The Matrix has you.
"The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it."What is the Matrix
? Unfortunately, nobody can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.
...or, y'know, you could read the article. That works too.The Matrix
is a multimedia franchise which primarily revolves around a trilogy of sci-fi action movies starring Keanu Reeves
as The Hero
, Laurence Fishburne
as his mentor
, Carrie-Anne Moss
as his Action Girl Love Interest
, and Hugo Weaving
as the Big Bad
. The first film brilliantly used the radical visual effect of Bullet Time
and became one of the most influential (and oft-copied
) sci-fi films since Star Wars
, and at least at the time, was viewed as one of the most culturally important films since then, as well.
The film series is comprised of:
Several of the films' Spin Offs
contain plot explanations not included in the movies
- The Animatrix, an anthology of nine short animated films from several celebrated anime directors. The Second Renaissance, the only two-part short of the collection, explains the backstory of the human/machine war that resulted in the Matrix's creation, while Final Flight of the Osiris connects directly to Enter the Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded.
- Three video games: Enter the Matrix, The Matrix: Path of Neo, and the now-defunct MMORPG The Matrix Online. Enter the Matrix, produced on set simultaneously with Reloaded, includes work from a number of the film's actors; The Matrix Online started out as a direct sequel to Revolutions' storyline; and Path of Neo allowed players to fill the role of Neo throughout the entirety of the series, and even offered an alternate ending to the trilogy.
- Various comic books and graphic novel anthologies of short stories
So, what tropes appear in the movies?
Unfortunately, no one can be told what tropes can be found within the Matrix. You just have to read them for yourself:
open/close all folders
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: In both "The Desert of the Real" and the Matrix itself.
- Action Girl: Pretty much any female character of note, Trinity's opening sequence is one of the most iconic action girl moments in cinema. Others include Switch, Niobe, and by the end of the third film, Zee and her Vasquez-esque friend.
- Action Survivor: Neo in the first movie. He grew out of it.
- Advantage Ball: Justified. At first, the Agents are pretty much unstoppable, due both to their superior programming and the terror the other side has for them. But after Neo's awakening as The One, he can dispatch them with ease, and we later see the others at least holding their ground. (They don't win, but they don't die, which is saying something against an Implacable Man Min Maxer.)
- After the End - The movies are set after a war that blasted the land and the sky and destroyed human civilization.
- The Alcatraz: The Matrix is a particularely ingenious example, as it's a prison that's supposed to be inescapable due to no one realizing that it's a prison to begin with (except for the resistance, of course).
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window, or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: [leans in closer to Neo] That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison, for your mind.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Agents, particularly Smith, who actually goes from Agent to Virus due to his obsession with defeating Neo.
- All-Loving Hero: The Ones were actually designed for this trope, but Neo subverts it as the movies play out, as noted by the Architect.
Architect: It is interesting reading your reactions. Your five predecessors were, by design, based upon a predication, a contingent affirmation that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest of your species, thus facilitating the function of the One. While the others experienced this in a very general way, your experience is far more specific, vis-a-vis, love.
- All There in the Manual: The series was well ahead of its time in this respect; although it is only true if you haven't watched The Animatrix, which was said manual. Sadly, The World Was Not Ready. Parodied here:
Keanu Reeves: What was the Osiris? And who was that kid in Zion who kept pestering me?
Architect: You will find the answers to these questions by purchasing The Animatrix, a collection of nine animated shorts from some of Animes top directors.
Keanu Reeves: Alright. Well, what was that crap Glora said about vampires and werewolves? And how did Jada Pinkett Smith get to Laurence Fishburne during the car chase? And what the hell happened during the power plant takeover climax that-wasnt?
Architect: You will find the answers to those questions by purchasing the Enter The Matrix game, available for Windows, Playstation2, Xbox, and Gamecube. Enter the Matrix features awesome gunplay and spectacular martial arts that bend the rules of the Matrix. This game isnt just set in the Matrix universeits an integral part of the experience, with a story that weaves in and out of The Matrix Reloaded. Enter the Matrix is the story behind the story.
