Prayer Focus
Movie Review

The Matrix Reloaded

MPAA Rating: R for sci-fi violence and some sexuality.

Reviewed by: Travis Carl
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Sci-fi Action
Length:
2 hr. 18 min.
Year of Release:
2003
USA Release:
May 15, 2003
'The Matrix: Reloaded,' courtesy of Warner Bros. Keanu Reaves in “Matrix Reloaded,” courtesy of Warner Bros.

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett-Smith | Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski | Produced by: Joel Silver | Written by: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski | Distributor: Warner Brothers

Perhaps the Wachowski Brothers should have titled the second film in their trilogy, “The Matrix: Overloaded” as this movie takes all the positive elements of the first and reuses them to absolute excess. And in this case, more is definitely not better. Lampooning the philosophical doublespeak that runs rampant through the film, I heard a comedian tell his host to ask him what “The Matrix: Reloaded” was like…

Host: Okay what was it like?

Comedian: Look for the question within yourself and you shall know what it was like.

That summed it up pretty well. The intriguing mystery that drew us into the first “Matrix” kicks into high gear, leaving us lost in the program and searching for a solid plot point to hold on to. Similarly, since watching Neo fight one Agent Smith looked cool the first time around, this time he fights 50 Agent Smiths. Of course, if you get bored watching such visually stunning, but incredibly long action sequences, they’ve also thrown in one abjectly offensive orgy to entertain you. In a scene that is completely irrelevant, ridiculous and, frankly, not at all sexy, the screenwriters manage to undermine their hero and cheapen their film all at the same time. It really is too bad; whereas the first movie was a great sci-fi flick to discuss with teens, I wouldn’t recommend taking them—especially boys—to this one.

'The Matrix: Reloaded,' courtesy of Warner Bros.

All that is not to say the film isn’t entertaining. As we cruise into the underground world of Zion—the last human city—we are treated to a cinematic landscape that fires the imagination in a way not experienced since the first “Star Wars” trilogy. Keanu Reeves is back as Neo, the pretty but constantly-confused hacker who is hailed as a savior by a small group of humans who have unplugged from the Matrix. The Matrix, in case you’ve forgotten, is a simulated-reality created by machines to enslave mankind so they can harvest the energy from their comatose human bodies. At this point in the trilogy, the final war to decide Zion’s fate is about to take place, and our heroes make a desperate journey into the Matrix to solicit the advice of the Oracle before heading into battle.

For those who enjoyed the Christian symbolism of the first film, prepare to be disappointed. Though the spiritual parallels (such as free will versus predestination and the way materialism blinds us to reality) are revisited, this Messiah bears no resemblance to our own. Besides his sexual relationship with Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss), he accomplishes all of his missions through brute force and seems swayed by any mystical wind blowing his way. Don’t search too hard to find Scripture here—there’s just as much Hinduism and Buddhism running through this story as there is Christianity. A couple other problems include some very obvious computer-generated images (for goodness sake, in some scenes the CGI Keanu Reeves only resembles the real one in that he has light skin and dark hair) and the film poses many questions it doesn’t even begin to answer. Still, they’ve definitely got our attention. Let’s just hope the Wachowski Brothers find the answers to our questions and work out the bugs in the system before releasing The Matrix 3.0.

Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—The movie has major overtones of Christianity similar to the first movie. This one takes it a step further and encourages the reader to identify with Neo (the chosen one) and Morpheus (the true believer) as they dig deeper into development of their personal lives, rather than their exciting action sequences (which, by the way, this film has many!) The movie takes a silly foray into the sexual side of things and the scenes offered no relevance or depth to the movie, rather, detracted from the quality of the movie. All in all—I give the movie high ratings on the elements of cinematography, but give it negative ratings for throwing in a sex scene that was all but useless and was, in my judgment, simply a way to get more people to watch the movie.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Randy Townley, age 29
Positive—Fans who enjoyed unraveling the labyrinthine references and hidden messages in the original Matrix will not be disappointed in the sequel. The movie is fast-paced, but bogs down when attempting to overtly explain itself to viewers in long monologues. The freeway action sequence is literally terrifying. A great movie as a jumping-off point for discussions about the nature of reality and the importance of free will. Best for older viewers; some nudity, sexual content.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Erin Fairweather, age 38
Positive—When I first sat down to watch the movie, my wife and I were completely stunned at the graphic sexual overtones, opting to at that point turn our heads completely, and just wait until the whole scene was over. I looked at my wife and said, “There is absolutely no revelation in this movie.” But I sat there anyway, and it began unveiling itself as the movie went on. We all look at Neo as the savior, but what about the key master? In the same respect that Jesus took the keys from the devil, the keymaster understood that there are many doors on the path, but only one leads to the architect. Jesus, the true keymaster, laid down his life that we may find the narrow path, He is the gate.

