The Matrix Trilogy must be one of the most significant films of our time, and is likely to go down as an all time sci-fi classic along with the likes of Blade Runner. It is obviously laden with symbology fished from a variety of sources, but I wonder if the Watchowski brothers realised just exactly how powerful a metaphor for our reality they were creating.
The central premise that our lives are not 'real' but are steeped in illusion in order that our life force may be fed upon whilst we are enfenced unwittingly like cattle - this is a relevant and powerful message on many levels. It can easily be seen that this is true on a superficial level, with the rampant rise of ultra-aggressive capitalist consumerism, whereby everyone is 'sold a dream' in order to siphon off all income to profit the few, but it goes deeper than that, and can be used to catch a glimpse of some ideas on the true nature of reality. The overlap with material such as Castaneda is remarkable, with stories about the archetypal predator who is invisible, and feeds on us because he has 'given us his mind'. In all, it is a striking metaphor for the human condition.
Of course the great thing is that, even if you don't want to explore things to those levels, taken at surface value as a piece of entertainment, the Matrix is still a fantastic sci-fi/action trilogy, with colourful characters, awesome visuals, and a solid original plotline. Taken as a trilogy, this is a fantastic piece of film-making artwork, though for me, this third episode is the weakest of the three, as the story gradually dissolves into excessive desperate violence, so for that reason I give it 4 stars. But don't get me wrong, it is still a very strong film and beats many other modern sci-fi efforts hands down. It just has a very high level of expectation to live up to, given the beginning of the trilogy.