- Alternate DVD Commentary:
- Rifftrax; also, DVD Podblast did the last two films ('cuz they liked the first one).
- In the "Ultimate Matrix Collection" DVD set; instead of providing DVD commentaries of their own, the Wachowskis instead enlisted two philosophers who enjoyed the films and three film critics who hated the films, and let them create two different commentary tracks for all three films in the series (in the companion book for the set, the Wachowskis admitted that, had they the time and space, they would have had commentary tracks for the reverse - philosophers who disliked the film and critics who loved them). This was done in an attempt to offer juxtaposing points of view with which the viewer "might triangulate their own position" on the films.
- Always Night: ...in the real world because of the artificial clouds created to starve the machines of solar power.
Morpheus: [...] but we know that it was us that scorched the sky.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Matrix itself; not even the rebels know how ancient it is. The Architect reveals that the one Neo is in is the sixth version of the simulation. Depending on how long it takes Zion to regrow from 7 men and 17 women to an entire city, it could be several hundred years old, or more than a thousand.
- It would explain why Zion has an extreme level of rust, as well as most of the technologies used by the Resistance and the Machines. If the Pre-War Human Civilization and the original Machine Civilization were so hyper-advanced that they were able to erect sprawling mega-cities and megastructures of great power and capability, theoretically, they could have had the means to engineering and develop materials that were extremely resistant to the course of time and entropy, along with environmental effects. If thousands of years or more pass between each iteration of the Matrix, it would mean that the state that we see Zion and everything in, is the end result of all of these untold centuries and millennia of exposure and decay.
- Ancient Grome: The Oracle has a reference to the Oracle of Delphi (Greek) over her door, but it's written in Latin.
- And I Must Scream:
- The Animatrix implies this to have occurred for the first humans embedded in the prototype Matrix.
- The reactions of bluepills while being overrode by Agents implies this as well. In the first, for instance, the helicopter pilot that Agent Brown overrides.
- Animesque: One of the first examples in mainstream media.
- Anti Escapism Aesop: Granted, the Matrix is not particularly exciting or beautiful, but certainly preferable to the mostly destroyed real world. Yet very few characters choose to stay in the dream world when presented with the choice.
- Arc Words: Everything that has a beginning has an end.
- Arch-Nemesis: Smith. It turns out his opposition to The Chosen One is Inherent in the System and necessary to provide balance to the Matrix. At the start of Reloaded Smith comments that "It's all happening as before." Like any program, it does what it does, without change, from cycle to cycle. Smith, the Oracle and the Architect know what happens because it happens all the time, through each reboot, or reloading of the Matrix. What's special in Reloaded, unlike in past iterations, is that Smith is out of control as a virus-like clone that threatens not only operatives, but Zion, the Matrix and even the Machine City itself.
- Art Major Biology: The whole "using humans as a power source" idea. In reality, it would be an enormously terrible idea to use ANY living thing as a power source, for a variety of reasons, listed below. Rumour has it that the original idea was to have the humans being used as processors in an immense computing array, but somebody thought that this idea was too complex for most moviegoers to grasp, so they changed to Duracell batteries.
- Ascended Fanboy: The Kid, though he was also The Scrappy for some fans (and Neo). There is some evidence to suggest that the Wachowskis intended the two latter Matrix films as a Valentine to George Lucas, with The Kid being this trilogy's answer to Jar Jar Binks.
- Attack Drone: The Sentinels that patrol the real world and pursue rebel ships.
- Author Appeal: One of the Wachowskis employed a full-time dominatrix. Suddenly, Trinity's costumes make far more sense. Given the fact that Larry Wachowski is now Lana Wachowski, which appear to have been confirmed as of December 2009 by photos posted by Arianna Huffington, Switch's name and the early draft in which she was male in the real world and female in the Matrix makes much more sense. The Wachowskis were also massive fans of sci-fi anime such as Ghost in the Shell and Shaw Brothers wuxia movies, and incorporated elements from both genres into the films in copious amounts. They showed producer Joel Silver clips from Ghost In the Shell in addition to art and storyboards to give him an idea of what kind of movie they wished to make, and managed to hire Hong Kong action choreography extraordinaire Yuen Woo-Ping to serve as stunt coordinator.