In the same way the keymaster took a bullet so that the prophecy may be fulfilled. Neo chose love over the other One’s before him, and when he did, was imbued with supernatural abilities within the matrix far beyond what he had experienced before. So once Neo made it back to the “Real World” he felt different. He said “something is different, I can feel them.” And he immediately stopped the advance of the enemy, through his understanding of love, he was able to unlock more power, even in the natural. I loved this movie. It had great revelation in it, and the Lord loves to take the silly things to confound the wise.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—James, age 25
Positive—I feel that this matrix is actually an improvement on the first. I would generally agree that the fight scenes were a little longer than enjoyable, but at the same time they are (probably) the most impressive fights to ever be seen in a movie. It’s just that too much of a special effect kills excitement in the end. The oft hated monologues were in fact the greatest thing about this movie. People (esp. Christians) like for things to be clear cut and understandable, and so resent things that confuse them. Certainly this movie isn’t by any means resolved yet, and the philosophical questions keep us guessing just as the first movie did. Just as God never asks easy questions, or gives easy answers—neither do the Wachowski Brothers. We are asked to think about everything, and not just accept what other people tell us.

My other love of the monologues was the classical, stage play like feel they gave the movie. I find it appalling that so many people got bothered by something that was the mainstay of the grandfather of movies. As far as the lack of plot: it had as much a plot as the fist one, more so probably when you consider it’s still unresolved. I will also agree with most people that the sex/rave scene was some what gratuitous considering the overall frame of the movie. However, I found it more appalling that the love between Trinity and Neo never seemed to rise above any sexual desire level.

I would have like to feel more commitment between the two. If we were convinced that these two were married (they practically are) would we still be able to call that scene “immoral”? Perhaps just gratuitous. In the end, I fell that the Matrix Reloaded takes us on a deeper, harder ride that the first Matrix began. And in the end, we still ask, “What is the Matrix?” Answers in the Matrix—like the real world—often lead to more questions.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Josiah Biggs, age 20
Neutral
Neutral—I feel they could have left the love scene out. We know Neo loves Trinity. But as for the special effects, it was great. And though there was a lot of fighting (mostly martial arts), there really was not a lot of killing and nothing gory. There was hardly any bad language in the film, which these days is a surprise in itself. To meit was a good entertaining movie with no real purpose except to entertain.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/ 5]
—Vikki Berry, age 43
Neutral—As a Christian, I remain ambivalent about “The Matrix” films. Once again, the story unfolds in with many layers and highly intriguing subject matter. This time, the theme is freewill versus determination or predestination. Hopefully, people will leave seriously pondering the question and pursuing biblical answers. Unfortunately, the sex scene, that has an orgy-like quality and lasts a long time, compromises our standards of sexual purity and is one of the worst scenes I’ve seen.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 4]
—Chris, age 39
Neutral—Remember that philosophy class where you never quite understood what was going on? Add a touch of Sci-Fi and you’ll get “Matrix Reloaded”. From a viewing standpoint, there are scenes that did not leave a good impression, specifically the erotic showing of Neo and Trinity’s love scene and the dance party at Zion. The rest of the movie is seeped in special effects, fight scenes, and long chases that are fun to watch. I enjoyed the ethnicity of this movie especially, because most sci-fi movies are too white. This movie raises questions about predestination, causality, and life purpose. Not a movie I would take any child under sixteen to see, and as a grown man, there were times I looked away. If you are up for a thinking movie it provides good material concerning theological questions.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—David Mergens, age 21
Negative
Negative—I feel that I must warn anyone who is planning on seeing this movie that, to my dismay, there was a scene which I would have thought would have merited at least an NC 17 rating. My husband and I were completely unprepared to see such graphic sexual content. There was a good plot (and of course, ended in a cliffhanger), but I became quickly bored with the redundant chase and fight scenes. At one point, I left to get popcorn and returned 10 minutes later to find the same chase still going on.

All in all, with the pornography cut out, and the special effects extravaganza shortened to a reasonable percentage of the movie, this could have been a fantastic film. It was far less graphically voilent than the first, and does have a good plot line. Unfortunately, as it is, it’s just another example of how immoral our society has become.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/ 3]
—Susie Paquet, age 35
Negative—First off, I loved the first “Matrix”. But I would have to say that I am in awe at what they did here. My only thoughts while watching was Sodom and Gamorah. It was awful. Sex, some rather vulgar scenes, the fighting scenes were so long you actually got bored. My thoughts were to actually walk out. I was so disappointed. It can’t be that hard to make a movie with out the junk. This one could have been so much better. Yes, the graphics were great, cool outfits, and cool people. Morally it stunk! This is one that I will not be ownning or seeing again.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Kelli M Hobson, age 30
Negative—This movie was not only offensive it was also poorly made. There is literally no plot to the whole thing. Everything is summed up in a five minute conversation in the end. I gave this an extremely offensive rating for a couple of things, but the biggest part of that is the five-minute plus orgy scene. It ruined an already bad movie. Avoid this movie at all costs. If you want to know what happened, ask someone who saw it, they can sum it up in 25 words.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1]
—Warren, age 33
Negative—As a fan of the first film, I went into this film expecting watchable things. What a I got was language that is unacceptable (God’s name in vain, condemning everything to hell), a scene that is reminescent of the reason God why destroyed Sodom and Gommorah, and an explicit scene of intercourse between someone who is meant to be a ficticious messianic figure and the woman who belives in him. Take all this away and you are left with a movie that is so disjointed that all the scenes seem irrational. Add the fact that Jesus is mentioned only in a fake world while other religions are prominently discussed in the real world (universalism) left me convicted for not walking out of a sneak preview. We spent two enjoyable hours in line to sit through two hours of trash that mocked Christianity and moral values. Do not waste your time or God’s money on this filth. It is not fit for adults much less young people.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1]
—Stephen Mashburn, age 49