'Revolutions' is finally here. The final installment in an epic trilogy, and the second half of a single movie kickstarted by 'Matrix Reloaded', 'Revolutions' is a monster of a film that meets or exceeds almost all expectations. Trilogies are notoriously difficult works to close. So many expectations to be met, so many threads to be knotted. 'Revolutions' handles all of this with ease, and manages to be one of the greatest movies of its' genre since the original. 'Revolutions' is not just a movie. It is nothing less than a screaming exclamation mark on the end of the greatest science fiction sentence written in the past twenty years.
The movie picks up right where 'Reloaded' left off. Neo is trapped between the human and machine worlds, and a copy of Agent Smith has leaked out of the Matrix. After consulting a new manifestation of the Oracle, Morpheus and Trinity approach the Merovingian to negotiate Neo's release. As one might expect, the negotiations are rather... agressive. Meanwhile, an army of machine sentinels is drawing closer to Zion, and preparations for a last stand are underway. Commander Lock is determined to meet the machines at the entrance of the city. The human forces will deny them entrance, or die trying.
After Neo escapes his prison, he realizes that the battle for humanity will not take place at the gates of Zion, but at the very heart of the machine's stronghold. While the battle for the last free human city rages, Neo and Trinity journey to the machine city, and prepare for the inevitable showdown with Agent Smith. The architect has planned the future of the world for several generations, but now everything is up in the air. The fate of both races depends now only on choice, predetermination be damned. Everything that has come before is meaningless now. In 'Reloaded' Neo made a choice never taken before, and now all bets are off.
The movie is truly one of epic scope. With the beginnings of the overarching themes laid down in 'Reloaded', 'Revolutions' concentrates on expanding upon them, and aiming towards resolution. The film examines the importance and meaning of choice, as well as the ultimate need for balance inherent in any system - be it organic or mechanical. Character development in 'Revolutions' is perphaps one of the movie's strongest points. Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity are all explored thoroughly, and as in the theme, they each must make a choice which will forever change their lives. The Wachowski brothers have done an excellent job of crafting believable characters and allowing to them to grow in meaningful ways. It's a pleasure to see that 'Revolutions' didn't degenerate into a shallow action flick, as it easily could have.
Speaking of action, it's spectacular, fantastic, awe-inspiring - choose any superlative you want. This time around, most of it takes place in the real world. In a sense, that's a disappointment, as we've grown used to the jaw-dropping action sequences that can only take place in the Matrix. However, 'Revolutions' replaces this loss with one of the most action-packed sequences in movie history. The battle for Zion includes thousands of sentinels, and a series of mechs emptying chainguns into them. (seriously, that's a movie in itself!). The special effects surpass verbal description, looking realistic all the time. The final stand of humanity is a truly a landmark in cinematic history. 'Revolutions' is what every action movie wanted to be, and then some. It's amazing watching it unfold.
Although fights taking place in the Matrix are largely done away with, there are two of note. Aside from the aforementioned 'negotiations' with the Merovingian, 'Revolutions' treats us to the final apocalyptic battle between Neo and Mr. Smith. Though rife with visual effects, the film has shied away from the mistakes of 'Reloaded', namely close-up shots of animated characters. Although much of the final fight is animated, you wouldn't know it just by looking (well, you know, but you cant' tell). Cue one of the most beautiful scenes of the movie - Neo and Agent Smith walking towards each other in an incredible deluge of unearthly rain is one of the most silently impressive sequences you will see in the next couple of years.
The cinematography is simply gorgeous. From the dirty streets of Zion, to dull metal of the Armoured Personnel Units, everything is meticulously designed, and carefully shot. Some of the best scenes are at the end of the movie, as Neo approaches the machine city. We've had only hints before, of the fields of human batteries, or the machine constructs that run them. Now, everything is revealed. Glossy black metals with inhuman red lights are the feeling here. We're introduced to a new plethora of machines, each all disturbingly organic in it's own right. Everything is reminiscent of H.R. Geiger, and the welded dichotomy of organic and mechanical life is truly beautiful to behold. One can only wonder about how much of natural life is present in each machine, and how every facet has been modified to be only fucntional. It's truly a beautiful twist on evolution. As the environment shows, the apex of organic evolution is only the beginning of inorganic functionality.
In a wider scope, the movie is nothing short of a feast for the senses. Every shot is a victory, and a window into the enemy only touched upon before. The film truly serves as a monument to modern cinematography. There's nothing artistic about it, no pretensions. It's simply flabbergasting - for lack of a better word.
As for the acting, it's fantastic. As mentioned before, the characters truly evolve in this installment. Perhaps even including the main cast, one of the finest performances is that of Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith. He's always been excellent, but in 'Revolutions' he reaches new heights. It's not his actions, or his facial expression, but the amount of emotion he can spit words out with. The closing scenes especially, cement Weaving as one of modern cinema's greatest villains.
'Matrix: Revolutions' is more than just a single film. It is the end of an modern epic, the final chapter of what will no doubt me one of the most memorable works of our times. As much as 'Star Wars' redefined film-making over two decades ago, 'The Matrix' will be remembered as one of those rare movies that only get better with age. And 'Revolutions'...? Will be seen as the closing stanza of an epic work. This trilogy does not die with a whimper. This trilogy dies with a bang heard across the world. 'Matrix: Revolutions' is a cinematic tour-de-force, and will be etched into popular culture for years to come.