Greatest Movie Series
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The Matrix Trilogy

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Matrix Films
The Matrix (1999) | The Matrix Reloaded (2003) | The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

The Matrix Trilogy - Part 2

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
d. Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, 138 minutes

Film Plot Summary

The film opened with a prologue (to be reprised at the film's conclusion), about six months after the events of the first film. In a secure downtown building housing the city's electrical power re-routing facilities, a leather-clad, helmeted woman on a motorcycle crashed through its roof - she battled security guards and then announced by phone: "I'm in" - meaning she had entered the illusory Matrix. She was revealed to be Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) - she dove backwards through a window, viewed in slow-motion "bullet-time," and fell into a labyrinthine space (the walls were actually streaming lines of computer code) toward the street below, while attacked by an Agent. One of the agent's bullets struck her in the heart and she fell to her death into the roof of a parked car. Her love interest "Neo" (Keanu Reeves) abruptly awoke - suffering a horrifying (recurring) dream of her death - but Trinity was there sleeping by his side, onboard the hovercraft the Nebuchadnezzar.

The leader of the rebellion and captain of the ship was Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), who piloted his hovercraft through a sewer pipeline while attempting to avoid "serious Sentinel activity" with his new co-pilot Link (Harrold Perrineau, Jr.). In a tunnel beneath the city's main transit system, Captain Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) of the fast Logos ship in the fleet announced to the captains and first officers of other ships that she had received news from the captain of the Osiris. The underground city of Zion, the last free city of mankind, was threatened by 250,000 tunneling and digging Sentinels, boring from the surface straight down, in order to avoid defenses ("a sentinel for every man, woman and child in Zion"). They were only about three days away from breaking through. Zion's military Commander Lock (Harry J. Lennix) (and the love-interest of Captain Niobe) called for all crews and hovercrafts, including Morpheus' Nebuchadnezzar, to return to Zion for an emergency meeting - to formulate a counter-strategy. Morpheus defiantly declared that he wanted to obey the order, but also had to leave open a way to consult the Oracle -- one ship would have to remain behind (while the Nebuchadnezzar recharged and returned within 36 hours), just in case the Oracle attempted contact. This would be a deliberate act of disobedience toward a direct order. Meanwhile during the meeting, an unidentified agent in the Matrix delivered an envelope, brought to Neo, with the words that it was a gift, to repay Neo: "He set me free." When Neo opened it, the envelope contained an agent's earpiece - a sign to Neo that the gift-giver was a reborn Agent Smith - and that they were about to be attacked.

Neo sensed accurately - he fought off the advances of three identical agents (Thompson, Jackson, and Johnson) - subduing them with a counter-attack combination of blows from his fists and feet. Afterwards, Neo soared off into the sky ("his Superman thing") - and after landing discovered the abandoned home of the Oracle. At the same time, two identical, sinister Agent Smiths (Hugo Weaving), the one that Neo had 'set free' - spoke to each other: "It's happening exactly as before" -- "Well, not exactly." At Zion, the Nebuchadnezzar arrived and docked under navigational guidance from Virtual Control, after which Morpheus was greeted by Captain Mifune (Nathaniel Lees), and escorted to Commander Lock's office. He was reprimanded for disobeying orders: "I don't care about oracles or prophecies or messiahs!" Lock wanted to defend Zion from destruction with obedient armed forces, and threatened to recommend to the Council that recalcitrant Morpheus be removed from active duty. Defying Lock's military solution, Morpheus claimed: "There is only one way to save our city...Neo!" When elderly Councillor Hamann (Anthony Zerbe) entered, Morpheus again asserted, in hopeful terms: "There is nothing to fear. That army won't reach the gates of the past six months, we have freed more minds than in six years. This attack is an act of desperation. I believe very soon the prophecy will be fulfilled and this war will end."

That night at the temple gathering, after a short prayer message from Councillor Hamann, Morpheus delivered a rousing, foreboding speech promoting courage to the inhabitants of Zion, addressing the persistence of rumors and threats:

Zion, hear me. It is true, what many of you have heard. The machines have gathered an army and as I speak, that army is drawing nearer to our home. Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us. But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it. I stand here before you now truthfully unafraid. Why? Because I believe something you do not? No! I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me but because of the path that lies behind me. I remember that for 100 years we have fought these machines. I remember that for 100 years they have sent their armies to destroy us. And after a century of war, I remember that which matters most: We are still here! Tonight, let us send a message to that army. Tonight, let us shake this cave. Tonight, let us tremble these halls of earth, steel, and stone. Let us be heard from red core to black sky. Tonight, let us make them remember: This is Zion and we are not afraid!

