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  • Awesome Music: Although it was used in the film very briefly, Rob Dougan's "Furious Angels". While not as well known as his other contribution to The Matrix, "Clubbed to Death", it's still a super badass song.
  • Badass Decay: The Agents, though still anything but harmless, are much less of a threat than they were in the first film. Neo utterly dominates three of them at once during their fight early in the movie, Smith overwrites them without any problems whatsoever, and even Morpheus manages to hold his own for quite a while and without serious injuries instead of getting curbstomped like when he went up against Smith back in the day. Trinity is the only main character to run into some troubles with an Agent, but even then she gives as good as she gets.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
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    • The Architect was seen by some fans as a perfect description of the creator of the Matrix or some describe him as just an underwritten character. While most casual film-goers hated his long-winded Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness speech, Philosophers and intellectuals found it refreshing to see in a film (the ones who didn't deride it as everything wrong with post-modernism in one speech, anyway).
    • A lot of people find the Merovingian annoying and this clearly the intent of the filmmakers, but there are even more who like him for sheer virtue of having a more vibrant personality compared to the main cast, some genuinely funny moments, and he only expounds his personal world view rather than everyone else's failed attempts at sounding deep.
    • Link. To some, he is an interesting character, while to others, he's a Plucky Comic Relief Replacement Scrappy to Tank.
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  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Some viewers consider the 10 minutes of Monica Bellucci in a dress apparently painted onto her body to be the movie's only memorable/tolerable part. Others remember the fight scenes.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The rave scene. Several minutes of highly sexually suggestive dancing intercut with Neo and Trinity having sex. It has little plot relevance except to show the human vitality of Zion and characterize it as something worth saving.
  • Boring Invincible Hero: Now that he has the powers of The One, Neo is simply too overpowered for there to be much real tension in any action scene involving him. He opens the film effortlessly fighting off three Agents, and only shows off greater powers from there. The biggest action scene actually doesn't involve him at all, with the tension shifted to whether he can get there in time to save the day.
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  • Contested Sequel: While it's action scenes such as the highway chase are highly praised, it's often debatable how well it holds up to the original film. With time however, this film's reception has dwindled.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Twins.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Persephone is also well-liked for calling the Merovingian on his bullshit and, well, for being played by Monica Bellucci in a low-cut dress.
    • The Creepy Awesome albino Twins. It helps that they have one of the few memorable action scenes that doesn't devolve into Narm
    • The Keymaker. Hell, he even got to make a cameo in the MTV parody of the film!
  • Fetish Retardant: The rave/sex scene. The humans are variously dirty and sweaty as they dance in a highly sexual manner, and we see Neo and Trinity having sex with the plugs on their bodies in full view as they do so. Odds are no one is going to be aroused by this.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The comparison between Neo and Superman become this now that Agent Smith is a prisoner in the Phantom Zone.
  • It Was His Sled: The revelations that Smith is a virus and that the Architect is watching Neo isn't worth mentioning anymore.
  • Memetic Badass: Neo. Also Morpheus and The Sentinels.
  • Memetic Mutation: "This is the [Nth] time we have [X], and we have become exceedingly efficient at it."
  • Narm:
    • That rave/sex scene between Neo and Trinity early on in the film. See Fetish Retardant above.
    • Neo vs. the Smiths teeters between this and Narm Charm. On one hand the fight scene is largely considered to be genuinely well done. On the other hand; seeing a half dozen Hugo Weavings getting kicked around, resulting in reinforcements being called in again, and again, and again until there's a crowd of Smiths can elicit laughter. The Smiths almost dejected look when Neo flies away adds to it.
    • The Architect's often mocked Hannibal Lecture due to his hilariously forced Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness — in particular, his tour of all the words that can convey the concept of "therefore" — certainly counts. However, many people over the age of about 70 loved the feature.
    • The film insisted on acting like Bullet Time was still just as fresh and cool as it was in the first movie...while ignoring how it had become a tired cliché in the years between The Matrix and Reloaded.