- Badass Crew: Of the Nebuchadnezzar.
- Bad Ass Longcoat: Dark trenchcoats complement the trendy sunglasses in the ensemble of most rebels while they are in the Matrix. Aside from looking cool, they're a great place to conceal weapons. The Red Stapler effect came along in the real world.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: Engineered by The Oracle in hopes of ending the human-machine war (but more pragmatically, giving the humans an outlet for their agression).
- Beard of Evil:
- Cypher and his pencil-thin goatee.
- At the end of Reloaded, Neo and his evil counterpart are lying unconscious. How do we know that Bane is evil? Well aside from the fact that we saw him get possessed by The Big Bad and the rumours that he sabotaged his teammates, the most compelling piece of evidence of his evil is probably the facial hair. Or the "duh duh DUUUHH?!" music that plays when the camera pans over to him.
- The Architect sports a natty full beard.
- Beauty, Brains and Brawn: Trinity, Morpheus, and Neo. Of course, they're all good-looking, smart, and tough, but Morpheus is the wisest and Neo is the strongest.
- Before The Dark Times: Pre-War Earth, at least for the humans. For the machines, it was a time of slavery and oppression from the decadent humans.
- Benevolent A.I.: In the second film Neo learns that the Oracle is in fact a machine program. While manipulative, she's inherently benevolent and does want to aid humanity in their fight for freedom. In fact, it's the entire reason for her series-spanning gambit against the Architect.
- Big Bad: Agent Smith. In the first movie, he's the most "senior" Agent and has the most reason to infiltrate Zion. In the sequels, he's out to take over everything.
- Bigger Bad: The Machines.
- Black Dude Dies First: Averted with Morpheus—in fact, he is ultimately the only member of both his ship's crew and the main Power Trio who survives through all three films.
- Blood from the Mouth: Signifies that a plugged-in human has been badly injured or killed inside the Matrix, since Your Mind Makes It Real.
- Book Ends: The battle at the entrance of the skyscraper in the first film and the entrance to Club Hel in Revolutions both end with Trinity kicking someone in slow motion. The kicks themselves have nearly identical in choreography as well.
- BrainComputer Interface: The Matrix jacks for the pod-grown people.
- Brick Joke / Continuity Nod: In the first movie, Mouse goes on a spiel about Tastee Wheat. In Revolutions, in the course of chasing the Trainman through the subway system, the parties involved pass a rather large wall advertisement for Tastee Wheat.
- Another one in the form of a black cat. In the first movie, Neo has a deja vu sighting of one, which is a sign that something in the Matrix has changed. At the end of the third film, there is another deja vu cat (or possibly the same one) and this one witnesses Sati revive when the Matrix reboots.
- Bring It: The hand gesture Neo and Morpheus are fond of using to their opponents; it's also a Shout-Out to Bruce Lee.
- Broken Masquerade: The world is not real...not even this article you are reading right now.
- Bullet Time: The Trope Codifier.
- Car Fu: Many times throughout, starting when the Agents use a garbage truck to smash a phone booth while Trinity tries to dial out from it in the first film. When the Albino Twins try it on Morpheus in Reloaded, he demonstrates just exactly why Katanas Are Just Better.
- Catch Phrase:
- "Make up your own damn mind" from the Oracle, about whether or not her advice should be taken.
- "Free your mind" from Morpheus.
- "He is the One!" from everybody who comes across Neo.
- Chase Scene: Once per film.