Following was a primal dance - a tribal celebration of freedom with loud percussive instruments, and Neo's long-awaited unifying love-making with Trinity.

In the next scene set in an industrial loft, two hovercraft crew-members of Captain Ballard's (Roy Jones, Jr.) ship, the Caduceus: Malachi (Steve Vella) and Bane (Ian Bliss), were assaulted by Agent Smith - Smith copied himself onto Bane -- and from then on, Smith took over Bane's likeness in the Matrix. Soon after in Zion, Ballard reported to Neo that the Oracle was summoning him. Morpheus allowed Neo to travel in the Nebuchadnezzar, with support from Councillor Hamann, to meet with the Oracle in the Matrix. Neo first entered into a tea room in Chinatown, where he was confronted by the Oracle's bodyguard Seraph (Collin Chou) - who delivered a quick flurry of blows, kicks, flips, etc. until he determined that Neo was not an enemy: "I had to be sure...that you are the one...You do not truly know someone until you fight them." He was then led to a 'back-door' hallway with many identical access doors -- Neo was invited through one of the doors to the Oracle (Gloria Foster), who was seated on a park bench in a tenement park, feeding black birds.

The Oracle revealed that she was part of the Matrix - she was an exiled computer program threatened with deletion that was hiding there. This prompted Neo to voice his primary concern: "How can I trust you?" She replied that he had to either accept what she told him, or reject it - the decision was his alone. The Oracle also disclosed that he must go to the Source of the Matrix, the machine mainframe. Neo was destined to travel there - it was "where the path of the One ends. You've seen it in your dreams, haven't you? A door made of light." She asked what he saw when he entered the door, and he answered that he saw "something bad" - in his dream, Trinity was starting to fall, but he would always wake up before seeing her death. She advised: "We can never see past the choices we don't understand." He had to accept and understand his 'already-made' choice about Trinity's fate, and if he failed, Zion would fall. At the end of their talk, the Oracle instructed Neo to save Zion by reaching the Source of the Matrix (and ultimately destroy it), via the Keymaker, who could open any portal hidden in the Matrix. However, the Keymaker was presently imprisoned in the chateau of a "dangerous," power-hungry Frenchman-like program called the Merovingian.

After the Oracle departed, Neo saw the approach of Agent Smith -- who summarized their previous encounter. [At the end of the original film, Smith was apparently destroyed.] Agent Smith had first killed 'Mr. Anderson' ("I watched you die"), and then something "impossible" happened -- "Neo" was resurrected and as Smith recalled: "You destroyed me, Mr. Anderson." After his defeat, Agent Smith knew the rules - he was supposed to return to the Matrix's Source for deletion, but he claimed: "I didn't. I couldn't. I was compelled to stay, compelled to disobey." From then on, Smith stated that he was no longer an agent of the Matrix, with a compelling duty to remove its threats: "I've changed. I'm unplugged" - a new man, "apparently free." But with convoluted reasoning, Agent Smith then asserted that he was not really free, because he no longer had a purpose - "without purpose, we would not exist. It is purpose that created us, purpose that connects us, purpose that pulls us." He demonstrated how he could instantly clone himself into dozens of copies - and that his new purpose was to take Neo's "purpose" away from him. Neo was shown how Smith could assimilate another's body (as he did with Bane), but Neo resisted and fought off the numerous clones. When he sensed he was outnumbered, he was forced to flee.

Back at the Zion Council Chamber, it was suggested that a ship or two be deployed to ascertain the fate of the Nebuchadnezzar and the One, although Commander Lock counter-argued that they couldn't afford to deplete their defensive forces. Captain Soren of the Vigilant and Captain Niobe of the Logos volunteered to aid Morpheus, and their two crafts departed.

