheus at the risk to his own life?
Will he choose to believe that he can defeat Agent Smith?
Will Cypher choose to betray his friends?
I found this emphasis on the power of individual choices, particularly compelling. (Biblical anthropology speaks unequivocally about the power of choices and that indeed our choices have eternal consequences.)
In a day and age when humankind seems to be at the mercy of many powerful forces – social, political, technological, economic, etc., the temptation is to be passive, indifferent, apathetic. What can one person do? How can the action of any one individual make a difference?
In the “Matrix”(M1), Neo’s character chose to embrace reality over illusion, purpose over meaninglessness, good over evil and love over selfishness. And in making those choices, he set in motion a series of events that changed his world. Talk about a parable for our times. I left the movie theatre energized to make a difference.
Perhaps viewing the “Matrix”(M1) was a virginal experience. No matter how good the subsequent movies in the trilogy, they could never compare to that ‘first encounter’. Maybe.
But “Reloaded”(M2) was basically a bridge. “Revolutions” (M3) was a great action movie.
But the “Matrix”(M1), now that was special.