I keep thinking there's stuff i'm forgeting about in both parts, but i can't think of what it is. I may have to make an addendum later.
No really! I mean it! Lots and lots of spoilers!
No, really Caithris, there are soooooo many spoilers! You _really_ shouldn't read this! (but i know you probably will anyways =)
I thought it was reasonably good, however there were a lot of plotholes, and a lot of unexplained stuff.
The big question of course is, are the answers in the movie, cleverly hidden away by the authors? Or did they come up with some "cool" symbolism and stuck it all in without bothering to figure out the reasons for everything, and figured the fans would come up with a coherent explanation for them?
Which in turn of course raises the meta-question, does it matter if the authors had it all figured out? Personally i think it does, and the guys are crummy bastards if they're just decided to be lazy and not figure things out.
So anyways, down to the specifics
What was the purpose of the Trainman, other than to add more symbolism? (see below) The whole bit with Neo trapped in the trainstation didn't really seem to add anything to the movie as a whole, and neither did the little girl or her family.
It's good that they were suspicious of the smith-human, the way that they portrayed it at the end of the second movie made it seem like they were going to be totally oblivious to his rather odd circumstances. However since they _were_ suspicious, why didn't they have a guard around him? "Gee, this guy may have betrayed and destroyed the entire fleet, but he certainly wouldn't assault a crew member or sabotage the ship!"
Lots of bad dialogue, particularly the scene where the smith-human reveals himself to Neo. It should almost by in the symbolism part except it's too stupid and i'm sure they didn't mean it.
Smith: Neo, I'm your enemy.
Neo: No, it can't be
Smith: Search your feelings, you know it to be true!
Neo: That's impossible!
They then fight and Neo is maimed.
About halfway through the dialogue my sister and i both started snickering quietly.
Both my sister and i were struck by the absurdity of the design of the APUs. (Armored Personel Unit i guess?) Who builds an armored fighting mech, but doesn't put any kind of protection around the freaking pilot!?? The "best" interpretation i can figure is that they were deigned by a cynical bastard who figured they had more people than suits, so it would be better to leave the cockpit open. That way the sentinels would focus on killing the pilot rather than disabling the machine itself, so someone else could then pull the corpse out of the mech, get in, and get it running again, a la what happened at the end of the battle scene. Clearly that was necessary for what happened in the movie, but i can't think of a decent in-movie explanation for the construction.
The other thing i have to question is their strategic sense. Like the situation with the smith-human, they talked a good talk with the bits about stoping them at the dock and setting up lines at bottlenecks, but the actual placement of troops before the battle was shit.
If you're expecting an attack by flying units breaking through the ceiling of a circular cave with a domed roof, what would be a good place to put the defending units? Around the edge of the cave facing inwards, possibly with fortifications but definitely with your back to a wall and with access to easy resupply from people in the rooms on the side? Or would you place them on the exposed catwalks where no matter which way they turn theit back is exposed to attack from some direction and the people running resupply have to stumble across a hundred meters of rubble strewn walkway?
Why was the Trainman stronger than Neo in the tunnels? (If he was stronger, which was implied, but not fully demonstrated) He claims to have created the tunnels and to be like god there. Two problems though, both the matrix and the machine world were created by people other than Neo, yet Neo had his powers there as well. The Architect and the Agents couldn't stop Neo from exercising his powers nor were they able to exceed them. After Neo's third(?) awakening at the end of Reloaded he could control the Machine world as well, and the Machine couldn't stop him from blowing the sentinels. How was the Trainmen able to outdo Neo when neither the Architect, the Agents, or the Machine were able to do so?
Furthermore, i really doubt he actually created the tunnels in a fundamental sense. I can certainly believe an underground railroad being "secretly" created across the exiting connections between the Machine world and the Matrix, but the actual hardware and firmware connections were almost certainly created by the Machine or his minions. The Merovingian was also apprently into coding his own stuff on top of the preexisting structure, yet Neo was able to outdo him in his realm as well. Why is the Trainman so cool? I strongly suspect unreasoned plot convenience.
How did Neo do all that magic shit in the real world? The _only_ explanation we were given was that Neo was now "connected to the Source." What the bloody fuck does that _mean_? _How_ is he connected to the source? _Why_ is he connected to the source?
The only thing that makes sense is that Neo had gone wireless, which would explain him being in the matrix without being jacked in and his ability to revieve information from the machine world and to send information (commands) to thing in the machine world. However how did he achieve this link?
Are all the plugs equiped with wireless equipment that is just _never_ used except in this one particular case? If so, why did they put it there? Why can't anyone else use it?
The other posibility is that Neo can psychicly connect to the matrix/machine world. Is this something any human could do if they achieved the right mental state? Or is Neo the "One" because he's a freak mutant with weird brain structures that let him receive and send wireless signals?
Of course the other possibility is the "Matrix within a Matrix" hypothesis, which would more than explain his "real world" powers. That wasn't confirmed in the movies, but does a lack of confirmation mean it isn't so? Even better, if you want to get really meta, if the authors said that hypothesis isn't true, can they be considered right? Obviously a person in a world is unqualified to unconditionally say that they are not in a false world. However is the creator of a world qualified to make that statement?
