It’s a full tilt commercial movie which bites off cultural excess and spits out commentary.
Portions of it are completely impossible to understand. There are many levels of reality and the people in them move smoothly through them but … it’s hard, and noisy, and perspective spinning. I didn’t like those parts because when the movie was more discursive – or just plain HERE’S A FIGHT have FUN – it was more enjoyable for me.
The basic premise hasn’t changed; but people have moved through their lives- or what they think is their lives. Everyone is older. Under the kick ass and the high tech and the gloss design and striking palettes, there is an elegaic tone that is impossible to miss, and so, of course, appears to have been missed by every cultural commentator under 40. This is not a movie for young people. Many will go, but it’s not emotionally aimed at them.
It’s also, very candidly, a movie about mental health, and how everything they give you to make you feel better can be wrong on a cellular level.
To me, the movie addressed almost all of the cultural skew (the pull of it, the magical achievement of it, the visual thrill of it) of the first movie and the horror of what happened to the red pill/blue pill takeover of the ideas of the movie by misogynists and repulsigans. It addressed the FOREVER HOWL of MAKE IT EXACTLY THE SAME BUT BETTER which is Hollywood. It addressed how in terms of story logic, Neo and Trinity being separated was sad, and had to be fixed. It raised some really interesting ideas about what constitutes a partnership, why we help people who are going to get us killed, and how the hero feels, being worshipped, when he feels grossly inadequate, tiny and possibly not hoeing the next row in consensus reality.
It gave us multiple villains, some of whom have multiple agendas.
We see what happens when you trade freedom of scope for security of the person. We see what happens when you think HEY WE BEAT FASCISM everything’s GREAT NOW not realizing that fascism reconstitutes itself in every generation and has to be fought again. For all the people thinking this is exactly the same through line as the first movie LOL try again, midges. All of the callbacks had a specific purpose. We were being pushed into an emotional killzone, and asked to question all of the mechanics that got us there.
We see what happens when you make your idea of who is ‘friend’ and ‘enemy’ based in the present, not in the past.
We see AIs incorporated into the body politic. The revolution is domesticated because it becomes routine and non-destructive of the overarching enemy (any aspect of society antithetical to creativity); the revolution is made wild because it must address current conditions, which suck, and demand sacrifice to be overthrown.
All we ever want is someone who can see us, believe in us, literally hold us up, and it’s the driver of everything. It doesn’t have to be sexual, it doesn’t have to be procreative, but it does have to have meaning and reciprocity, and the ending in the light of that hypothesis – for me – was quite satisfying.