The Matrix Revolutions, 4/14/17, 4 Stars
A revolutionary trilogy ends with a visually stunning but horribly paced epilogue to the previous movie. We pick up where we left off at the end of The Matrix Reloaded: Neo (Keanu Reeves) in a coma alongside Bane (Ian Bliss) who is actually a copy of Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) going commando to the real world. Meanwhile, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and the rest of Zion get ready for the final battle to end the war. Meanwhile in the Matrix itself, Neo is wandering around, but long story short, gets back to reality after a philosophical conversation. Neo and Bane wake up, and what follows is what really could have been the second half of a Matrix sequel constructed from Reloaded and this one. Let me explain: Reloaded was the preparation for the battle at Zion, and this was that battle and the conclusion of Neo’s character arc for the whole trilogy. These two movies could be edited into one movie lasting 2.75-3 hours when you cut from both, and would have made sense. As a result, this movie’s pacing is inconsistent, going from slow build-up to maybe catch the viewer up if they had only seen the first two when each were released. Long story short, it loads really fast, then slow, then fast, like a computer with an inconsistent connection, and it’s as annoying as that. Otherwise, the plot coherently wrapped up the story of Neo in a neat little package with a few loose ends should Warner Bros. demand a “Matrix Rebooted” or some other movie. On the bright side, I can happily say I finally came to care about the main cast after three movies. If you think of the trilogy as one story (especially the second and third as two halves of the second half) then this is where Neo, Trinity, Morpheus and one or two others are really characters you care about. It also helps they’re shown with more of a sense of humor than they had in the first one. They manage to change the way I see the characters, but what remains consistent are the amazing visual effects, whether it be the last Matrix fights, the Zion battle, etc, the Wachowskis give us a parting gift in the form of all-out CGI fights that work where they’re placed. However, in the final battle, I have to say their lightning use was excessive to the point I’m still squinting from it as a result (and I thought JJ Abrams has a problem with lens flares). Also, there was some obvious product placement in the train station early on. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, but in the world of the Matrix, it felt so out of place, seeing a Powerade poster in a train station in the Matrix itself really took me out of it. I’ll give them this though: they had it in green, just like the lighting tone they kept for the Matrix scenes, to remind us which reality we’re seeing. What also distinguishes the realities is Don Davis’ soundtrack, which does what it’s been doing since before Neo took the red pill: conveying the appropriate emotions at the right times. Overall, The Matrix Revolutions is a sloppily paced, and visually stunning-yet-hard-to-look-at-sometimes end to an otherwise grand, deep, philosophical Matrix trilogy, with the characters finally becoming ones I can say “I care if this happens to that character or not.” Not every trilogy ends on a high note, but some end on lower ones than others.