The Matrix opens with a shot of a computer screen, indicating that a phone call is being traced, as we overhear the voices on the phone line discussing whether they have found “the One.” Policemen enter a motel room and confront one of the parties to the phone call: Trinity, a leather-clad, renegade computer hacker. Trinity dispatches them all with gravity-defying kung-fu moves. Reinforcements arrive in the form of Agents, men in business suits with ear radios and sunglasses, who commandeer the scene and try to capture Trinity. They pursue Trinity through a nameless city, and both the Agents and Trinity reveal themselves to be more than human. They sprint over abandoned rooftops and leap over city blocks, and Trinity dives through a window across streets. The chase ends inside a phone booth on a secluded street. Trinity answers a ringing phone and disappears. The Agents remark on her mysterious disappearance and discuss the next target, Neo. Next, a garbage truck, driven by an Agent, destroys the booth.
We next see Keanu Reeve’s character asleep at his computer desk. He wakes up to messages flashing across his computer screen. The messages, from an unknown source, call him by his hacker name, Neo. Neo sells illegal software, and just before a client knocks on Neo’s door, Neo receives a message on the screen saying “Follow the white rabbit” followed by “Knock, knock, Neo.” Delivering his goods to the client, a confused Neo notices a tattooed rabbit on the shoulder of the client’s girlfriend, and so, heeding the message, he follows them to a techno Goth club. There, Trinity approaches Neo. Neo doesn’t know who she is, but Trinity explains that she knows all about him. She knows he’s searching for something called the Matrix and that he’s suspicious of what it is. Abruptly, the club scene gives way to a ringing alarm clock. Neo wakes with a start, back in his own bed. He’s late for work.
At work, Neo’s boss reprimands him and reveals some vital information—Neo’s real name is Mr. Anderson, and he’s a successful computer programmer. A cell phone is delivered by FedEx to Neo’s cubicle and rings immediately. On the line, a deep-voiced man identifies himself as Morpheus. Morpheus tells Neo that Agents are after him and, directing him by cell phone, helps him navigate through the labyrinth of cubicles in his office and escape to a ledge outside the building. Neo doesn’t have the courage to walk across the ledge to some nearby scaffolding, and Agents capture him, then take him for interrogation. Neo demands his rights from the creepy lead Agent, Smith, who renders Neo mute by magically sealing over his mouth so that it nearly disappears. Agents hold Neo down and forcefully insert a metallic insectlike device into his stomach.
Neo jolts awake at home. Soon after, he receives a phone call from Morpheus, who explains his belief that Neo is “the One” he’s been searching for all his life. Morpheus and Neo arrange a meeting. Trinity, along with two other renegades named Switch and Apoc, pick Neo up under a bridge on a stormy night. Unsure of what’s happening, Neo decides he wants to get out of the car, but Trinity calmly empathizes with his confusion and his desire to know more, so he stays. Trinity then removes the bloody, wriggling, mechanical “bug” from Neo’s stomach with a terrifying spike and tube instrument, and Neo is shocked to realize that the episode with Agent Smith actually happened.
In an old room in an abandoned building, Neo finally meets Morpheus. Morpheus tells Neo that Neo has always been a slave and offers to reveal the Matrix to him. Morpheus presents two pills, red and blue. If Neo selects the blue pill, he’ll wake up again at home and remember nothing. If he selects the red pill, Morpheus will allow him to see the truth. When Neo chooses the red pill, a mirror near him liquefies. When he touches it, its mercury-like substance oozes over him, threatening to envelop him. His world dissolves in front of him, and he panics. Neo wakes up naked and hairless in a vat of jelly, with plugs connecting him to the vat. Millions of similar vats, each with a human inside, stretch around him in all directions. Flying robotic insects drill a hole in the back of his neck. Then the jelly drains from Neo’s vat, and Neo slips through pipes down into a pit full of water. A metal claw rattles down from a spaceship and plucks him up into the light.
In the true real world, Morpheus and his crew rehabilitate Neo’s body, for Neo has never actually used it. His muscles have atrophied, and his eyes have never actually seen. After this rehabilitation, Morpheus tells Neo that the year is actually closer to 2199 than to 1999, and Neo meets the crew of Morpheus’s hovering ship, the Nebuchadnezzar. Besides Trinity, Switch, and Apoc, whom he’s already seen, Neo meets the brothers Tank and Dozer, the snakeskin-jacketed Cypher, and Mouse, the youngest crew member. Tank works as the Operator of the ship, staying in the real world, guiding those who are plugged into the Matrix, and helping them find exits. These exits are pay phones through which the hackers can escape the program of the Matrix and return to the real world. Neo settles into a chair, and Tank thrusts a sharp spike into his head, via a hole at the back of Neo’s brain. Neo enters a computer program.
Morpheus explains that, years ago, humans developed Artificial Intelligence but lost control of it. In desperation, humans chose to create a nuclear winter, thinking that by blocking out the sun, they could eliminate the solar power the robots needed to survive. But the robots adapted, and now they run the ravaged world and harvest humans for bioelectric food. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world designed to keep these humans under control. Humans are kept sedated, effectively living a virtual life. Neo awakens in a bed back on Morpheus’s ship, and Morpheus further explains that one man was born into the Matrix with the power to change anything in it. This man freed the first human minds. An Oracle has prophesied his return, and Morpheus believes Neo is the reincarnation of the One.
