The Matrix Revolutions is the third and final installment of the Matrix movie trilogy. While The Matrix Reloaded upsized the action and complexity of the series, this film pretty much came crashing down and presented a closing part which had too many open-ended elements. Over the years, the fan community helped explain many of the questions but it was mostly left to the viewer’s interpretation. This is Matrix Revolutions Explained.
You will need to see The Matrix (1999) and The Matrix Reloaded (2003) before you can get to watch and understand this film.
Here’s the explanation to the first part – The Matrix Simplified & Explained.
Here’s the explanation to the second part – The Matrix Reloaded Simplified & Explained.
Setting the Context
Recap of The Matrix
- The machines created the Matrix to enslave humans and use them for power.
- Morpheus and team hunt down Neo, who they think is The One, with the help of the Oracle.
- Neo proves them right by exhibiting extraordinary skills to manipulate the Matrix, he is The One.
- Neo defeats Agent Smith, the gatekeeper, and begins his journey of freeing minds from the Matrix.
Recap of The Matrix Reloaded
- The events in Matrix Reloaded are 6 months after the first film.
- Machines are drilling above the location of Zion. Zion prepares for war.
- It is revealed that this is the 6th version of the Matrix and Zion has been destroyed 5 times before.
- Neo is the 6th anomaly. The prophecy was a lie and a measure of control.
- At the source, Neo is given the choice to rebuild Zion with 23 people from the Matrix. He refuses.
- Agent Smith has been replicating himself in the Matrix and spreading like a virus.
- Bane’s mind has been replaced by Smith’s in the real world.
- In the end, Neo is somehow able to stop the sentinels with his mind in the real world. He enters a coma.
Matrix Revolutions Plot Explanation
How did Neo stop the sentinels in the real world?
This is where fans pretty much split into two sides. One group felt that Zion and what we have been shown as the real world is not real. It is merely another virtual world. This means that the Matrix is a virtual world within another virtual world. I personally feel that if that were the case then we are never shown what the “actual” real world looks like. And this theory seriously undermines the first film and its awesomeness. So the second group of fans believes that the real world is actually the real world. It is not a simulation. Zion is real. But then how does Neo bring down the sentinels with his mind. The Oracle later faintly explains this but the trip to the Source gives Neo far more understanding of the workings of the Matrix and the Machine World. He has the device in his head that is used to plug into the Matrix. But now, Neo is able to somehow plug in wirelessly. Just like the sentinels are able to communicate wirelessly, Neo is also able to connect to that same source. As a result, he can “feel” the sentinels and deactivates him. But unknowingly he ends up jacking into the Matrix. This is why his brain pattern is reading like one who is plugged in.
Where is Neo now? The Train Man Program.
They try running a search for him in the Matrix. They find nothing. To understand where Neo is. We need to understand the Train-Man Program. I’m going to get a little technical, bear with me. When a software application runs, there is a virtual memory space it runs in. There are objects that are loaded in this virtual memory and cleaned out once its purpose is done. This process is called garbage collection. The Matrix is an application. Its objects are many of the programs that are running. As explained by the Oracle, when a program has finished serving its purpose, it is sent for deletion. The train-man program is the one that handles this process of ferrying programs to the Machine World for deletion. The Train-Man program facilitates the virtual afterlife. The Train-Man handles garbage collection. He also uses this link to smuggle exiles into the Matrix under the oversight of Merovingian.
Where Neo is, the subway station, is a virtual Limbo. It is the area where programs are before they are completely deleted or taken back to the Matrix. Neo doesn’t plan to jack into this outer boundary of the Matrix. It happens by mistake. Because of that, he is stuck. Hence his efforts to leave the place is futile. Many of the exile programs seek refuge in exchange for something and make a deal with the Merovingian. He has control over the fate of exile programs.
Rama-Kandra, Kamala and Sati
Neo meets a family of programs at this Subway Station – Rama-Kandra, Kamala and their daughter Sati. Yes, the three of them are programs. They are programs from the Machine World. Rama-Kandra is the power-plant systems manager for recycling operations. Kamala is an interactive software programmer. Rama-Kandra and Kamala have created their daughter Sati. They love their daughter. You can see programs exhibit ‘love’. Rama-Kandra explains it as merely a word and what matters is the connection the word implies. Sati is their beautiful creation. But in the Machine World, that is not enough. Sati has no purpose and is tagged for deletion. Rama-Kandra has made a deal with Merovingian to ensure the safe passage of Sati into the Matrix where she can continue to exist as an exile. The Oracle has promised that she will look after Sati. The deal with the Merovingian is only for Sati. Rama-Kandra and Kamala will return to the Machine World after they say goodbye to Sati. He mentions that it is their karma – another word which implies “What l am here to do”.
