11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
**** BIGGER NOT BETTER ****,
This review is from: The Matrix Reloaded (2 Disc Edition)  [DVD] (DVD)
The Matrix Reloaded was one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2003 but it received a less than rapturous response from the critics on its theatrical release and under-performed at the box office, despite making over $275 m to date in the U.S. alone. This is not to say that it's bad. It certainly isn't and for the most part I thoroughly enjoyed The Matrix Reloaded. It's just not as good as the first movie and not as good as expected. Furthermore it is another classic Hollywood example of failing to grasp the simple concept that less is sometimes more. For if the Wachowski brothers are guilty of anything then it is over egging the pudding.
So what's good and what's bad about The Matrix 2? Well, let's start with the good.
First off, The Matrix Reloaded is (in parts) jaw-droppingly spectacular in scale and confidence with three or four breath taking action sequences that go beyond anything else ever attempted on celluloid. This is the all-new flying and exploding upgrade and The Wachowskis, Yuen Wo-Ping and John Gaeta's effects wizards have combined to create some stunningly original sequences. The best of which include; Neo (Keanu Reeves) battling 100 Agent Smiths (Hugo Weaving), a chateau sword-fight and in particular a lengthy freeway set sequence where Neo, Morpheus, Trinity, indulge in a free for all with Agents Johnson, Jackson and the virtually indestructible Merovingian twins. On this basis alone The Matrix Reloaded completely delivers (and then some) exactly what its fans want and the second half of the movie is nothing short of excellent but the first hour in particular contains some very glaring faults.
The biggest thing that is wrong with The Matrix Reloaded is that it is far too long (138 minutes) and full of unnecessary and elongated sequences that could have been trimmed back half an hour or so. Due to this, the opening hour of Reloaded positively labours and the Zion-set opening sequence is at least a quarter of an hour overlong with a rather pointless and frankly rubbish love scene between Trinity and Neo among it's many unnecessary moments. There is also far too much furrowing of Neo's brow and emphasis on cod philosophy (more pretentious than profound) and the nature of choice, free will and reality. Apart from this being far too earnest it is also very much a repetition of everything already discussed in the first movie. Meanwhile, many of the new characters are decidedly underwritten and the likes of Monica Bellucci and Jada Pinkett Smith are frankly wasted. Plus, whilst accepting that this is the middle part of a trilogy, the plot is very linear and by the time the credits roll it could be argued that the story has hardly advanced from the end of part one.
All that said the second half of the movie is very exciting rollercoater ride and succeeds in raising the bar in action and SFX. On this basis alone, Reloaded is still well worth watching and worthy of 4 stars but just be warned, it isn't as good as its five star predecessor...