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from Film Forum, 11/06/03

Film critic David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) calls The Matrix Revolutions "an overstuffed maelstrom of noise and violence, a sound and fury signifying nothing."

DiCerto's review was the one of the first in a series of nay-saying reviews that were posted early on the Internet. He continues, "Though the Wachowskis rein in the existential banter in this third go-round, the stylized carnage remains at full throttle. And while the franchise continues to push the envelope of technical wizardry, it's in inverse proportion to narrative and character development."

Insufficient narrative? Poor character development? With all that filmmakers Larry and Andy Wachowski have to wrap up in this, the conclusion of their trilogy, you would think it would be time for some aggressive storytelling and some answers.

After all, The Matrix Reloaded—the middle chapter of this sci-fi trilogy that was released earlier this year—left us with several cliffhangers. The messianic hero Neo (Keanu Reeves) has discovered not only that the machines enslaving humanity were ruled by a wicked "Architect," but he has also begun to suspect that he might not be humanity's prophesied savior at all. Worse, Neo's been knocked into a sort of coma, drifting somewhere between the Matrix and the "real" machine-dominated world. His lover Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss) is anxious. The faith of his most devoted supporter Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) has suffered a devastating blow. And the malevolent "program" called Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) has discovered a way to infect the "real world" by taking over the body of Neo's colleague Bane (Ian Bliss); now Smith seems likely to cause problems for both reality and the Matrix. All the while, powerful squid-like machines called Sentinels drill through the earth, closing in on the city of Zion where the resistance is mustering what strength they can for a final stand against the enemy.

Regardless of the battle's outcome, many critics believe it is the audience that loses. Mainstream critics are lining up to debate whether this closing chapter is a success or failure. And Christian media critics are in disagreement as well.

p>Movieguide's critic is glad to see the movie "returns to its basic salvation story, reflecting on the influence of, and the longing for, a messianic savior. The movie supports strong values such as truth, love, hope, faith, and peace." But that is not enough. "Regrettably, Neo is a deeply flawed messianic figure who is not only not divine but who also has deeply sinful traits as seen in the previous movies, unlike the true Messiah Jesus Christ. The myth is presented with much apparent philosophical and theological confusion. Pop philosophy barnacles weigh the story down, instead of lifting it up, and include references to existential, blind faith and an all-too-human messiah, as well as very pointed profanities."

Holly McClure (Crosswalk) calls it "an entertaining movie with thrill-a-minute action, creative visual effects and a wild and interesting ride."