The first four paragraphs of this review are relatively spoiler-free. I discuss some minor plot set-up stuff, but other than that, it's safe to read. I'll warn you before I start spoiling.
Not since Marty McFly went back to the Old West to find Doc Brown in love with Mary Steenburgen--of all people--have I been so disappointed with a final chapter in a movie trilogy.
The Matrix Revolutions doesn't have the vapid Mary Steenburgen, nor does it have the warm 'n' fuzzy Ewoks, nor a bumbling Marcus Brody, nor a horrendous Sophia Copolla. In fact, Revolutions is a pretty good movie... up until its thoroughly, inexplicably unsatisfying conclusion.
The movie begins right where the second one left off, with Neo unconscious, the Machines still drilling into Zion, and everyone basically in a really bad way. Soon enough, Neo wakes up, has a chat with the Oracle and eventually realizes what he has to do. He and Trinity get to it, while Morpheus and the others head back to help Zion.
I will say that up until the very end, the movie had me. I was totally diggin' it. The big Machines vs. Zion battle is fantastic, frantic, intense and exciting. The Neo/Agent Smith stuff was great. And then came the end.
And here come my serious, serious spoilers.
Over the course of the three films, the essential conflict is the humans vs. the machines. The machines overwhelm the human population both in quantity and in strength. The odds are astronomically stacked against the humans. But there is no choice. Fight or die. Either the humans will prevail or the machines will defeat them. One or the other. Those are the only possible conclusions.
What if Neo makes a deal with the machines?! You see, within the Matrix, Agent Smith is multiplying and his powers are growing. Soon, he will destroy everything: both humans and machines! That is his purpose. It is inevitable! So Neo BARGAINS with the machines: "I'll take care of Smith. I want peace in return." And the Machines accept! Neo beats Smith and the Machines retreat(!) and unplug all their human "batteries"(!!). The end.
The Wachowskis should have at least offered a free tube of anal lube with every movie ticket sold for the ass-rape of an ending that moviegoers receive. For three films, Neo and the gang fight tooth and nail to win the humans' freedom from the oppressive, unstoppable Machines--and now they "win" with a deal. With fucking peaceful negotiations! And off the machines go, honoring their agreement! (Nevermind how the machines are going to survive without their "batteries" now).
What an abrasively arrogant and unpleasing end to such a promising trilogy. This could have been one of the classics. It was so close.