Before we start, my buddy Brendan Lasalle did an interview with the BS! Podcast (formerly Bear Swarm). He talks a lot about the new edition of XCrawl, some “good ole’ days” gaming stories, and discusses some wrestling stuff (which I plan to touch on some day). Go check it out!
Now, on to the topic at hand…
I still remember going to see The Matrix back in 1999. I remember how vague the marketing was. I remember walking into that theatre having no idea what I was about to see, and I remember being completely blown away by it. It was revolutionary, no pun intended. It was good, and it was almost universally recognized as good, something that you almost never see in today’s age of internet cynicsm.
It was no secret that there was more on the way. I think it was even before the movie had hit home video (I had it on VHS, it was that long ago) that if it did well, it was planned to be a trilogy. We all waited with baited breath for three long years for the follow-up, The Matrix Reloaded, and then we all started bitching up a storm.
Like a bunch of babyhead robots
Why though? What was so bad about the Matrix sequels that we immediately turned our backs on this thing that had been put on so high a pedastal? There have been sequels that have blatantly disrespected their franchises, sure. Highlander 2 deserves everything it gets, it was an afront to the story, but did the Matrix sequels do that? I don’t think so.
Highlander sucks because aliens…
Personally, I have gone back and forth several times on these movies. I really don’t know how to feel. I think the problems are as deep and complicated as the story itself. We all know the complaints. People say that they became too overindulgent with their effects, reusing the same tricks….and they did. That the allegory of Neo as a Christ-figure was so blantant it boggled the mind…and it did. They say that the films became too pretentious…and they did, one need only watch the scene with Neo and The Architect to see undeniable proof of this.
Let’s see just how much bullshit they’ll put up with…vis a vis
So far there’s not a lot of “defense of” happenning, but I’m getting to that. The point is, I think that if they were attatched to any other franchise, Reloaded and Revolutions would have been perfectly servicable sequels, perhaps even hits. I think the problem with The Matrix as a franchise is The Matrix itself. The first movie was just too good. That’s a terrible defense, isn’t it? I know, but try watching the sequels without the first one…they aren’t that bad.
It can be hard to admit, but it’s true. Let’s think about this. The mansion fight and the freeway chase from Reloaded? Pretty damn cool. The mech battle from Revolutions? Kinda badass. The babyhead robot? Visually striking. The Neo vs. Smith fight at the end of Revolutions? Amazing to watch and a scene that influenced superhero fights in movies for years to come. Most fanboys saw that and thought Wow, maybe they CAN pull off a live-action Dragonball Z movie…then Dragonball Evolution happened and…well, they fucked it up. I won’t be defending that movie.
Fuck you, fuck you so hard! Seriously, dude!
So, basically the Matrix sequels sucked because the first movie was so damn good. How do you rectify a problem like that? As much as it pains me to say, know when to quit. Reloaded and Revolutions were stories that didn’t need to be told. The end of the first film, much like the rest of it, was just right, from an artistic standpoint. Neo threatening the machine collective (who we didn’t yet realize was a baby) and flying away like Superman set the imagination ablaze, and that’s where the story’s end should have remained. Nothing that came next could have satisfied us. More of the same would just be more of the same, while taking it in new directions and expanding it, which they did, could only serve to disappoint.
You know…I’m not sure if I really defended anything there, but I guess it’s something to think about.