The Matrix Reloaded ★★★★

I've been told to not even bother with the Matrix sequels multiple times by different people, so my expectations for this were pretty low. I actually really enjoyed this.

The biggest issue this movie has is how complicated it gets. I understand the Wachowskis are going for a cerebral sci-fi epic, but a lot of times it felt way too self-indulgent and complicated for the sake of being complicated. It reminded me of the Kingdom Hearts sequels. The over-reliance on CGI is also odd, but when you consider they were trying to push the envelope of a new technology, I think it's forgivable. There's a lot of weird/bad cuts though.

It's striking how different this feels from the original. The first film felt like a product of the '90s. It had that, now-what we're all so bored and complacent, end of history, Fight Club, American Beauty sensibility. Reloaded feels like a product of the '00s. It's only 4 years later, but Reloaded feels like a post 9/11, post Phantom Menace, Hollywood blockbuster. For better or for worse.

The action sequences are still great. Yes, they look like a video game at times, but they're creative, well shot, and coherent. All the Kung Fu choreography is excellent. I really enjoyed the phasing dudes on the highway scene. Often it feels like a live-action anime, and I mean that as a compliment. There are things only the Wachowskis would attempt and often it works. The 2-minute rave/sex scene is weird as hell but also creative and unique. It also bothers me that we all act like representation and diversity are something new. Yes, it's gotten much better, but we've had amazing diverse characters before. Trinity and Morpheus are iconic and incredible.

Something is definitely lost by having so much of the film and world building take place outside of the Matrix. The original is a movie about our world being a simulation, and a man stumbling through the rabbit hole and finding out the truth. Reloaded is a movie about a group of resistance fighters who fight and operate in a simulation. I think that's why a lot of people take issue with this movie, it feels like, and is a different movie.

Let's see what's in store for me in Revolutions, but I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would.