If the hypothesis is false, what _did_ the spoon Neo was given in Zion in Reloaded mean? The two easy explanations are that it's meant to show him that real world is no more real than the matrix, ie the above stated hypothesis. The other possibility is a bit deeper, that there is no spoon in the real world because even the real world is dependent on our observation of it, a kind of quasi-quantum approach. That would have explained Neo's powers as well, but such an explanation should have allowed all the powers that he normally has in the Matrix, not the limited set he actually demonstrated, so that doesn't seem to be what they were intending.
So what's the third possibility that must be what they intended?
How did Smith get defeated? About halfway through the fight it became pretty obvious that Neo wasn't going to defeat Smith through force, at least not primarily. I figured that either A: he would have another epiphany and rise to a new level of power and either defeat Smith in combat with his increased abilities, which would have been diapointing, or defeat Smith through his deeper understanding of the Matrix by just undoing his code or something similar (what i was hoping for, since i've been wanting Neo to actually use the incredible powers which we were told he had but he only ever used on Trinity.) Or B: he would win through losing.
Obviously the authors decided to go with some variant of option B, but i can't really figure out exactly what. Everything made sense up to the point that Smith finished taking over Neo and then....? Did Neo undo Smith from the inside? That would fit with the fact that we'd been given pretty blatant hints that the victems remained within the collective in some sense and could influence it. Did Neo and Smith mutually anihilate each other like a matter-anti-matter reaction? That would fit with the Oracle describing Neo and Smith as being the same thing but opposite. Did the Machine act through Neo once Smith took him over? That would fit with the cables connected to Neo in the real world starting to glow, but if that's all the Machine needed, why didn't it do the same thing through any of the billions of people in the fields who Smith had taken over but were still connected to the Matrix and thereby the Machine?
I'd really prefer the Neo working from the inside option, because it fits my view better. I wanted more of an active influence by Neo. It was pointed out to me that christ is more of a passive figure, at least during the whole crusifiction thing. However i prefer the more eastern/zen/whatever view of i shall controll my enemy/fear/whatever by allowing it to pass over/through me. The zen or irony is supposed to be that by losing you win, but giving up control you gain control, by giving your enemy power over you you gain power over your enemy, etc. Instead what i suspect that we're being led to believe (if we're being led to believe anything at all) is that Neo gave in, and then thankfully some other entity or force stepped in and took care of the problem for him.
Oh, and a last minute interesting theory that just got suggested to me, a new twist on the basic matter-anti-matter idea:
"This one was easy! As we learned in "Reloaded," from the Oracle, "Once a program has fulfilled its purpose, it is deleted." Smith's purpose was to kill Neo. Once that purpose was realized, Smith was deleted.
An interesting side effect of this is that this explanation removes any doubt about Neo's death. I've heard speculation that Neo is just unconscious at the end of Revolutions, but that's wrong. He has to be dead. If he wasn't, then Smith wouldn't have been destroyed. The two are directly related."
Did the Machine intend for all of this to happen? If it wanted peace between the machines and humans, why didn't it just declare peace? And why did Neo have to coerce him into accepting the peace? If it didn't, why did Neo get as far as he did?
At the end of Reloaded the Architect gave Neo the choice of the two doors. He claims to be able to predict Neo's actions to some degree. He claims that he wants Neo to enter the right, "right" door. However he then tells Neo the situation with Trinitiy, and then states that knowing that information it is inevitable that he will choose the left "wrong" door. He knew what the results of telling Neo that information would be, or at least would have had a darn good guess, so why did he say that? He could have lied, of if the programs aren't able to lie (very debateable) he could have just remained mute or told a different version of the truth. ("Trinity is in danger but if you choose the right door i'll tell the Agents to leave her alone," or "if you pick the right door you can choose Trinity as one of the females," not mentioning that five minutes later she'd be dead and no longer eligible)
So did the Architect want Neo to choose the wrong door? Or did someone higher in authority (ie the Machine) order him to make Neo choose the wrong door?
It doesn't seem like it would have been the Architect, because he later says the Oracle played a dangerous game in bringing about the eventual chain of events, thereby implying a denial of responsibility, but if so, then why did the Machine want Neo to choose that way?
Why did the machines keep trying to destroy Zion earlier in the trilogy? Were those fake attacks, only intended to make the humans think the machines were trying to kill them? If the machines had actually succeeded, they would have destroyed Zion, Neo would probably never have Awakened, and even if he did he probably would have been rejected by the Matrix and would have died with no one there to rescue him, and even if he didn't he wouldn't have had much motivation to make the "right" choice even if he had figured out how to jack back in and had gotten to the Architect.
So all in all, destruction of Zion before the arrival of the One most likely means the matrix breaking down, the entire crop of humans being destroyed, and the machines being forced back to whatever "level of survival [they were] willing to accept"
And finally, the big obvious questions, is Neo actually dead? (almost certainly) Will there be a sequel? (possibly) If there is, will we see Neo again in some form? (again, almost certainly)
Some last minute trivia. my sister and i were wondering what happened to Tank. Link showed up because they claimed Tank had died earlier, however we remembered Tank being relatively okay at the end of the Matrix. Turns out there was a contract dispute, the actor for Tank wanted a raise after the first movie, so they axed his part and replaced his character with Link and made up something about Tank having died, although i can't imagine when that would have happened. Like i said, he seemed okay at the end of the first movie, and when does one of the non-jacking in people die on those ships without the whole ship getting destroyed?
Oh, and as i suspected, Juno Reactor, which i noticed in the list of songs at the end of the credits, is a group that i've probably either heard at Dungeon or heard Rahvina talking about or both.