The Matrix fucking rules, and the sequels mostly rule and are certainly much cooler than 99% of shit that comes out today. These are the best non-Keanu performances in the series (SO FAR). Something of note is that the majority of the performances originate or are solely contained in the first film! Probably not a coincidence!
Bellucci is not asked to say a lot, but she communicates so well in with just her face. She also brilliantly sets up The action sequence in the film. She was one of the few new characters introduced in Reloaded that left you wanting more (while also accepting her character was better off with less here).
7. Marcus Chong
Chong had a difficult job in the first film. He essentially had to give Morpheus and Trinity a break in the exposition dump department and then transition into believably mourning his brother while continuing to dump exposition in the final act of the film. All the while, he was constantly paired up with at least one of the three stars of the film. And he did it all very well!! It is really a shame we did not get more of him after the first entry.
The Keymaker is one of the million silly characters with a funny name introduced in Reloaded, but Kim’s performance helped to make his character stand out. The pathos he brought to the story was immediate and necessary, and his presence helped to make the stakes of the great highway chase feel acute and less obscure.
The presence of Morpheus essentially gave Foster a wide berth to be more of a stereotypically wise old sage character without it being so cliche. Foster truly took over the film with charisma in her few appearances and made Keanu seem like a nobody. You hung on every single world she said and only wanted more.
4. Hugo Weaving
Weaving had an insane character to play, and it’s a testament to him that he managed to make Agent Smith compelling despite him completely overstaying his welcome. In so many ways, Agent Smith’s evolution was a thematically appropriate and a nice mirror to what was going on with Neo. In many other ways though, I was kinda tired of him! But Weaving was great throughout regardless.
Joey Pants! There’s something so inherently lovable about Joey Pants which makes him the ideal villain in any movie. You’re immediately invested in him as a human being that allows you take some shortcuts with his characterization. On top of that, they actually made his motivations feel very understandable even if he was a snitch bitch. MORE BLOCKBUSTERS SHOULD INVOLVE JOEY PANTS!
There are so many scenes and moments that one can point to that capture the brilliance of Fishburne’s work. The most powerful one to me though was when Neo dies in the first film. The idea of a true believer being forced to confront the enormity of his own failures is really just a fucked up moment! And Fishburne conveys so much in that dead-eyed scare. It gives me chills.
Moss was just an amazing action star in these films!! She just felt like a genuinely lethal weapon of a human being here. The fact that she was able to do that and simultaneously being a genuine three-dimensional human in this batshit world was all the more remarkable. All hail Carrie-Anne Moss and what the Wachowskis did with her.
Moss and Lana Wachowski then added on to the Trinity character Resurrections. The moment “Tiffany” wakes to become Trinity one again is one of the most electric moments in the whole series. Only for them to top it later with the beauty to end the film as Moss gets to contemplate how exactly they will build a better world. That is just an important idea and an idea that movies rarely grapple with in any meaningful way.