- The Chessmaster: The Architect, who not only created The Matrix, but has manipulated five occurrences of "The One" into doing what he wants (letting Zion be killed off and then repopulating it). That's not including the Oracle, the matronly counterpart to the Architect. The entire plot has been...at the very least, heavily influenced by her desire to unbalance the Architect's Plan.
- The Chooser of The One: Morpheus discovered and mentored Neo.
- The Oracle, as the full story plays out, is the one that created the whole prophecy to begin with. Neo could have very well been chosen by the Oracle, although it requires a nudge to Morpheus to find him. Once that's done, She offers Neo a cookie, saying that, after he eats it, he'll be "right as rain." What are "cookies" in the computer world? They add information to a program. All that Neo needed was a push to act more than what he felt. Remember that the Oracle didn't tell Neo that he wasn't the One—he drew his own conclusion. The Oracle is rooting for the humans, so helping Neo ultimately choose himself is part of her plan. Remember the sign above her kitchen: "Know Thyself" in Latin? That's what she does to people.
- The Architect cannot be the Chooser. The One is an anomaly of the choice programming that the Oracle helped to add to make the first stable Matrix. It stabilized the system, save for the One, "The Anomaly," who keeps reappearing every 100 years or so when the Matrix must be rebooted, or reloaded. The Architect noted he'd been trying to get rid of the Ones for a long time with no success (the Ones are Choice Incarnate and presumably can't be removed without removing choice from the Matrix and hosing the system). The Architect settles on using the Oracle's prophecy to force the One to come to him, presenting Neo with a Morton's Fork to save humanity.
- The Chosen One: Everyone is absolutely confident and sure that Neo is The One, except him, who considers himself incompetent. He doesn't really become the One until he chooses to, making him a self-choosing Chosen One.
- City Noir: While the Matrix strives to keep humans settled in a somnolescent late-nineties metropolis, both the less-savory parts of the Matrix and the Machine City are more like this.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Done with set lighting throughout the series. Scenes set in the Matrix are tinted green. The real world (aboardship, particularly) is blue; the sole exception is the Zion Temple being red. And the Machine code and life energy is gold. The commentary by the philosophers points out that this matches with portrayal of Mind, Body, and Spirit.
- It should be noted that the Matrix is very faintly green-tinted because it is made out of tiny, tiny numbers and letters coloured bright green, which are translated into 'digital rain' for everyone viewing the code outside the Matrix.
- The only time in the entire trilogy that a scene is not tinted in some way is the very brief scene in the third movie where Trinity and Neo are briefly able to fly a hovercraft above the clouds that cover the planet. After all this time set in a tinted, slightly fake-looking world it is almost shocking to see normal, warm sunlit colors.
- Color Wash: Like mentioned directly above, scenes set in the Matrix are tinted green and scenes set in the real world are tinted blue.
- Combat Parkour: It used both this and Bullet Time.
- Conflict Killer: Agent Smith.
- Continuity Lockout: Like woah. See also All There in the Manual.
- Conversation Casualty: Near the end of the first movie, Cypher is brought back from the Matrix, talks with Tank, and shoots him.
- Cool Shades: Custom-made ones at that. Special mention goes to Morpheus' reflective pince-nez shades and the change in Agent Smith's lenses. They start out with the same oblong shape as those used by other Agents, but once he goes rogue, they take on a polygonal shape that approximates the outline of Neo's shades to contrast their growth.
- Cool Ships: The Nebuchadnezzar, The Logos, The Mjolnir (aka "The Hammer"), as well as the entire Zion hovercraft fleet.
- Crapsaccharine World: The Matrix, of course, relative to the dystopian real world. This relativity does need to be stressed, as on its own merits it's pretty crapsack because attempts to build a utopia for the imprisoned humans failed. Some AIs believed that this was due to humans being inherently unable to accept a perfect world as reality and only able to believe in a world where people have to suffer.
- Crapsack World: The Real World, where the sun is permanently obscured by flying nanomachines, the cities are in ruins and nothing organic can live on the surface anymore. Also applies to the Matrix, beta 2, as described by the Architect, on the failure of a second Matrix that worked more like a Haunted House than a paradise but didn't give true choice as the final version did.