Tank tells Neo about his homeland, Zion, the only city of free humans left. Zion lies deep underground, near the warmth of the earth’s core. Neo begins training with Tank, who downloads programs into Neo’s head that teach him martial arts. Instantaneously, Neo becomes a jujitsu master. His training carries on for ten hours, as Neo absorbs all martial arts. Morpheus tests Neo with a Kung Fu fight in a virtual computer world, emphasizing that Neo can bend or break the rules of whatever world he’s in. The crew eagerly watches their fight, which includes ultrafast punching, artful dodging, wall-cracking punches, and gravity-defying leaps.
Morpheus speaks in koans, or paradoxes, and tells Neo that he can show Neo the door, but Neo will have to open it himself. He plugs Neo into a test program in which he must leap from the top of one skyscraper to another. No one ever has enough faith to succeed on a first jump, yet the crew hopes that Neo might, since they believe Morpheus’s predictions that Neo is the One. Neo fails to clear the jump, however, and emerges from the program with a bleeding mouth. He learns that though the program world is virtual, his mind itself is real, and it affects his body. In other words, he can die in the Matrix, even though the Matrix isn’t real. Another training program demonstrates that the Agents work as a part of the Matrix and can immediately transform themselves into anyone in it. Therefore, no matter how innocuous he or she seems, every person in the Matrix is a potential enemy. Morpheus explains that no one has ever defeated the Agents, yet at some point Neo will have to fight them.
Back in the real world, robotic sentinels, which the crew refers to as “squiddies,” pursue the ship. The sentinels, which resemble metal octopi, can detect the electricity expended by humans. Their only function is to destroy. The Nebuchadnezzer hides out in an abandoned server port and switches its power offline to avoid detection. The ship’s one weapon against the sentinels, an EMP (high-voltage electromagnetic pulse), renders all the objects currently using electromagnets useless within a certain radius, but it can be used only once, requiring a long time to recharge. The Nebuchadnezzer escapes detection by the sentinels.
Cypher explains to Neo that from the Operator’s chair he understands the Matrix by reading its computer code, not by seeing any images. Cypher also offers him moonshine and explains his doubts about the whole journey. When Neo leaves, Cypher covertly enters the Matrix to make a deal with Agent Smith over a virtual steak dinner. Cypher, answering to his Matrix name, Reagan, promises to deliver Morpheus to Agent Smith in exchange for a safe return to the blissful ignorance of the Matrix, accompanied by an increase in socioeconomic status. Agent Smith wants Morpheus because, as the captain of the Nebuchadnezzar, Morpheus has access codes to Zion, which Smith wants to destroy.
In sharp contrast to the rich steak dinner, the crew eats foul, nutrient-rich gruel in their cold, functional mess hall. Mouse chatters about the human need for sex and ponders the question of real taste in the simulated Matrix. Morpheus decides to take Neo to see the Oracle, and the crew knows the meeting will be meaningful. In the Matrix, Morpheus, Trinity, Cypher, and Neo drive to see the Oracle, with Switch, Apoc, and Mouse covering. Unseen, Cypher drops a cell phone in a trash can, allowing the Agents to discover their location. Neo watches his old city pass by in a new light. The Oracle appears in the form of a black grandmother in a tenement house. Young telekinetic prodigies fill her apartment’s waiting room. Neo encounters a young monk, who teaches him to bend a spoon using only his mind.
The Oracle speaks confidently and tells Neo that he’s not the One. Instructing him to “know thyself,” she reveals that soon he’ll make a choice to decide between his own life and Morpheus’s life. She claims that Morpheus will willingly give his life for Neo. Neo notices a black cat moving forward, then seemingly rewinding and moving forward again, as though he’s seeing the same thing twice. Such experiences of déjà vu indicate that a glitch has occurred in the Matrix, and this time, the Agents have set a trap with Cypher’s help. The group hides in the walls of the building, but dust triggers a cough from Cypher, and Smith’s Agents discover their location. Morpheus and Neo leave the Oracle, but Agents ambush Mouse, who dies with his guns blazing. Morpheus blasts through the drywall onto Smith so the others can escape, despite Neo’s protests. Smith and Morpheus fight in a rusted-out bathroom. A host of officers eventually overpower Morpheus and capture him, despite his valiant efforts.
Cypher mysteriously splits from the rest of the group and returns first to the Nebuchadnezzar. There, he shoots Tank and Dozer and assumes control of the board. When Trinity and the rest of the group find an exit, Cypher answers the Operator’s call. Trinity perceives Cypher’s betrayal immediately, watching helplessly as Cypher unplugs Apoc and Switch, who collapse to the ground, their life support severed. Cypher doesn’t believe Neo is the One and argues that if Morpheus were really right, then a literal miracle would have to occur immediately to save the lives of both Trinity and Neo. Cypher believes he holds their lives in his hands. The miracle happens. Tank turns out not to be dead, but only grievously wounded. He manages to kill Cypher, thus saving Neo and Trinity.
