Bane/Smith and Neo are both in an unconscious state. The former is said to be merely asleep, but neural patterns indicate that Neo is somehow connected to the Matrix. Morpheus, dispirited after the destruction of the Nebuchadnezzar and discovering the true nature of the Prophecy at the end of the last film, starts a search for Neo within the Matrix. Neo is in fact trapped in a subway station named “Mobil Avenue”, a transition zone between the Matrix and the Source (the Machine mainframe). At this station, Neo meets a ‘family’ of programs, including a girl named Sati. Her father tells Neo that Mobil Avenue is controlled by a program called The Trainman who is an exile loyal only to The Merovingian. When Neo tries to board the train with the family, the Trainman refuses, and knocks him away from the train.
Seraph contacts Morpheus on behalf of the Oracle, who informs Morpheus and Trinity of Neo being trapped in Mobil Avenue. Seraph, Morpheus, and Trinity pursue the Trainman to secure Neo’s release, but he escapes. The trio enter Club Hel to confront the Merovingian for Neo’s freedom. The Merovingian demands “the eyes of the Oracle” in exchange for Neo’s release. Trinity loses her patience and provokes a standoff, where everyone is pointing a gun at someone’s head, thus forcing the Merovingian to release Neo.
Troubled by new visions of the Machine City, Neo decides to visit the Oracle one last time. She informs him that as the One, he developed a connection with the Source, the machine mainframe which both the Matrix and the the Machine world are derived from. All of Neo’s abilities – both in and out of the Matrix – exist because of this connection. This is how Neo was able to stop the Sentinels near the end of The Matrix Reloaded, although his lack of preparation resulted in a temporary confinement in Mobil Avenue (notably, “Mobil” is an anagram for “limbo”). She characterizes Smith (who is also growing in power) as his exact “opposite” and his “negative”, who threatens to destroy the Machine city as well as the Matrix. She tells Neo cryptically that “everything that has a beginning has an end,” and that the war is about to end “one way or another.” After Neo takes leave of the Oracle, a large group of Smith clones arrive and successfully assimilate the unresisting Oracle, gaining her powers of precognition.
In the real world, the remaining crew of the Nebuchadnezzar and the Mjolnir (also referred to as “the Hammer”) encounter Niobe’s deactivated ship, the Logos, and its crew. They successfully reactivate the ship and begin to interrogate the now awakened Bane, who claims he has no memory of the events of the earlier battle. After contemplating his visions, Neo announces that he needs a ship to travel to the Machine City, although he cannot explain why. Niobe, who was told by the Oracle that she would have to make a choice to help Neo or not, lets him take the Logos. Trinity decides to accompany Neo.
The remaining crews plan to return to Zion, and avoid the Sentinel army by allowing Niobe to pilot the Mjolnir through a series of service tunnels, which are nearly impossible to navigate. Shortly after departure, they discover that Bane has murdered a crew member and has hidden aboard the Logos. However, they are unable to warn Trinity and Neo. Before the Logoscan depart, Bane ambushes Trinity and takes her hostage. Neo fights Bane, who reveals himself to be a manifestation of Smith. During the struggle, Bane manages to blind Neo by cauterizing his eyes with a severed electric cable. In spite of his blindness, however, Neo can seeSmith inside Bane as a fiery form, and kills Bane. Neo releases Trinity, who pilots them towards the Machine City.
In Zion, the defenders deploy infantry armed with rocket launchers and Armored Personnel Units in order to protect the dock from the incoming assault. The dock is invaded by a massive horde of Sentinels as well as two giant drilling machines. The APUs fail to keep the Dock, with their leader Captain Mifune fatally wounded. With his last breath, Mifune tells Kid, who was refilling his ammunition supply at the time, to open the gate for the Mjolnir. Encouraged by Mifune, Kid gains the courage to fight and open the gate. Just as the remaining humans are about to be overwhelmed, the Mjolnir, with more Sentinels at tow, arrives at Zion and sets off an EMP that disables all the Sentinels as well as the remainder of Zion’s defenses. The humans are forced to fall back to the temple entrance and wait for the next swarm.