The Oracle Returns
Seraph reaches out and asks for Morpheus and Trinity to come to come at once. They meet with the Oracle. She looks different now. Because she’s played a gamble of aiding Neo, she resides in a different shell. Well, that’s the story the movie makers had to cook up. Unfortunately, the actor who played the Oracle in the first two movies passed away before she could shoot for the third part. Hence they had to bring in a new actor. The Oracle asks Morpheus and Trinity to go with Seraph as he can get them to Neo.
They try reaching out to the Train-Man but he escapes. He arrives at the subway station to get his passengers. Neo tries to board the train. The Train-Man realizes why he was being chased by Morpheus and team. He sends Neo flying into a wall with a punch. How does this happen? Neo is The One right? Here’s what the Train-Man says – “l built this place. Down here, l make the rules. Down here, l make the threats. Down here, I’m God”. Simple right? This is not the Matrix. This an area built by the Train-Man hence the rules of the Matrix don’t apply. Neo doesn’t have his abilities here.
Morpheus, Trinity and Seraph head to go meet the Merovingian. They beat up a bunch of henchmen to enter the club. The club is called Hel. This has parallels to Merovingian and Persephone being in control of the virtual afterlife in Hell. Merovingian is the equal to Hades in the Greek Mythology. The club is equal to the underworld. The trio try to make a deal with Merovingian. Even the Merovingian doesn’t understand how Neo ended up in the subway station. In return for Neo, the Merovingian demands the “eyes of the Oracle”. What he implies is he wants the ability of the Oracle to quite precisely calculate and predict the future based on human choices. Trinity gets tired of the deal and pulls a gun on him and offers another deal – get Neo back or everyone dies. Persephone confirms that Trinity will actually do it, she’s in love. Merovingian draws a comparative between Love and Insanity. Well, that would be quite true – hence the phrase “Madly in Love”. Merovingian agrees. They get Neo out of the subway station. They get back to the Matrix. Neo wants to meet the Oracle before exiting.
Everything that has a beginning has an end
Sati is now with the Oracle. She explains to Sati that hands need to be used to make cookies because “Cookies need love like everything else”. Remember this line. We’ll get to this later. The Oracle is very cryptic with Neo. She effectively tells Neo that she has decided to make a choice that she has not yet fully understood. Therefore she can’t tell Neo where this is all headed. She also tells him that he was not ready to know about the Architect and The Ones before him. Hence, she didn’t tell him before. Then she rambles on about how the Architect can’t see past anything and is just balancing equations and she’s unbalancing it. Frankly, she makes you feel like she’s been smoking up. Long story short – much like John Snow, she knows nothing at this point. She’s gone and got herself and Morpheus & team into a fix. All she knows is that Smith is doing a lot of damage inside the Matrix and the machines are going to wage war on Zion. She understands that Smith will destroy the Matrix and then the Machine World too. She feels only Neo can stop him. Neo leaves.
Smith Takes Over The Oracle
Smiths corner Seraph and Sati. Smith clones himself onto Seraph and Sati. They don’t show this but that’s what happens. Smiths head for the Oracle next. Smith is annoyed and confused wondering why the Oracle is sitting around waiting for him. Why would she not try to hide? The reason is this. She believes there is nothing she can do to stop Smith. Only Neo can. She has done everything in her power to equip Neo to face Smith. The Oracle asks what Smith did with Sati. One of the Smiths says “Cookies need love like everything else”. This is what the Oracle tells Sati earlier. Which means that Smith copied himself onto Sati. Oracle calls Smith a bastard. She means it in the literal sense. Smith responds by saying ”You would know Mom”. This either implies that the Oracle is his lone creator. Or that the Oracle is the mother of the Matrix (as the Architect mentions). I feel it’s the latter. Smith copies himself onto the Oracle. He gets up with a manic laughter. He has one of the greatest power upgrades now.
Bane is Smith
Back at Zion Logos shows up. Niobi meets with Morpheus. Bane is being questioned about the event with the EMP. Bane sits acting confused because that’s Smith in there. Zion is preparing for war. Neo comes asking for a ship to take it to the Machine City. Locke obviously says – piss off. Niobi offers her ship. She also volunteers to man another ship on manual mode to blow up a strategic EMP as part of the defense strategy. Niobi tells Morpheus that she never believed in that The One business but she believes in Neo. Bane (Smith), confesses to the medical officer that he is the one who blew up the EMP and then kills her.
The Golden Glow Vision
Trinity meets Neo and tells him she’s coming along. Neo meets Morpheus. Neo says “It was an honor, sir”. Morpheus responds “No, the honor is still mine”. A neat tribute to their very first meeting in part 1.
