YMMV / The Matrix

Works in this franchise with their own YMMV pages:

The franchise as a whole

  • Awesome Music: Both Don Davis's compositions and the licensed tracks in this series are amazing.
  • Deader Than Disco: In the span of 10 years, It went from a red hot new franchise that was predicted to become the next Star Wars, to stone-cold dead. While the first movie is still considered a classic, the divisive reception to the sequels and tie-in media, along with the army of imitators the films spawned, made the public tire quickly of the films and their stylistic elements. The films were parodied so often that even jokes about the Matrix are usually met with scorn, and tropes it helped to popularize, like Bullet Time, are rarely taken seriously.
  • Designated Hero: For their willingness to kill civilians, the heroes often are accused of being this.
  • Foe Yay: Smith/Neo can be implied in much of Smith's talking to Neo.
  • 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.
  • 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: Subverted with the Merovingian, who would like to be this trope very, very much but finds himself outmatched in the end.
  • 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 paranoid feeling that some people have always had ("The Truman Show delusion" immediately preceded it).
    • The term "Red Pill" has been appropriated by several kinds of extremist societies on the Internet, including (but not limited to) misogynist and transphobic ones, and forms the title of one of the most controversial subreddits. The franchise's creators, The Wachowski Brothers have since had transitioned into women and are now known as just The Wachowskis.
  • 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 staple of sci-fi for decades, including the movie Dark City, which came out just before The Matrix.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: A common theory was that the "real world" Neo and the other redpills awoke to was a secondary Matrix built as a failsafe in case anyone in the "inner Matrix" broke out, so that the Machines would have two layers of control and security. Despite explaining numerous potential plot holes and providing a lot of Fridge Brilliance, this theory was ultimately proven untrue.

The first film

  • 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.
  • Genre Turning Point: Western cinema has been lambasted for usually having terrible fight choreography compared to Asian cinema. This was the film where those fight choreographers from Asia got to show what they do in in Western cinema and a new standard for film fights in the West was born.
  • 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.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • 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.
    • In Internet culture, the red pill has become a meme linked with the men's rights movement and pick-up artists. It's also been co-opted by reactionaries who use it when educating people against liberalism and for their ideology. Ironically, the Wachowskis have come out as trans women, who red pillers tend to be against.
  • 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.
  • Retroactive Recognition: These days, the other two agents in the first film are likely to be recognized as Stark and Longmire.
  • 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 (or Blade doing Bullet Time a year before). 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.
  • 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.