    • The sheer ineptitude of the regular Agents in this movie. While their inability to stop Neo is understandable, even the other red pills make constant fools of them.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Reveal that the machines have destroyed Zion repeatedly in the past, and it only exists as a Batman Gambit to bring those who deny the Matrix together, and the machines can periodically get rid of them once their numbers get too great. And if Neo doesn't comply with this cycle, the Matrix will be destroyed too, destroying the entire human race. When Neo claims they need humans to survive and wouldn't let that happen, the Arcitect coldly tells him "There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept." This scene turns the franchise on its head — there was never really a war. Zion and the rebellion only exists because Zion allows it to, they have the full capacity to wipe it out any time they want, and it's only by their mercy that our species is allowed to exist as a fuel for them, and even then they see us as expendible if we don't get in line.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Leigh Wannell, who wrote and co-starred in Saw the following year, is one of the operators of the Vigilant in Reloaded who dies in the bridge accident before they can alert the ship of the impending Sentinel bomb attack.
    • Also Link, who went on to play Michael on Lost. Guess he has a thing for ontological mysteries.
    • For Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans, the agent Morpheus fights on the truck is Daniel Bernhardt, aka "Jean-Claude Gosh Darn" from Future War.
  • Rewatch Bonus: People will never see the monitors the same way in the first film after the Architect's appearance.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The general consensus of the film.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The film has numerous instances where Neo is clearly not in the scene and the entirety of his body is computer-generated. While not necessarily a Special Effects Failure, it doesn't look very convincing, and the fact that the film cuts to slow motion every five seconds only serves to drive the point home.
    • During the freeway chase, a car flips over in slow-motion and the interior stunt-rigging and roll cage are clearly visible through the door as it flies open.
    • The Burly Brawl eventually turns completely CG in a very obvious way. DVD and Blu-ray releases of the film made the obviousness much worse.
    • Also note that the filmmakers and studio touted the sequels' "virtual cinematography" as a breakthrough on the level of the first movie's Bullet Time.
      • To make it worse, when Morpheus is fighting on the semi, they screw up a basic "bluescreen" Job. Good luck taking it to the next level when you can't even handle THIS level.
      • When they do use CGI for that scene, there are still failures, making Morpheus and Agent Johnson look like battling action figures. Johnson's earlier jumping off a car is similarly something that - well, if they hadn't done the shot in slow motion they might have got away with it for at least one viewing.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: After the Merovingian gets done with some lengthy Fauxlosophic Narration and Persephone says, "I'm so sick of his bullshit. On and on...", it's hard to imagine that at least some of the audience wasn't thinking, "You can say that again, honey."
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Not enough time is given to Smith as Bane, even though it's his first time in the real world and he's become the thing he despises. It would have been interesting to see his reactions to a real body; you can see a little bit when he's staring at his own cut hand.
    • Niobe and Ghost's assault on the Nuclear Power Plant had the potential to top the Lobby Shootout from the first film. Instead, it's a Offscreen Moment of Awesome that's only seen in the infamously buggy tie-in video game Enter the Matrix.
    • The Merovingian is said by Persephone to have once been "like Neo," and the Merovingian dynasty is the one that the infamous (and disproven) "Holy Grail / Blood Royal" theory says are descendants of Jesus Christ. In tandem with The Reveal that Neo was not the first "The One", there was speculation that the Merovingian was a former "One," if not the human himself then a Program created in the human's image, and Persephone was his Trinity. The potential never went anywhere.
    • Persephone heavily implies that stories of creatures like werewolves and vampires come from old programs with unusual abilities and weaknesses. This seems like it is foreshadowing a major fight with such things, but nothing really comes from it. Once again, this idea was relegated to the video game Enter the Matrix, where Niobe and Ghost fight vampires and werewolves in the Merovingian's mansion.
  • Vindicated by History: Inverted. It was well-received by fans and critics during its initial release, and was financially successful enough that it held the title of the highest grossing R-rated film at the box office, until it was dethroned a year later by The Passion of the Christ and in 2016 by Deadpool. However, both critical and fan opinion soured after the release of Revolutions, and the general perception today is that both films are pretentious and bloated. Although Reloaded, is still considered the better of the two by a fair margin.
  • The Woobie: Persephone, a beautiful and lonely woman stuck married to, in her own words, a "pompous prick" who treats her like crap and slips away from dinner to cheat on her with a random patron he likes the look of. And it's pretty heavily implied this isn't the first time he's done it.
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