As they prep to leave, it appears that a fuse is blown. It’s Bane (Smith) he holds Trinity hostage. Neo and Bane fight. Bane reveals that he is Smith. Bane blinds Neo with an electric cable. He burns his eyes. Just as Bane is going to finish off Neo, Neo surprises Bane by blocking the attack. Neo can now see in a Golden Glow. He finishes off Bane (Smith). How can Neo see? What’s the Golden Light Vision? Neo’s eyes have been burnt. So far he’s been seeing with his own eyes. What Neo doesn’t realize is that his trip to the Source has given him the ability to wirelessly connect and see as machines see. The golden vision is the vision that machines like sentinels have. It’s like radar vision, only a lot clearer. This is why he doesn’t see Bane in the golden vision. He sees Smith.. as Bane’s mental readings are all Smith’s. It’s not very airtight, this golden vision thing, but that’s all we’ve got to go ahead with.
Niobe is manning the Hammer (a ship) on manual mode making her way to the dock. Morpheus and Link are with her. Sentinels attack the ship. Sentinels attack the dock in huge numbers. The Kid is instructed by a fatally injured Captain Mifune to open the gates and allow the Hammer to enter. The Kid manages to open the gate right on time for the Hammer to come crashing in. They discharge an EMP deactivating all of the attacking Sentinels in the dock. They also lose their defenses as a result. They’ve only bought themselves a little time as the second wave of Sentinels will attack in a short while. Now they are sitting ducks. Locke aptly points that out. Niobe explains to the council that she gave away her ship because the Oracle told her that Neo would ask for help and it would be Niobe’s choice to help.
Machine City. Machine Leader
Near the Machine City, Neo and Trinity are attacked by thousands of sentinels. Neo uses his wireless ability to destroy them. But there are too many. They head for the sky. They cross over the dark clouds. These are the dark clouds that the humans put to cut out solar power to the machines all those years ago. The ship goes over and stalls. Trinity sees the real sky for the first time and she exclaims “beautiful”. They fall to the ground. While they are able to restart the engine, the ship crash lands in the Machine City.
Neo can see light everywhere. This is because there are only machines here and he can see via all of them. They form a network that Neo can see via. He doesn’t realize that Trinity has been impaled. She thanks Neo for everything, kisses him and dies. Yes, Trinity, the Trinity is dead. Sad. But that’s how it ends for her. Neo gets up and goes to talk to the Machine Leader. A face is formed out of sentinels. Neo tells the Leader that Smith is out of control and has taken over the entire Matrix. He will do so next with the Machine World as well. Nothing would be left. He tells the Leader that he can stop him but in return he wants peace. He wants Zion to be left alone. The Leader agrees. Back at Zion, the attacking sentinels are put on hold. Morpheus realizes this is because of something that Neo has done. The Leader provides a specific connection for Neo to enter the Matrix.
Neo, he fights for us!
In the Matrix, we have only Smiths. The one who cloned on The Oracle steps forward. He says “It ends tonight. l know it does. I’ve seen it. That’s why the rest of me is just going to enjoy the show because we already know that I’m the one that beats you”. Smith has the eyes of the Oracle now. The two of them get into to a brutal battle. Neo takes quite a beating but refuses to go down. Smith gets agitated. But then he says:
Wait. I’ve seen this. This is it. This is the end. Yes. You were laying right there, just like that. And I…. I…. I stand here, right here, and I’m supposed to say something. l say: “Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo.
Unfortunately for Smith, the Oracle (from within Smith) reminds Neo about what she had mentioned earlier. She had told Neo that Smith is Neo’s opposite. Neo understands that the only way to stop him is not by winning over him but to die with him. Neo stops fighting. He allows Smith to clone onto him. Neo’s physical body is plugged into the Matrix via a specific connection made from the Machine City. The machines now have a handle to Smith via Neo. They send energy surges into Neo’s body which transcends down to Smith who is cloned onto Neo. The Machines destroy Smith. But in the process they also kill Neo. Neo dies along with Smith bringing his reign to an end. At Zion, as promised by the Machine Leader, the sentinels are called back and Zion is allowed to survive. Because it’s the word of a machine, the word was honoured.
The Matrix is reloaded and reset back to before Smith’s mess. The Oracle meets with the Architect. The Architect says “You played a very dangerous game”. Oracle replies by saying ”Change always is”. The Architect confirms that the others who want to leave the Matrix will be allowed to do so. Sati creates a beautiful sunrise saying it’s for Neo. She asks if they would see Neo again. The Oracle says she suspects that they will someday. She is not referring to Neo. She’s referring to another anomaly like Neo. The 7th one. Such is the nature of the Matrix and they will continue forward in this 7th version with peace for as long as it can last.
Here’s the explanation to the first part – The Matrix Simplified & Explained.
Here’s the explanation to the second part – The Matrix Reloaded Simplified & Explained.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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