Many people have written me saying how confused they were by the end of the Matrix Revolutions. Many others that they hated the ending. Well, it may not be the ending many wanted, but it’s the only way it could have ended the arc.
Here’s something that many of us wanted to see: Neo fighting the million Agent Smiths, and finding a way to destroy each and every one. Saving the people in the Matrix and bringing them to Zion. Being the hero of the people. Superman.
What would have happened?
Destroying the Smiths, but not himself: He’s a hero. He flies off triumphantly, with the loss of Trinity to sit with for the rest of his life, lest he find another girl.
Saving the people and bringing them to Zion: How many people can Zion sustain? The Matrix is a huge place, and saving everyone at once would create chaos for the city of Zion. All the newly free people would try to adjust to finding out that their lives were all simulations, and also figuring out how to live in the Real World
Clearly that scenario has a major problem, and it’s not the fault of the storytelling, it’s just that it’s being realistic.
Now, what happened:
Neo and Smith have it out, after Neo exchanges Peace for Agent Smith’s head with the Deus Ex Machina. As the fight is waged, Neo hears the words of the Oracle again. “Everything that has a beginning, has an end.”
Here we must jump back for a bit.
In the first film, Neo jumps inside of Agent Smith, and tries to delete him, but in doing so, copies a part of himself onto Smith. Smith is now upgraded, and can copy himself onto anyone in the Matrix.
In Reloaded, Neo is almost copied onto by Smith, and he describes it as the same feeling that he had when he was back in the hallway in “The Matrix” when Smith shot him. “It felt like dying.”
Back to the fight, he knew that he must sacrifice himself to destroy Smith. Neo was plugged into the Source, and Smith was beyond the control of the Source.
Smith’s purpose was to stop Neo. We were told that any program without a purpose was deleted or removed. Smith, upon killing Neo, no longer had a purpose.
Once Smith copied himself onto Neo, killing him, the Deus Ex Machina upgraded the Matrix code, as the Architect said would happen. Smith was deleted. The Matrix reloaded. Smith, and all of his copies disappeared, but the programs that were overwritten by Smith returned to normal. Sati, the Oracle, but not Neo. Neo was not a program, which is why his body wasn’t lying there when the reload happened. If all the human’s that Smith copied himself onto were there at the end, when Sati woke up, this would be disputable. However, there was only Sati and the Oracle out of millions. Smith hadn’t taken over everyone, as can be seen based on the time they took Neo to see the Oracle.
The revolution was complete. The cycle of the One. The first film was his slimy birth, and coming to know that he is the One. The second was about life, and the knowledge that comes with it. The third about death. Neo’s story is over. The A.I. will free anyone that discovers the truth about the Matrix. The people in the Real World will live on.
All that they ever wanted was peace, from the first film, to the third. The purpose of the One wasn’t to free everyone from the Matrix. It never was. It was just how we perceived it based on the words used. “So, you’re here to save the world.” The world that Cypher was referring to, was not the people inside the Matrix, but rather the people of Zion, and to end the war.
but that ending sucks!
You’d think so, but the character arc is based loosely on Christ, correct? Now, what did people want Jesus to do? Go and kick some butt. But He didn’t. He died humbly. Neo’s humility in offering himself and dying for the peace of the world was something that not many wanted so see, or simply didn’t understand.
“for this is the day… …that a Superman died”
We never wanted to have to watch Trinity die. We didn’t want Neo to die. We don’t like seeing people at their weakest. They are our heroes, and heroes never die, right? We wanted the humans to destroy the machines. We wanted Vengeance. What we got instead, was peace. We got what we least expected, but what we should have expected from the start. Everyone was brought to their knees, some survived, but all suffered. And in the end, there is peace, and a chance to breathe.