Neo, Morpheus and Trinity entered a Stock Exchange elevator, and took it up to a fancy French restaurant, where they were introduced by the Maitre D' to the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson), who was seated with his duplicitous, rebelliously sexy wife Persephone (Monica Bellucci) and ghostly, pale henchmen Twin Agents (Adrian and Neil Rayment). Their mission was to get to the Keymaker, and they were able to rescue him with assistance from Persephone, who summoned them from their departing elevator. In the men's room, she appeared fed up with her husband's infidelity, calling him a "pompous prick." In exchange for a passionate "sample" kiss with Neo (treacherous Persephone told Neo while referring to his lover Trinity: "I want you to kiss me as if you were kissing her"), she promised to deliver them to the Keymaker. When she was satisfied with his ecstatic kiss, she said: "Yes, that's it. (To Trinity) I envy you. But such a thing is not meant to last." As she led them to the Keymaker (Randall Duk Kim), an older Japanese gentleman working in a locksmith shop, she shot dead one of the Merovingian's older-model, exiled assistant guards, and told a second one to relay news of her betrayal to her husband, who was cheating on her (receiving oral sex) in the ladies' room with a beautiful woman. The Merovingian's guards and Neo fought in the chateau at the start of a long and dangerous chase-pursuit sequence. As Neo held them off, Morpheus and Trinity fled to the city's freeway with the Keymaker, where the pursuit was taken up by the ghost Twins, other Agents, and police officers - involving cars, a two-person motorcycle, and a semi-truck. The Keymaker was eventually rescued when Captain Niobe, Morpheus and a flying Neo came to his rescue.

Thousands and thousands of Sentinels were now a little over nine hours away from breaking through into Zion. The Keymaker described to the crews of the three ships (the Logos, the Vigilant, and the Nebuchadnezzar) how their goal was to enter a building (a towering structure of glass and steel), where there was one level (unreachable by elevator or stairs) with many doors leading to "hidden places." He specified that one door led to the Source of the Matrix. They would need to shut down the security system of the building ("Every alarm triggers the bomb") - by disarming the electrical system ("No electricity, no alarms"). Twenty-seven city blocks would also be affected. The electrical power station had to be destroyed (by the crew of the Logos), and the core network of the grid had to be accessed in order to deactivate the backup emergency system (in the rerouting power-station building seen in the film's prologue) (by the crew of the Vigilant). The Keymaker cautioned that only Neo could open the door, and that they would have only 314 seconds (a window of time) once the door was opened.

In the film's concluding action sequence, the complex and coordinated effort was undertaken. Around midnight (when there was a shift change in security), a bomb was detonated in the power plant by the Logos crew (and the lights of the city began to extinguish), but at the same time, the supporting crew in the cockpit of the Vigilant was sabotaged while destroying the backup power station - their craft was hit with an incoming explosive bomb device thrown by a Sentinel and the crew members lost their lives. As a result of their unexpected deaths, the back-up emergency system kicked in almost instantly and power began to be re-routed - lights began to switch back on throughout the city. Meanwhile, Neo, Morpheus, and the Keymaker entered into the portal -- a "back-door" hallway-corridor in the tall building -- and were searching for a way in. With the power back on, Link (in the Nebuchadnezzar) was gravely concerned that the alarm systems would be triggered: "As soon as they open that door, it's all over." Trinity responded: "The hell it is," and she entered the Matrix to assist them. Riding on a motorcycle, she literally flew into the backup power re-routing facility inside the city, and raced to the 65th floor.

In the monolithic building's hallway, the trio found Agent Smith standing in front of them, claiming that it was a dead-end. He also dared Morpheus to shoot him -- "The best thing about being me, there's so many 'me's'." Dozens of versions of Agent Smith rushed at them from multiple doorways and filled the hallway, and Smith began to assimilate Morpheus into himself. In the backup re-routing facility, Trinity was able to successfully deactivate the power grid, and the lights of the city again extinguished, allowing the Keymaker to open the proper doorway with the right key, without setting off an alarm. Neo grabbed Morpheus and they flew through the portal doorway, held open by the Keymaker. Link exclaimed: "They're in." Lethally wounded by bullets shot by the Agents, the Keymaker was dying: "It was meant to be." Before expiring, he pointed to another door that would take Morpheus home. He also gave a key to Neo - the key to the door leading to the Source: "You will know which door."

Neo entered a control room doorway and was bathed by white light. He was confronted by the Matrix's software creator, a god-like, white-clad, white-bearded older man named The Architect (Helmut Bakaitis) in a room filled with a bank of video displays reflecting Neo's image and thoughts. During a long philosophical discussion about multiple versions of the Matrix, Neo was told by the anthropomorphic program that he was in the sixth version of the Matrix, and he was therefore the sixth One. (Meanwhile, Trinity found herself in a lethal duel in the re-routing facility with Agent Jackson - the scene from the film's prologue.) The Architect further discussed how humanity had been given the power of "choice" (a systemic computer anomaly) after earlier iterations of the Matrix (including an initial flawless one) had been rejected. Zion existed because it housed a minority of resistive bodies or minds that had rejected the Matrix. The current Matrix was flawed and unbalanced, and Neo, as the One, had been called upon to return to the Source, destroy the current Matrix (and reset it), and therefore free humanity. The current Zion would be destroyed for the sixth time - and it would then be restarted or reloaded within the Matrix, with a rebuilt population of humans. If the One refused to resolve things, the human race would ultimately become extinct:

You are here because Zion is about to be destroyed...This will be the sixth time we have destroyed it....The function of the One is now to return to the Source, allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting the prime program, after which you will be required to select from the Matrix 23 individuals: 16 female, seven male, to rebuild Zion. Failure to comply with this process will result in a cataclysmic crash, killing everyone connected to the Matrix, which coupled with the extermination of Zion, will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race.

