Okay, having just seen The Matrix Reloaded for the second time, I can now say with authority that the movie was quite a let-down from the promise of the original. Sure it had great special effects and some killer action sequences, but the story itself was fairly boring and repetitive. To explain why I feel that way, it's necessary to discuss some details of the film, so stop reading if you haven't seen it yet.
And, before I get e-mails from people telling me that I didn't like Reloaded because I didn't understand it, please spare me your wrath, because I understand the film all too well... I've studied Nietzsche, and have a firmer grasp on the philosophical concepts of "free will" and "choice" than most people do, so everybody claiming to like Reloaded simply because you think it makes you look smart, can just skip the rest of this post but, for the rest of you, here it goes:
The reason I didn't like this movie is that it failed to engage me for the duration. There were always "stoppers" in the way of the story's flow that made it impossible to really get absorbed into the world that the Wachowski Brothers have created. Inane strips of boredom that repeat the same theme over and over again until you find yourself slipping into a coma until the next cool action sequence arrives. How many times do we need to hear about machines and humans needing each other to survive and the consequences of making choices? We get to hear both themes repeated so often that I find myself amazed that there are people that don't understand the film's concept... first that ridiculously dull walk that Neo takes with the head council guy, then again from the Oracle, once more from the Merovingian, and yet again from the Architect. Holy crap... we get it already! And let me add to my complete frustration with the incredibly stupid Zion rave dance sequence, which has been dissed to death on every review I've read. What was the point? I'm sure it was intended to show a celebration of humanity that is worth fighting and dying for, but all it did was grind the movie to a screeching halt. Too many moments like this made me long for a good editor to step in and tighten the story to a watchable pace (and fix the gawd-awful time shifting that destroys the final action sequences as the three teams attempt to break into "The Source").
Enough with the bad, anything good? Well, I was pretty entertained by the action... the freeway chase sequence is astounding to a degree that I would gladly pay another $7 just to see those 15 minutes again. The fights are a bit repetitive, but fun to watch. Monica Bellucci (as Persephone) is breathtaking. And Morpheus' line to Agent Smith: "Does that include a bullet from this gun?" is easily the best line from a movie since Trinity's "Dodge this" in the original. I also like the fact that the film has a decent puzzle in it... is the "real world" that people think is real actually just another level of the Matrix for further control? Did Neo and Agent Smith (in his Zion-acquired body) escape the "Matrix within a Matrix" altogether and make it to the real real world, which is why they ended up in comas at the end? I guess we'll find out in six months.