What if the kind of Love Conquers All story that I was always writing in my messy, earnest high school fanfiction (which should tell you that it’s important and meaningful to me in a way few narratives are) but set in the universe that taught me how to tell stories? Written and directed by one of my favorite filmmakers/heroes? And afforded the weight of a Hollywood budget?
I get why some people are disappointed. The score, which helped lift the trilogy to thunderous heights, and even a lot of the visuals are just kinda… not as special? Not bad per se, but certainly not what you might expect from a Matrix movie. And gone are the highly choreographed fight scenes that push the limits of what we’re allowed to expect from fight scenes in Hollywood blockbusters, which is doubtless extra disappointing considering how excited everyone was about getting a post-John Wick Keanu Reeves back in the shades.
And yet… and yet.
I’ve heard grumbling about the fact that Neo is rescued not because of some grand need for his return, but because Bugs & friends… just kinda feel like it? And this so completely misses the point I just kind of don’t even know where to start? Like, you really want to tell me it would’ve been better to have some incredibly overwrought, contrived Need for Neo rather than just… compassion? Not wanting your hero to suffer endless torment forever when you can fucking do something about it?
How do you miss that point when it was Neo’s kindness to a synthient child decades ago that made the formidable adult she now is willing to help him rescue Trinity? His sacrifice that brought humans and synthients (including said synthient girl) together in peace? Has it occurred to no one that heroes do the right thing because it’s the right thing?
It also feeds into Neo returning to the fold of the human world, and discovering that far from receiving a hero’s welcome with parades he probably would’ve hated anyway, he’s… inconvenient. And that’s way more interesting to me than him getting dragged out kicking and screaming because he’s Needed.
It also parallels his desire to save Trinity being motivated by, you know, the fact that he fucking loves her. And Bugs & Sati & co. chomping at the bit to help because it’s the right thing to do.
Speaking of which, Bugs’ crew (and Bugs herself) are a group of messy queer genderfucks, and I am only just now talking about that and am going to move on almost immediately because there is just too much else to talk about. HOW DOES THIS MOVIE EXIST???
The “Neo’s main move is basically Force push” thing, while a lot more valid of a complaint, actually fits perfectly with the aforementioned “embarrassing” fanfiction that to this day I defiantly refuse to be embarrassed by. On top of that, Neo and Trinity’s powers are fueled by proximity to each other. Their love is so powerful that having them close together powers the entire fucking Matrix, but if they get too close they’ll be too powerful and be a threat. And and and they’re forced into taking a leap of faith and Trinity is the one who flies this time, reversing their dynamic and showing that she’s just as powerful as Neo, making their status as true equals even more obvious (even though they were actually already there in all but superficial power level).
You guys… fuck. This movie caters so perfectly to 15-year-old me it’s almost kinda alarming?
The money shot of this movie is Neo and Trinity desperately reaching for each other while held back by hordes of armored cops, while the big bad shouts in panic to STOP THEM from touching each other because they’ll be too powerful if they’re united. And one breathtaking action scene later they’re kissing passionately in the real world and I fucking sobbed, y’all. I think I might’ve actually cried harder than I did when Trinity died in Revolutions, but they were resoundingly happy tears. That… doesn’t happen every day, okay?
And then they confront the Analyst to let him know they’re gonna fucking remake the world with literal rainbows in the sky and I just. FUCK! This is exactly the movie I needed right now.
This movie is a godsdamned resounding vindication of the kind of storytelling I was doing as an adolescent, only better in every way. I cannot begin to properly convey how important this is to me. I’m not completely sure this won’t end up being my favorite film of all time after a suitable cooling off period.
And believe it or not, I have some even more personal reasons for loving this movie that I’m not sure it makes sense to talk about on this platform necessarily, but maybe I will on a subsequent viewing. Who knows? All I know is I don’t think I’m gonna run out of things to talk about in this movie anytime soon. I’ve barely scratched the surface. I just needed to get all this out there right now because seriously damn.