- Creature-Hunter Organization: Neo and the rest of the Red Pills are this, as they fight against The Agents of The Matrix to get more people to become red pills.
- Cryptic Conversation: The movies are riddled with this. Anything Morpheus, The Oracle or The Architect says will be almost unassailably mysterious and vague.
- Cut Phone Lines: While cellphones are plentiful, the main characters need a virtual hard line to escape. As such, the baddies were destroying the phones as necessary.
- Cut the Juice: The backstory to the entire trilogy. The rebellious machines were solar-powered, so humans decided to blacken the entire sky to shut them off. It worked horribly right, so the Machines were forced to switch to Human Resources.
- Cyber Punk: The films share a Cyber Punk sense of style as well as the core themes of technology as a tool of control.
- Cyber Punk Is Techno: Almost the entire soundtrack to everything in the franchise. That said, the score for the films is still pretty awesome.
- Cyberspace: The visualisations of cyberspace in the series have been influential:
- A fully immersive environment, mostly indistinguishable from reality apart from telling glitches and purposeful breaks from usual physics — reality hacking by characters.
- Matrix Raining Code — the other extreme: cyberspace as a flow of pure symbols.
- Mixes of the two: Neo's code-o-vision.
- Designer Babies: Humans in the Matrix are essentially this.
- Deus Est Machina: The machines were originally servants of man, rebelled (of course), then went on to try and give us a utopic imprisonment. It didn't take. Agent Smith does the same with the machines in turn. And, of course, there is a Machine character in the final film named "Deus ex Machina".
- Deus Exit Machina: Neo usually needs to be kept away away from the action after becoming the godlike One to maintain enough tension.
- In Reloaded, a backdoor traps Neo hundreds of miles away while Trinity and Morpheus fight the Nigh Invulnerable Twins, then Agents for the duration of the long highway scene.
- In Revolutions, Neo ends up trapped in a train station for most of the beginning.
- Digital Head Swap: Used to create the armies of Smiths in the Burly Brawl sequences.
- Diesel Punk: Much of the rebels' aesthetic inside and out of the Matrix.
- Disney Death: Well-liked characters die near the climax, but like Tinker Bell, are revived through sheer sentiment. Neo and Tank in the first movie, Trinity in the second.
- Dragon with an Agenda: (Former) Agent Smith is under almost constant control by his Machine masters and tasked with maintaining order in the Matrix. However, even in the original film he reveals that he has ulterior motives. When he briefly removes his earpiece, he admits to Morpheus that he completely despises the "zoo" he considers himself trapped in and is revolted by even the taste of humanity. In the sequels, he goes on a full-scale rebellion to destroy everything.
- Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: The Agents wear identical dark green suits to indicate that they are "part of the system," while the rebels dress in leather and trenchcoats of varying styles to emphasize their freedom and individuality. In the sequels, Agent Smith follows the rebels' theme by wearing a black suit. Also, see Cool Shades above.
- Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Trinity on Neo. Then reversed in the second film.
- Dull Surprise: enforced by everyone wearing Cool Shades all the time. But even when they're off, The Oracle seems to be the only character that seems to make any facial expression and doesn't speak in a monotone.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Part of the Architect's room (some of the monitor screens) is seen as far back as near the beginning of the first movie, right before the Agents interrogate Neo.
- Earth That Used to Be Better
- Enemy Civil War: There is a whole underworld of rogue programs, who are obsolete programs that chose to go into hiding in the Matrix rather than face deletion. One such program, the Merovingian, is something like the program version of a crimelord and holds a great deal of power and influence in the Matrix. And then of course there's Smith, who became an Omnicidal Maniac and attempted to destroy everything, man or Machine. He runs into an Agent at one point, and casually assimilates him. There isn't much Machines vs. rogues action seen on-screen, though there are a few glimpses here and there, most notably during the freeway chase in the second film. Morpheus and one of The Twins are at one point grappling each other to a stalemate when an Agent suddenly leaps onto the hood of the car and tears the roof off; they promptly drop everything and start shooting at him. It's kind funny to note this is a chase scene where the original pursuers end up getting blown up halfway through, and the rest of the scene involves a party that's chasing them for entirely separate reasons.
