Six months after the events depicted in The Matrix, Neo has proved to be a good omen for the free humans, as more and more humans are being freed from the matrix and brought to Zion, the one and only stronghold of the Resistance. Neo himself has discovered his superpowers including super speed, ability to see the codes of the things inside the matrix and a certain degree of pre-cognition. But a nasty piece of news hits the human resistance: 250,000 machine sentinels are digging to Zion and would reach them in 72 hours. As Zion prepares for the ultimate war, Neo, Morpheus and Trinity are advised by the Oracle to find the Keymaker who would help them reach the Source. Meanwhile Neo's recurrent dreams depicting Trinity's death have got him worried and as if it was not enough, Agent Smith has somehow escaped deletion, has become more powerful than before and has fixed Neo as his next target.
The mastery of filmmaking hasn't abated in "Reloaded" — the Wachowskis are as suited to the task of guiding this sequel to their surprise 1999 hit as their unsure hero, Neo (Keanu Reeves), is to saving the world. Though the staging of the action sequences is as viciously elegant as you've been primed to expect, there's a dispiriting more-of-the-same aspect to the picture. The mentor Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and the virtual villain Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) also return, and a whole new group of characters surface as Neo, his lover, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), and the crew continue to fight the oppressive forces threatening to eliminate humanity and the hidden city of Zion. As the middle film of a trilogy, "Reloaded" seeks to increase the emotional stakes — which it doesn't quite accomplish — while leaving enough of a cliffhanger that audiences will be bedeviled enough to flock back into the tents for the last portion. The directors pay their audiences the unlikely compliment of taking them seriously. Unfortunately, they take themselves too seriously. However, "Reloaded" has one of the most excitingly subversive and radical points of view ever seen in a major motion picture — a postmodern purview that accords philosophical ideals from people of color equal weight. This includes the warmhearted spotlight given to Gloria Foster, who returns as Oracle, the source of all knowledge for Neo. — Elvis Mitchell
2003-05-14 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of The Matrix Reloaded