It's not The Matrix Resolutions, dummy!I've watched all three episodes in the definitive mainstream movie trilogy of recent cinema in the theatre (where they should be watched, btw) and each time I seem to have followed the following template:
1. Go in with great wonderment after being dazzled by the trailers.
2. Be spectacularly assaulted by the combination of SFX and ultra-metaphysical dialogue.
3. At the end of the movie, share with everyone the sense of trying to make some personal justifications for the movie.
4. Pretend to put on a grave face that suggests I may have comprehended what I just saw, while all the time asking myself "do I think I understood all that?"
5. Read a whole lot of stuff on the Internet, from the movie scripts to myriad interpretations of the plots and sub-threads.
6. Watch the film again, obtaining a better understanding of the tangle.
7. Come out with only some of my questions answered and with a feeling of having some control over the film.
I haven't done step 6 yet for The Matrix Revolutions, so I will be honest enough in saying that I'm still not sure I understood what the implications of the ending really are. I'm one of those who are always inclined to give the benefit of doubt to some filmmakers and believe that they're not trying to rip us out of our money without having a purpose in their story, but despite that, after my first pass, I felt the Bros. W finally ran out of steam with the plot. Even if they may have actually answered all the infinite question marks, the discontent prevailing among some viewers at least charges them of not making the end less abstruse. At the same time, I would like to think the makers did have a definite idea to their ending, perhaps I don't have the intellect to comprehend it. In their defence, spiritual texts themselves are nothing "but words", to echo a character from the third film, open to interpretation and obfuscations, and don't always yield simple explanations of life as known by a human - so one needs to put in the requisite intellectual homework to comprehend any philosophical (m)utterings before refuting or disparaging them - be it God or a couple of filmmakers.
Anyway, too much was expected of the film's philosophical content - the trilogy no doubt provided a lot of fodder for thought and debate, but people had no right to expect grand revelations at the end : a pop explanation of our lives in a total of about 8 hours isn't easy to achieve. People may have liked a complete set of answers at the end of the film like we had in our maths textbooks, but that wouldn't have been in keeping with the internal filmmaking logic of the series.Still, there was enough to take home from Revolutions, though some of the loose threads are still tripping everyone up.
Moviewise, I found the grandiloquent exercise in the effects quite exciting, the watching-a-video-game-played-by-someone-else effect notwithstanding, though the extensive Zion bang-bang battle was overstretched, IMO. All the while, we couldn't wait to get back to Neo and Trinity in the parallel thread, for wasn't it clearly established that that's where the key to the battle would lie? Also, the final denouement with Agent Smith (so clearly established by the rain-soaked trailers) also beckoned once the film got into its last hour. They could've spent more time further embellishing the ultimate question-of-questions: of Neo's purpose.
The soundtrack with all the Hindu shlokas and chants (I thought the Asatoma Sadhgamaya (a.k.a Navras) piece was quite appropriate given the final sequences) was quite unexpected - with credits to Don Davis and Juno Reactor.
Still, the trilogy has come a long way - a great exercise in a complex plot that may have bombed without a trace if it wasn't for the now legendary visual sequences. So my favourite episode? Visually speaking, it would be the First - it will be remembered as truly pathbreaking. And surprisingly, in terms of content, I really liked Reloaded. I didn't think the plot would develop further after the first movie as in four years, for the tough concept would have finally sunk in and I didn't believe anyone would try to crank the esoteric plot any deeper. But that's exactly what they did. And probably paid the price too for it too - as it led to an uncontrollable and unsustainable tangle of ideas, concepts and questions that may prove to be the doom of the Revolutions.
Maybe my opinion will change after steps 6 & 7.