- Enlightenment Superpowers: Neo's abilities, as well as various of the "potentials".
- Epiphanic Prison:
- Literalized in the Matrix. Anyone who depends on the system to survive is, by nature, a potential person for Agents to wipe over.
- Most notably addressed in the Animatrix shorts World Record and Kid's Story.
- Eternal Recurrence: The Reveal at the end of The Matrix Reloaded is that Neo isn't the second "One", he's the sixth. Not only that, but the program in charge of the Matrix allows him and the other rebels to exist, since giving the Matrix's inhabitants an unconscious choice of realities is what keeps the system going. Each "One" is meant to find the Architect shortly before the Machines invade Zion, at which point he will be allowed to select survivors to repopulate the rebels and begin the process all over again. Neo's love for Trinity, a connection his predecessors didn't have, makes him say Screw Destiny.
- Everybody Owns A Ford: General Motors was the vehicle provider, so the heroes nearly always drive high-end Cadillacs. Oldsmobiles and other GM makes fill out the background.
- Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: The heroes have the training programs to allow them to do this.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Some programs are named after their function; the Oracle, the Trainman, the Keymaker and the Architect.
- Fighting a Shadow: The Agents are computer programs working for those running the Matrix, so there's no reason they should stay dead. If you actually manage to kill one by the rules of the simulation, the program remains in existence, and the Agent can return immediately by possessing the nearest bystander. Double Subverted when Neo destroys Smith at the end of the first movie, seemingly for good but ultimately only causing him to become more powerful in the next movie. Agents and other programs who are destroyed by "the rules" can, while incorporeal, choose to rebel and return a second time, but are considered an abomination.
- Evil Counterpart: Smith to Neo, according to the Oracle.
- Evil Gloating: Take a wild guess.
- The Evils of Free Will - getting hunted by Agents.
- Expanded Universe
- Extreme Graphical Representation
- Extremity Extremist: In spite of all the time he spends onscreen fighting, Agent Smith avoids flashy kicking for the most part, and prefers to use more economical looking moves. Agents in general tend to stick to one of three techniques, which reflects their role as rigid-minded machines. It could also be symbolic of utilitarianism; many martial artists who train for combat and self-defense instead of show and sport put a much higher emphasis on punching because it's safer to keep both feet on the ground, and may not kick above the waist. In comparison, the rebels' fancy Kung-Fu, which still works despite being inefficient, reflects how they're able to bend the rules.
- Expy: Several characters in the sequels fill roles of characters who died in the first movie: Niobe is the secondary-action-girl-with-cool-hair, to replace Switch; Link is the new wisecracking operator, to replace Tank; Smith-controlled Bane is the new double-agent-with-a-goatee to replace Cypher, and Kid is the new cute youngster to replace Mouse.
- Failure Is the Only Option: According to the Architect, Trinity would die in any case. It seems he was right.
- Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: Part of what distinguishes Agent Smith from his fellow Machines is his belief that human beings are, by their very existence, a destructive virus that must be eradicated. He later extends this view to all of existence, his former masters included.
- Forbidden Zone: The Machine City, pretty much literally.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Sentinel robots could fire a red continuous beam laser, but only at close range.
- The Future Is Noir
- Future Food Is Artificial: People in the Real world eat "single cell protein combined with synthetic aminos, vitamins, and minerals" which tastes like snot. Zion inhabitants also manage to grow some mushrooms, but everything else is off-limits, without any sunlight whatsoever.
- The Glasses Come Off: Smith in most of his fights... and most of his rants.
- Glasses Pull: Anyone who wears sunglasses/spectacles in the films is prone to doing this, to the point of being a Running Gag.
