A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Matrix Reloaded is the second film in the Matrix sci-fi triology. It has intense and prolonged sci-fi violence and peril, including fights, car chases/crashes, guns, and martial arts. Characters are killed (sometimes more than once). There's some swearing ("f--k," "s--t," "prick," "damn," "hell") and a deeply romantic sexual encounter (briefly graphic, with breasts/butt exposed). Many characters are strong, brave, loyal, and intelligent.
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What's the story?
No refreshers to bring us back into the world of the original Matrix -- THE MATRIX RELOADED literally starts with a bang as a woman in black breaks into some sort of secure facility and fights off the guards. And just like that, we're back in a world where the machines use humans for fuel, lulling people into thinking that they're living mundane lives so that they won't realize that they're merely an energy source. Only a few humans know the truth, and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) believe that one of them, Neo (Keanu Reeves), is "the One" who's destined to defeat the machines. The action shifts back and forth between Zion, the city where the humans who resist the machines live, and the illusory "city" maintained by the computer program called the Matrix.
Is it any good?
This movie lives up to fans' expectations in many ways, serving as a bridge between the chapter that sets up the conflict and the chapter that resolves it. The Matrix Reloaded has some narrative weaknesses, but there are electrifying fight scenes, an audaciously dystopic vision, zillions of explosions and car crashes, a steamy love scene, and visual effects that continue to raise the bar.
Some of the action sequences will simply knock your socks off. The Matrix's Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) has learned how to multiply, and Neo has to fight a hundred Smiths, each with its own version of Weaving's magnificently cocked eyebrow. Real-life twins (and black belt karate instructors) Adrien and Neil Rayment play dredlocked albinos who can turn themselves into ghost-like wraiths out to destroy our heroes. And there's a heart-stopping 14-minute chase and crash scene on a freeway. But the movie's most powerful scene doesn't have fancy special effects or explosions. It's the conversation between Neo and the Oracle (played with endless warmth, wit, and spirit by the late Gloria Foster). The movie also taps into epic questions of destiny, causality, identity, and choice.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this second installment in the Matrix trilogy compares with the first. Is it as exciting and innovative? What impact does the movie's violence have?
Is Neo "the One"? What does that mean? Who or what is the Oracle?
Whose choices led to the conflict between the humans and the machines?
- In theaters: May 15, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: October 6, 2003
- Cast: Carrie-Anne Moss, Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne
- Directors: Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Robots
- Run time: 138 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sci-fi violence and some sexuality
- Last updated: February 25, 2020
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