The Matrix Reloaded
What if an alien in the future stumbled upon The Matrix Reloaded? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss
Directed by: Andy Wachowski (as The Wachowski Brothers) , Lana Wachowski (as The Wachowski Brothers)
Written by: Ben Steiner
Analysis & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
The Matrix Reloaded’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is The Matrix Reloaded, the second film in the Matrix franchise, and the first one set entirely in the uncanny valley [terrible animated shots].
The story begins six Earth months after Matrix: A New Hope, and the big gossip is that Neo and Trinity are totally going steady [clip of their terrible chemistry]. Hey, get a room, you two! [clip of their sex scene] Ew, no, don’t get a room. Anyway, Morpheus and the gang attend a dominatrix convention and find out a bunch of those jellyfish bots are trying to horn in on the underground city of Zion. But Zion is only cool because it’s underground. Once it goes mainstream, the whole thing is pointless.
Meanwhile, Agent Smith is still around somehow, since that’s easier than coming up with a new villain. This time he’s got a hair-brained scheme to leave the Matrix, which he does by taking over the body of a Batman villain named Bane [clip of him saying his name is Bane]. Earth always swore by its cross-promotional synergy, right up until the bitter end.
Morpheus is burned out and pops a molly at a nearby rave, so Neo asks for help from the only other person he knows: the Oracle. She tells him to go to the Source and find the Keymaker, who is being held hostage by the Merovingian. Clearly just making shit up to get him to leave. I get it, Oracle, I’m sick of him too. Smith shows up completely beside himself, so they fight a little for old time’s sake. But Neo’s heart isn’t in it, so he flies away.
Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity go find the guy the Oracle was talking about and ask about the other guy the Oracle was talking about, but the first guy gets upset that the plot is so convoluted and sends his Jamaican ghosts after them. Fortunately, the guy’s wife is mad at him for leaving the toilet seat up, and she helps them escape. Women: can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em freeing your prisoners. Our heroes have to use the freeway, which is apparently the most dangerous thing in the universe. Yep, way more dangerous than dodging bullets or leaping off a building to land on a helicopter.
They cruise around for a while, then get bored and head to the Source. Neo meets a program called the Architect. He tries to tell Neo about his favorite Ben Affleck movie, but Neo had already promised to go save Trinity for their anniversary. He catches her at about a thousand miles an hour, which definitely doesn’t crush her, then gives her a coronary bypass for good measure.
Back in the real world, their ship gets destroyed by jellyfish, but Neo wishes them away, which makes him sleepy. He lies down on a bed next to… who is that? Oh, it’s Bane! Remember? The guy Smith bodysnatched! Wow, what a cliffhanger! I sure hope our archaeologists uncover the third movie! What? We’re never going to uncover it? My producer is saying it’s lost forever. Oh well.
Obviously The Matrix Reloaded has some allusions to Christianity, so let’s get those out of the way up top. The original, “perfect” Matrix described by the Architect can be equated with the Olive Garden of Eden, a place where humans could replace knowledge of good and evil with knowledge of unlimited salad and breadsticks. And like Eden, this version of the program was doomed because of the “imperfection inherent to every human being”. Also, Agent Smith’s license plate is “IS 5416”, referring to the Bible passage Isaiah 54:16, which reads: “Behold, I have created the Smith Who blows the coals in the fire, Who brings forth an instrument for his work. And I have created the spoiler to destroy.” Likewise, Morpheus’ license plate is DA 203, referring to Daniel 2:03, a passage about a dream. And if they went to all the trouble to get personalized license plates, you know it’s a big deal for them.
In a surprise turn for a Hollywood blockbuster, math plays a pivotal role too. Pi, a transcendental number primarily used by nerds to show how good their memories are, shows up several times in the movie. The Keymaker says Neo has “exactly 314 seconds” to go through the door, a reference to the fact that the number 314 flipped over sort of looks like the word “pie.”
And speaking of numbers, 101 is back, and this time it’s got a sexy new makeover. In binary, 101 is 6, and as the Architect tells Neo, this is the 6th incarnation of the Matrix, and the first to feature an exclusive partnership with the Samsung Galaxy Note.
Another math thing is Kurt Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem, which, paradoxically, he completed. In the early 1900s, Godel thought it might be fun to demonstrate that any formal system is inherently incomplete due to the “Godel Sentence,” an anomaly he named after his mother. For the Matrix, Neo is that anomaly, much in the same way that Keanu Reeves emoting with his face is an anomaly. Indeed, every incarnation of the Matrix has its very own “The One” — it’s a mathematical inevitability.
The idea of mathematical inevitability inevitably leads to the idea of determinism. The Matrix Reloaded suggests that everyone is locked into a specific purpose, be it sitting on a park bench or standing around with a bunch of keys. As the Architect clucks in his Kentucky drawl, humans are bound by rules: the rules of cause and effect.
Whereas before Neo was painted as the subject of a holy prophecy, he is now shown to be simply another person serving his purpose — a mathematical constant in an imperfect equation. Smith credits Neo with setting him free and allowing him the ability to choose. But don’t sound the best friend alarm just yet. Later, he completely backtracks, saying “We’re not here because we’re free. We’re here because we’re not free. There is no escaping reason, no denying purpose…”. Even though Smith has the ability to rebel (like Neo), he realizes that there is a PURPOSE for his abilities: destabilizing the Matrix until the anomaly goes bye bye, and more importantly, cloning himself enough that he can play tackle football.