Michael Elliott (Movie Parables), who found the second film "weighted down and a bit pretentious, lost in its own patchwork quilt of philosophical and spiritual conceits," says the narrative in the third film is "far stronger and much more interesting to watch." He also praises the special effects. And he concludes, "Revolutions revisits four main themes, all of which are elements of life that God emphasizes as being particularly important: The energizing power of love; the activating power of faith or believing; the strengthening power of hope; and the God-given right of choice."

Speaking as a moviegoer rather underwhelmed by The Matrix and thoroughly bored by The Matrix Reloaded, I'm quite surprised to find myself rather impressed with Revolutions. The first two were overloaded with ponderous talk and characters that showed little depth or emotion. Plus, all of the speechifying, confused spirituality, and hodge-podge philosophy seemed to be leading to an altogether baffling conclusion.

But Revolutions defied all of my expectations. Suddenly the characters seem like human beings with depth and emotion, a sense of passion for protecting what is good, and a willingness to suffer great loss for what they believe in. And while the spirituality of the series is still rather complicated and ambiguous, throwing around an encyclopedia of religious imagery and vocabulary, the narrative is drawn closer and closer to the affirmation that humanity needs a savior willing to put his life on the line in order to bridge the gap between the fallen world of the flesh and the redemption available from the Divine.

The cast, given bigger challenges than before, acquit themselves admirably. As the malevolent Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) who has been the series' most entertaining element since it began, outdoes himself, making the most of every slimy line, going over the top at last to become one of the great villains of movie history. Spectacular animation, dazzling cinematography, visceral action scenes that feel like human beings in a struggle rather than a video game, and a soundtrack that abandons the series' signature heavy metal for something more traditionally epic—all of these things contribute to an altogether superior science-fiction film experience.

Viewers should be warned: These characters cuss intensely and often behave in less-than-admirable ways. The film earns its hard R-rating, and it is far too intense for young viewers. But this movie is clearly the work of seekers who, while they may not affirm Christ as the answer, are finally admitting through this narrative that they never had the answers, and their story becomes one of longing for the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Columnist Terry Mattingly takes a more negative view of the Matrix phenomenon. Last week, he wrote disdainfully about the way the series has been celebrated in spite of its shoddy craftsmanship and the behavior of its originators. "It matters little that [the filmmakers] veered into Star Wars limbo in Reloaded, sinking into a swamp of linguistics and logic while striving to explain the visual mysteries of The Matrix. Few acolytes blinked when Larry Wachowski left his wife, hooked up with a dominatrix and, newspapers reported, began taking hormones to prepare for a sex-change operation. Millions will flock to theaters anyway."

And regarding the hope that the trilogy will come together as a meaningful whole, Mattingly writes: "Anyone seeking one coherent set of answers has got the wrong trilogy."

from Film Forum, 11/13/03

Christian press critics continued chewing on the latest and last episode in the Matrix trilogy this week. And, unlike those who gave The Matrix Revolutions limited praise in last week's Film Forum, this week's reviews are almost all quite dismissive of the effort. But regardless of the overwhelmingly negative response to the film in the mainstream press, the film broke box office records this week, more than $204 million between Wednesday and Sunday, the most ever made by a film in its first five days.