Neo responded that the machines needed human beings to survive, and wouldn't allow widespread extinction. The Architect grimly retorted that without humans, "there are levels of survival we are prepared to accept." He also knew that Neo's lover, Trinity had self-sacrificially entered the Matrix, and now Neo was given a crucial personal choice - between saving and rebuilding Zion by entering the Source and resetting the Matrix, or attempting to rescue Trinity in the Matrix (and thereby refusing to cooperate with the machines, and allowing the failure of the Matrix and destruction of humanity): "There are two doors. The door to your right leads to the Source and the salvation of Zion. The door to your left leads back to the Matrix, to her and to the end of your species." The Architect cautioned that it was already determined that Trinity was going to die and there was nothing Neo could do to stop it. As Neo moved to the door on the left to make the irrational choice of saving her, the Architect chuckled: "Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength and your greatest weakness."

Nevertheless, black-suited superman Neo chose to save Trinity - he flew toward her and caught her body in mid-air moments before she hit the parked car (he finally faced the end of his nightmarish dream). Cradling her, he flew to the rooftop of another city skyscraper, placed her down, reached inside of her and extracted the bullet from her chest. He wouldn't let her die - he stimulated and revived her heart, and then he kissed her.

Back on the Nebuchadnezzar, Morpheus told Neo that he was confused about what had happened: "Once the One reaches the Source, the war should be over." Neo predicted that the war would be over, but in 24 hours, and he claimed that Morpheus' prophecy of the One was a lie: "The One was never meant to end anything. It was all another system of control." Alarms sounded as menacing Sentinels continued to threaten the hull of the Nebuchadnezzar. Neo sensed there was an incoming "bomb" and that they had to immediately evacuate the ship to save themselves. They escaped just before their craft exploded in flames, as Morpheus noted its demise: "I have dreamed a dream, but now that dream has gone from me." The group was about to be attacked, when Neo sensed that something was different: "I can feel them." He raised his hand and used a newfound, unknown ability to shut down and destroy the striking Sentinels (with an EMP-like shockwave), and then he collapsed to the ground. The Hammer craft arrived and saved them, and a comatose Neo was placed on a medical table in the ship's infirmary, with Trinity by his side. In the ship's mess hall, the crew discussed the fate of Zion. Supposedly, "someone screwed it up" - an EMP was triggered before Commander Lock's pre-emptive, counter-attacking resistance ships could get into position, and five ships instantly went down. Ultimately, all were destroyed when the machines broke through: "It wasn't a battle. It was a slaughter."

The film ended with a cliffhanger: unconscious Neo was lying, in a mirror image (seen from top view), across from the "only one" who had survived the massacre at Zion - Bane/Agent Smith. Was he a suspected traitor?

Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)

These next two films in the series, released 6 months apart from each other, were not actually stand-alone films, but a continuous story - each comprising one-half.

With many of the same characters from the original film.

With a production budget of $150 million, and box-office gross receipts of $281 million (domestic) and $738 million (worldwide).

Set-pieces: Neo's three martial-arts fights: against the Oracle's bodyguard Seraph, against cloned Agent Smiths, and against the henchmen of Merovingian in his castle; and the lengthy freeway pursuit-chase sequence.

"Neo"/Mr. Anderson
(Keanu Reeves)

(Carrie-Anne Moss)

(Laurence Fishburne)

(Harrold Perrineau, Jr.)

Captain Niobe
(Jada Pinkett Smith)

Commander Lock
(Harry J. Lennix)

Agent Smith
(Hugo Weaving)

Captain Mifune
(Nathaniel Lees)

Councillor Hamann
(Anthony Zerbe)

Bane/Agent Smith
(Ian Bliss)

(Collin Chou)

The Oracle
(Gloria Foster)

The Merovingian
(Lambert Wilson)

(Monica Bellucci)

The Keymaker
(Randall Duk Kim)

The Twins
(Adrian and Neil Rayment)

The Architect
(Helmut Bakaitis)

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