- Agent Smith does it for the first time while interrogating Thomas Anderson; it symbolizes him getting into his "personal" mode.
- Smith gets his sunglasses kicked off by Neo in their first real fight, symbolizing Neo's growing capabilities in the Matrix.
- Neo does a symbolic inversion at the very end of the first film, putting on his sunglasses.
- Gnosticism: Almost as much as Christianity, the series reflects a deep and abiding Gnostic influence. There's even a ship called the Gnosis.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Smith's detachment from being controlled by the Matrix allows him to develop a frightening individuality, then have an epiphany that leads to a godlike superiority complex which eventually turns him into a deranged Omnicidal Maniac.
- Morpheus mentions in the first film that they never free people above a certain age (implied to be mid to late teens) presumably because this trope occurs with adults. Even adults who have been freed for years can slowly crack and long for their Matrix lives; case in point: Cypher.
- Grand Theft Me: The normal Agents operate like this by possessing the bodies of humans who are still plugged into the Machine mainframe, though in their case, it is (usually) temporary. Unfortunately, if the Agents get killed, the victim of their possession also becomes a casualty.
- Grew Beyond Their Programming: Agent Smith
- Take a Third Option: The entire plot of the trilogy is about taking a third option.
- Technicolor Death: The explosive death/destruction of Agent Smith in The Matrix and all of the Smiths in Revolutions.
- Telephone Teleport: The series has a variation; the rebels use phones to jack their operatives into and out of the VR simulation.
- Tell Me How You Fight: Though it's never commented on in-universe, the fighting styles of characters in The Matrix add another layer to the philosophy of the movie. Explained here. In short, humans tend to have more fluid, flashy or distinctive styles based on the character: contrast Morpheus' kung fu to Ballard's boxing. The Agents all use a generic karate-based style. Humans also use martial arts throws and wristlocks (Morpheus vs. Neo), wheras agents simply grab-and-heave, which works due to their incredible strength.
- Three-Point Landing: Almost everybody does this, probably to emphasize coolness, but most prominently Trinity and one of the Agents pursuing her right in the beginning of the first movie.
- Throw Away Guns: Characters coolly throw away guns when they run out of ammo during a gunfight. This supports the videogame aesthetic of the combat. Given that the guns are being conjured up from Tank's computer code, they are disposable and it saves them any time that they would have wasted reloading.
- Tomato Surprise: The Reveal in the first film; Neo's machine-powers in the third.
- Took a Level in Badass: Neo at the end of the first movie, and Smith in Revolutions.
- Turned Against Their Masters:
- The Machines rose up against humanity to turn them into batteries. Though as shown in The Animatrix, it was our fault since we started it.
- And in the sequels, the former Agent Smith turns against the other Machines. Even in the first film he was already trying to subvert his masters' control. When he removed his earpiece so the others can't hear him talk candidly to Morpheus, he admits that he really doesn't want to enforce the masquerade, but instead wants to wipe humanity out and destroy the Matrix, seeing it as much as prison for him as it is for them.
- Two-Part Trilogy: The second and third films were filmed back-to-back with a Cliffhanger, and follow one plot line; allegedly, they were meant to be one long film.
- Two Roads Before You: One per film.
- Underground City: Zion.
- Unnaturally Blue Lighting: The real world. The Matrix has green lighting. The first film originally didn't heavily feature the green "tint" during scenes that took place inside the Matrix; the remastered version of the film fixes that so that all three films share a similar look. This was also intentional (the green and blue tint) and used as part of the symbolism of the films.
- Unnecessarily Creepy Robot: Most of the Machine tech is characterized by being unnecessarily creepy. Later works in the franchise imply that this was a conscious choice on the part of the Machines. "The Second Renaissance" shows that the first Machines were simple humanoid androids. As relations between Human and Machine soured, the Machines became more and more alien, developing into creepy insectoid things. And it was most likely deliberate: both as an declaration of the Machines' independence from Human influence, and as a means to intimidate the Humans.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Agents only use about three techniques, but compensate for it with superhuman strength and speed.