Nearing the Machine City, Neo and Trinity are attacked. Neo uses his power to destroy the incoming bombs, but Sentinels overwhelm the ship. To evade them, Trinity flies the Logosup into an electrical storm cloud. This manages to disable the Sentinels, but also disables the ship’s engines. Above the cloud layer, Trinity gets a glimpse of real sunlight and blue sky. The ship then free-falls directly toward the Machine City, and despite Trinity’s attempts to ignite the engines, the ship crashes. The impact of the collision fatally wounds Trinity, and she dies in Neo’s arms.
Neo emerges into the Machine City to strike a bargain with the machines, personified by the Deus Ex Machina. Neo warns the machines that Smith (who has by now assimilated every human and program within the Matrix) is beyond the machines’ control, and will soon assault the Source. He offers to help stop Smith in exchange for a ceasefire on Zion. The machines provide a connection for Neo to enter the Matrix and confront Smith. The world is now wholly populated by Smith copies – the clone with the Oracle’s powers steps forth, claiming he has already foreseen his own victory.
The city’s population of Smiths stands by and watches while Neo and Smith square off. Fighting on the streets, through buildings and into the sky, they finally brawl in a flooded crater. Neo is eventually outmatched by Smith but refuses to give up the fight, and a frustrated Smith continues his attack until Neo is too badly hurt to go on. Smith announces “everything that has a beginning has an end.” Hearing the Oracle’s parting advice again, Neo baits the scared Smith into assimilating him. Neo’s final words to Smith are, “It was inevitable,” quoting Smith’s oft-spoken admonition.
Smith’s assimilation of Neo is seemingly successful, and when the Oracle-Smith asks Neo-Smith whether it is over, he receives a nod and smile as reply. Back in the Machine city, Neo’s body spasms as a surge of energy enters his body through the Matrix connection. Starting with the Neo copy of Smith, a white light begins to rip the clones apart from the inside out, similar to the destruction of Agent Smith at the end of The Matrix.
With the elimination of the Smiths, all the programs and humans that were possessed return to normal, including the Oracle. The Sentinels that are about to attack withdraw from Zion. Neo, having sacrificed himself to save both the Machines and humans, is unplugged from the Matrix and his body is respectfully carried away by the Machines.
The Architect, upon meeting the Oracle, tells her that she “played a very dangerous game” by attempting to change the way the Matrix functioned. The Oracle responds by saying that she understood the risk and knew it was worth taking. The two reach an agreement to unplug any humans who want to be freed. The closing shot of the film depicts a new dawn on the world of the Matrix, free of green tint, created by Sati.
Many that have watched this final part of the Matrix trilogy have said that is a bit anticlimactic. I can see the logic behind such a statement, but at the same time, I think this sums up everything much in the same way Return of the Jedi ends the Star Wars saga.
It’s always sad when a cast member dies before a series of films can be completed. However, it seemed to work out as Mary Alice replaced the late Gloria Foster as the Oracle. The change was addressed in the script as a punishment for a choice she made.
The action/fight scenes in this film are among the best I’ve ever seen, and the climactic battle between Neo and Smith should go down in history as one of the best on screen battles of cinematic history.
Morpheus seems to be a bit downtrodden in this film, as opposed to the previous two where he seems optimistic. I guess the bombshell that Neo dropped on him at the end of Reloaded took the life out of him.
Smith is his usual cold, calculating, robotic self. The Merovingian and Trainman add to the villains, but are minor players. This seems to be more about the Oracle and Zion than anyone else.
Speaking of Zion, I did not care for the battle scenes. That’s what made me feel like this was anti climactic. I felt like I was watching some sort of war movie at times.
The actor that played Bane does a good job of capturing Smith’s mannerisms. As I said in my review for Matrix: Reloaded, you would think he really was Smith if not for the slight differential in voices.
This is a must see for those that have seen the previous Matrix films. I suggest that you watch them before you view this one, first, though. It keeps the confusion to a minimum.
4 out of 5 stars