Originally Posted by delicious_man
Why is 'The Matrix' a great film whereas 'The Matrix Reloaded' not so great? After all, there is plenty of excitement and action in both films.
For me the difference is that with the original 'Matrix' film every single fight scene has a context that drives it forwards and makes you, the viewer, fully invested. There is constant threat. Mysteries are unravelled. The stakes are high. Its context that makes the action compelling. Just think about the subway scene as Neo looks to the stairs and then turns back to face the Agent.
'What is he doing?'
'He is beginning to believe.'
By contrast, the fight scene in 'The Matrix Reloaded' between Neo and the hundreds of Agent Smith clones seems (to me at least) to be largely pointless. What are they fighting for? Where is the threat? What is the objective?
To my mind, it's the same with a lot of the stroke stories you come across. There's nothing necessarily wrong with this if that's what you are looking for - shiny perfect sex with no distractions. But I'd rather have a scene with context any day. I'd rather have 'The Matrix' than hundreds of its sequels.
(I hope this comparison makes some kind of sense.)
This is an excellent example for illustrating this issue, and I completely agree with your take on the movies.
Neither one of these movies is at all "believable", in that both rest upon outlandish premises.
But the first Matrix works because, once you accept the premise, which is revealed about a quarter of the way in, everything in the movie, however ridiculous, plainly is consistent with the premise and propels the movie to the conclusion. The action is believable and plausible within the boundaries of the world that is created.
But in the next two Matrix movies, I felt sort of cheated, because I couldn't tell what the boundaries were, and, in fact, the boundaries seemed to change and almost be made up as the movies went along. It was never clear what was going on with Agent Smith, or the Keymaster, or the Oracle, or the dude who was married to Monica Belluci (who rocks, even if she's just a piece of software). The movies lacked cohesion and believability because the rules that governed them were too plastic. The fight scenes, which were impressively choreographed, lacked the bite of the first movie because their purpose in the movie was more obscure.