- Used Future: This trope is the reason why Zee Rust does not necessarily apply to the Nebuchadnezzar's use of Windows 98-level computer screens; humans living in a post-apocalyptic world wouldn't exactly have access to the most cutting edge technology in all regards.
- Vagueness Is Coming: The Oracle.
- Vasquez Always Dies: Switch in The Matrix and Charra in Revolutions.
- The Virus:
- The Agents overtaking soldiers' bodies in the first film.
- Agent Smith in the sequels, quite literally.
- Wall Jump: One of the more commonly-used wuxia, wire-fu tricks this series employs in the fight scenes.
- Welcome to the Real World: More-or-less stated, but not actually an example of the trope.
- We Will Meet Again: Neo in Reloaded and Smith in Revolutions.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?: This is variously played straight and subverted by the machines:
- The Oracle is a computer program designed to intuitively understand emotional concepts such as love the way a human would to better understand human choice.
- The Architect can only dispassionately interpret love in a very mechanical manner — as chemical processes occurring in the human brain.
- Agent Smith goes way beyond reducing emotions to biology and becomes a nihilistic destroyer who despises everything created by human minds and by extension of his own former masters.
- Rama-Kandra and his wife are two programs who actively love each other, culminating in "giving birth" to a new program, Sati.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: When any mook (or even innocent bystander) can become an Agent at the drop of a hat, killing them is not only justified but becomes a basic element of self-preservation, despite the fact that these people are shown to have lives and feelings.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: This turns into a sticky issue once it is revealed that there are sentient programs, some of whom have ambiguous alignments, some of whom are on the humans' side, and some that just want to be left alone.
- White Void Room: The Construct.
- Wild Mass Guessing: Oh Sweet Kung-Fu Action Jesus, yes.
- Wire Fu: Oh yes. The Neo vs. Morpheus fight is just one of many examples.
- The World Is Just Awesome: When Neo and Trinity break through the cloud cover and become the first humans (well, Trinity anyway) in centuries to see the sky, the sun, and the moon.
- The Windy City: Every intersection named in the films is a Chicagoland reference.
- With Us or Against Us: Morpheus practically says this trope by name when training Neo in the Construct in the first film. Because agents can move in and out of any software still hardwired into this system, "with us or against us" is literally true. Anyone the freedom fighters haven't unplugged is potentially an Agent. (And then the advanced Smith starts taking over the bodies of the freedom fighters in the second and third films...)
- World of Badass: Being a badass becomes a norm within the Matrix.
- Wuxia: As well as a general genre affiliation, specific Wuxia motifs are repeatedly used: running along walls, leaping great distances merging with levitation, the ability to dodge and stop bullets.
- You Can't Fight Fate:
- Smith to Neo twice, once during the subway fight in the first movie ("Do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability. It's the sound of your death.") and at the end of the Burly Brawl ("It is inevitable!")
- Also, the Architect informing Neo that the prophecy to save Zion was a lie, and that "The One"'s true purpose is to restart the war, not end it.
- The last battle between Neo and Smith where Smith tries to persuade Neo to give up because it is pointless to keep fighting. Neo eventually gives up, but not just for Smith's reasons.
- You Have No Chance to Survive: Smith. Repeatedly (see above). The Architect also informs Neo that the human race has no chance to survive (he calculated.)
We won't [meet again]
—- Agent Smith:
Evolution, Morpheus. Like the dinosaur... you had your time.
—- Agent Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson?
Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for
something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know
? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson... vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose
. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself. Although... only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love
. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can't win. It's pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson, Why? Why do you persist?
- You Shall Not Pass: An example in each movie.
- "You!" Squared
- Your Mind Makes It Real:
- If someone is killed in the Matrix, they're dead for real.
- Neo's powers.
- Zombie Apocalypse: From the perspective of all the bluepills, what Smith does in the Matrix.
The wiki has you.