I’m just going to get this out of the way, I am going to say what everybody else has said: The first one is great and the other 2 are crap. Well, maybe I’m too hasty. The other 2 aren’t crap, but they aren’t as good as they could have been. The first movie was awesome. It had a cool idea, some cool action and it was an all around pretty cool film. And to be honest, I’m not sure why they decided to make more. The first one ended in a way that didn’t really suggest or warrant a sequel. Maybe if you wanted to do the story of another person who was woken up from the matrix and they just showed us what it is like for a normal person to live outside the matrix, that would be a pretty interesting movie. But unsurprisingly, and I can’t say that I blame them, the directors of the movie decided to add onto Neo’s story. And yeah, I will say that the second and third movies aren’t all that good, but they still aren’t that terrible either. For one thing, like the first one, they have some interesting ideas to them as well as some cool action. However they also added some things to them that are kind of silly. For one thing, I don’t think it was very wise to bring back Agent Smith the way they did. Don’t get me wrong, I love Hugo Weaving, and I thought he was a great villain in the first movie. But I just thought that the idea of him coming back and trying to clone himself was just a little silly, if they just had Agent Smith come back and do his own thing and reek havoc on the matrix, that would be cool. Which is what they did, but the whole thing about him cloning himself was just a little cooky in my opinion. Maybe I’m alone on that, but it’s just a little strange to me. So you are probably asking “Who would make a better villain than Agent Smith?” Well, to be honest, I thought the French guy, The Merovingian, would have sufficed. Sure, I don’t think he was on the Agent Smith level of epicness, but he would have been enough to hold the movie.
The second thing that I have a slight problem with is Neo’s powers. Actually, it’s just one: Flying. Again, like Smith’s cloning ability, I just found it a little silly, and the effects that we saw when he used it were kind of cheesy. It didn’t look like it was something real, it looked like something out of Shrek. I don’t mind using CGI, but when it looks like a cartoon instead of an actual live-action movie, I really have to put my foot down.
And finally, I’m going to address the one thing that people have said in defense of the last two movies: They are just cool action movies. That may be true, but that isn’t why we all liked the first movie. The first movie was deep, perplexing, philosophical and thought-provoking. The second and third one were, according to fans, action movies. But again, the fact that they are thought of as just being ‘action movies’ is so out of place. It would be as if they made a sequel to Inception and just made a popcorn movie. I would find this excusable if we all just thought of the first movie as nothing more than an action movie. Alright, fine they did have a whole explanation as to what the whole prophecy about the one was, but that was a little too thought provoking, to the point of being confusing. Seriously, I have tried to understand everything that the Architect said in the second movie, and it still doesn’t make that much sense. I even looked it up on imdb and Wikipedia and I’m still a little hazy. I guess what they were trying to do was one-up themselves from the first movie, and they may have tried taking it a little too far. And the ending to the third movie altogether makes no sense at all. Even a friend of mine who is a huge fan of these movies admits that he doesn’t get it either.
Having said all that, my opinion with these movies is much like my opinion with the second and third Jurassic Park movies. Yeah, they have their issues, but they at least still have a few things that were good about the first movie. Were they far from perfect? Oh yes they were, but the fighting is still cool (at least when it doesn’t look like a cartoon it does), Hugo Weaving is still cool, and I think that the only issue that these movies suffer from is what I think a few of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels suffer from, the fact that they have some neat ideas, each of them would be cool on their own and could potentially have enough substance to fill up an entire movie, but the filmmakers tried to squish them all into one movie (or I guess two) and it just feels cluttered, the plot is a little too convoluted, and in the end, we still have no idea what is going on.