First, The Matrix Reloaded. I’m not going to say a lot, both because I don’t want to spoil things for anybody and because I don’t have a whole lot to say.
The short version is, I enjoyed it nearly as much as I enjoyed the original. But it’s important to specify that I didn’t love the first movie — I enjoyed it, but a few months after I saw it and realized that everyone else was raving about it, I was left asking “Wait, did I see the same movie you did?” I would give both the original Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded around 4/5, though maybe a little less if I was having a bad day.
The one real problem I had with Reloaded was what felt like a lack of editing. There were a couple of scenes that I would have liked to have seen cut out of the movie completely, and several others just went on way way too long. I was also unhappy with how heavily dependent they made the ending on the “to be concluded.” I would have liked to have seen them tie things up at the end of this episode just a little more — it would have been doable, I think. As it was it just felt like lazy storytelling.
But, I liked the plot twist in the movie possibly more than I liked anything plotwise in the first movie, and there were some awesome action sequences, and overall, I had a pretty good time.
In case you haven’t seen the movie yet, make sure you wait through the (incredibly long and dense) credits to see the Matrix Revolutions preview, which I think looked better than Reloaded.
As for X2, I enjoyed that a lot, and would give it a strong 4/5.
I really enjoyed Nightcrawler in the movie, except for the part where they modeled him after the newer more religious Nightcrawler in the comics. But the opening scene with him in the White House was just great.
I also really enjoyed recognizing the other characters that made brief appearances throughout the movie, and liked all of the character development that everyone whose name wasn’t Ororo Munroe got. Nightcrawler was good, Wolverine saw good development, and I even enjoyed the little thing going back and forth between Ice Man and Rogue.
The action sequences were great, and I really liked the way all of the pieces of the final sequence in the dam came together. And I admit I didn’t realize Magneto’s ploy until just a few seconds before it happened. The one thing I didn’t particularly like about this movie was that there was no real scene where all of the X-Men were fighting together.
I guess my only other real complaint about the movie was that it was almost too violent at times. Between Wolverine fighting the soldiers in the mansion, Pyro blasting the police, and the Wolverine/Lady Deathstryke battle… I was left saying “God that was violent” a few too many times. Oh, I guess one more complaint was just that Lady Deathstryke wasn’t even named in the movie, and she was completely one dimensional (and hence wasted as a character) thanks to that mind control soup.