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YMMV: The Matrix
Works in this franchise with their own YMMV pages:

The franchise as a whole

  • Designated Hero: For their willingness to kill civilians, the heroes often are accused of being this.
  • Evil Is Cool: Agent Smith.
  • Freud Was Right: Seriously, watch these movies with an eye toward sexual imagery and you'll find it everywhere, and in the most awful ways. The most graphic stuff is found in the first film, but it's still very much there in the last two. Makes you wonder just what was on the Wachowskis' minds the whole time they were writing this.
  • God-Mode Sue: Neo in the sequels. Most of the drama comes from him not being around to save the day. The Watchowskis did try to avert this ("Only human" is basically Neo's enemies' catchphrase), but he's still very, very powerful. Eventually becomes Blessed with Suck when he realizes what the real purpose of the "One" was. His destiny is to perpetuate the thing he wants to destroy. That may be the definition of meta-suckage.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Amusingly, Gina Torres is married to Laurence Fishburne in Real Life, but this is not the only time her character loses a husband.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Jada Pinkett Smith playing a key role in the sequels after her husband turned down the role of Neo.
    • The Wachowskis adding a character named "Mifune" to the series just a few years before going on to direct Speed Racer.
    • The fate of the Vigilant crew in Reloaded is straight out of Final Destination.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Agent Smith.
    • Subverted with the Merovingian, who would like to be this trope very, very much but finds himself outmatched in the end.
  • Memetic Mutation: Whoa.
    • Do you think this is a comment, that you're reading now?
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • In July 2002, a woman by the name of Tonda Lynn Ansley shot her landlady in the face. She proceeded to go for the Insanity Plea by claiming that she believed she was in a computer simulation, saying: "They commit a lot of crimes in The Matrix." The really weird part? This actually worked. A year later, a San Fransisco man named Vadim Mieseges used the same defense, for the same crime, even. This has led to "The Matrix Defense" being adopted as a real legal strategy.
    • This previously came up during the Columbine shooting, when some journalists speculated that Harris and Klebold might have been inspired by a certain amount of misaimed Matrix fandom.
    • Believing that reality is somehow unreal is a common delusion, the Matrix just happens to fit a feeling that some people have always had ("The Truman Show delusion" immediately preceded it). Like a paranoid believing that the government is bugging their house.
  • Older Than They Think: Revolutionary as the series (or perhaps only the first film) was, these movies owe a lot to classic cyberpunk, anime, fantasy and biblical lore. Many people think The Matrix invented Wire Fu, even though the technique has been used in countless martial arts films decades before the film was made.
    • The idea of The Matrix as well, being a modern/Sci-Fi update of Descartes's Demon, The Allegory of The Cave, Vedic notions of Maya, et cetera. Which had been a stapple of sci-fi for decades, including the movie Dark City, which came out just before The Matrix.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
  • The Scrappy: Take your pick: Mouse, Link, the Merovingian, the Architect...
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • As Morpheus explains, as long as humans are plugged into the Matrix, they are potential enemies who can be taken over at any moment by an Agent. Nevertheless, the sheer casual indifference with which every hero slaughters their way through what are, at best, Punch Clock Villains... and often enough simple bystanders who got too close to a given battle... can still raise some eyebrows.
    • As a result of the previously mentioned Matrix/Columbine association, kids who wear black trenchcoats sometimes are suspected of planning to blow up their school, even if they have zero intention to do so.
  • Villain Sue: Smith in the sequels. He becomes ridiculously overpowered and unstoppable.

The first film

  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: "He is the One."
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: "We do not know who was the first fan to decode the symbolism in the first movie..."
  • First Installment Wins: The first film is a classic of its kind. The sequels (especially the third film) tend to land in Fanon Discontinuity, though they're certainly not without their fans.
  • Fountain of Memes:
    • "There is no spoon."
    • "Stop trying to hit me and hit me!"
    • "Woah."
    • Neo's Bullet Time scene.
    • Image macros of Morpheus saying "What if I told you..." followed by some kind of factoid. (Morpheus never says this in the movie.) Unlike the above Matrix memes, this one took nearly a decade after the film to arise.
  • He Really Can Act: Keanu Reeves's performance in the first film is leagues ahead of what most people consider his standard performance in movies.
  • It Was His Sled: Though it's answered early on in the movie itself, "What is the Matrix?" is the Driving Question at the start, as well as for the movie itself before its release. Now it's difficult to find anyone who doesn't already know what the Matrix is.
    • As a bit of history, though the "we're actually living in a simulation" idea had been trod in science fiction before The Reveal coming so soon in the film (plus people assuming The Matrix would be some sort of kung fu magic power, judging by the trailers), made it a well-received twist when it came out.
  • Narm:
    • "What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer-generated dreamworld, built to keep us under control. In order to change a human being into this." Cue a close-up of Morpheus' face, after which he holds up a Duracell battery."
    • "TRINITY! HELP!"
    • The ridiculous way that the Sentinels spin around rapidly to throw bombs doesn't quite invoke the same reaction as their other methods of attack.
    • When Tank kills Cypher, he "spits" at him, but "spitting" consists of him simply angrily saying the phrase "ptoo!"
    • The stilted manner in which Trinity says "God damn you, Cypher!".
    • "It means fasten your seatbelt Dorothy, 'cause Kansas is going bye-bye."
  • One-Scene Wonder: Gloria Foster as The Oracle in the original film. It's actually hard to believe she was only on screen about 5 minutes. It helps that the whole film hinges around it, but her scene itself is completely gripping.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Several, but most notably the Oracle's dialogue during her first meeting with Neo.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Heavily influenced by anime, religion and the western, the first film caused such a major shift in culture and Special Effects, with the proliferation of Wire Fu and Bullet Time in action sequences that it was imitated constantly. The "bullet dodge" scene, in which Neo bends over backwards to avoid being hit by the Agent's shots, has been parodied to death, such that we don't realise (or remember) that it actually was cool for the time. Interestingly enough, it also suffered from Older Than They Think when it premiered to a young audience who were not aware of the multitude of Eastern and literary influences in the movie. One major area the sequels suffered in was that they continued playing all this stuff like it was just as revolutionary, after the first film had inspired so many imitations.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Many critics point out that Neo and Trinity provide no chemistry or even hint at being attracted to one another before she professes her love for him.
    • Well there are a few scenes hinting at it on Trinity's part, they're just not very obvious.
    • Weirdly enough, the sequels actually did a better job with this subplot than the original film.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: This film created a whole new style of visual effects so spectacular that the film was the first one to ever beat a Star Wars film at the Best Visual Effects Oscar.


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