Agent Smith, along with his subordinates, Brown and Jones, transports Morpheus to a secure skyscraper for interrogation, where he is hooked up to electrodes and given drugs. Smith hopes that this torture, combined with the wear from the beatings, will force Morpheus to reveal Zion’s access codes. Morpheus remains silent. Smith begins to explain the history of the Matrix. A previous version existed in which the machines created an entirely perfect world for humans, but the program failed. Smith believes the failure relates to humanity’s definition of itself through misery and its inability to handle happiness. Thus, the second, intentionally flawed Matrix was developed.
Back on the Nebuchadnezzar, the survivors discuss the option of pulling Morpheus’s plug. They reason that, despite their love for Morpheus, all of the humans in Zion together are more important, and they can’t risk him breaking and giving up the access codes. Just as Tank solemnly prepares to kill their leader, Neo remembers something the Oracle said to him. He begins to have faith in himself and believes he can save Morpheus. Although what he wants to attempt has no precedent, Neo believes he can do it. He plans to enter the Matrix and rescue Morpheus. Trinity accompanies him.
As Neo and Trinity outfit themselves with numerous firearms, Agent Smith describes his theory of humanity to Morpheus, who is beaten, bloody, and drugged. Smith reasons that humans are not mammals but viruses, since they spread exponentially, using up every resource they have then moving on to devour the resources of another place. When Morpheus refuses to break, Agent Smith asks the other two agents to leave him alone with Morpheus. This decidedly unmachinelike behavior alerts us to Smith’s anomalous position in the Matrix. Removing his glasses and disconnecting himself from his earpiece (the earpiece that connects him to his machine superiors), Smith admits to Morpheus that he despises the Matrix. He views himself as superior to it, and he wants Zion’s access codes to destroy humanity and free himself from the Matrix forever.
Meanwhile, Tank places Neo and Trinity at the lobby of the skyscraper, and the pair proceed to shoot their way through it, killing a team of security guards in the process. Agents Brown and Jones return, surprised and confused to see Smith without his earpiece. Because the earpiece was out, Smith didn’t hear that Neo and Trinity are trying to save Morpheus. Neo and Trinity drop a bomb down the elevator shaft and ride the elevator cable up to the skyscraper’s roof, where they battle a host of soldiers. The bomb cuts the building’s power, and the sprinklers come on, drenching the Agents and Morpheus. An Agent shifts into a helicopter pilot’s body, and a showdown begins between him and Neo. The Agent dodges all of Neo’s bullets at superhuman speed. Neo, with increasing confidence, manages to dodge most of the Agent’s shots. His skills aren’t yet perfect, though, and he gets nicked by a bullet. Just as the Agent stands over him, ready to finish him off, Trinity appears and shoots the Agent in the head. Before the body falls, the Agent shifts back out of it, leaving only a human soldier dead on the roof. The Agent himself is gone.
Tank downloads a B-212 helicopter flying program into Trinity, and she and Neo lower the helicopter right outside the room where Smith holds Morpheus. In an explosion of glass, bullets, and water, Neo empties the copter’s cannon, forcing the Agents to hide. Morpheus breaks his chains and runs toward the copter. Just as he’s ready to leap, an Agent’s bullet catches him in the leg. Realizing Morpheus won’t make it, Neo, tied to the copter, jumps to meet him in midair, sixty stories or so above the ground. He catches Morpheus as Trinity flies the copter away. The Agents empty their weapons, piercing the copter’s fuel tank.
Neo and Morpheus drop onto a roof. The helicopter crashes spectacularly into a nearby building, with Trinity leaping out just in time, grabbing onto the rope bound around Neo. Neo lets himself be dragged to the edge of the building, stands upon the edge calmly, and reels Trinity to safety, after which Morpheus proclaims that Neo is the One. Neo protests that the Oracle told him differently. Morpheus counters smoothly that the Oracle told him all he needed to know.
Tank finds an exit for the trio in an abandoned subway. Morpheus exits first. Trinity, worried, stops to confess something to Neo that the Oracle had told her. Soon after, Smith shifts into the body of a homeless man in the corner. Smith shoots at her just as she exits. He misses her but succeeds in slicing the phone line, which removes any possible exit for Neo. A final showdown between Neo and Smith begins. Although everyone has told him to run when an Agent arrives, Neo, starting to believe in his own abilities, turns to face Smith. Tank, Morpheus, and Trinity watch the code at the Nebuchadnezzar’s board. A colossal fight ensues with spectacular special effects, and Neo heroically bounces back many times from seemingly certain defeat. Smith refers to Neo by his Matrix name, Mr. Anderson, but just before a subway car crashes through, Neo fully assumes his new identity, saying forcefully, “My name is Neo.”
The subway appears to crush Smith, but even this collision proves insufficient to stop an Agent. The subway screeches to a halt, and Smith emerges for more fighting, but Neo finally runs. Back at the Nebuchadnezzar, sentinels close in. Multiple Agents chase Neo through crowded streets, shifting into any body that can get a good shot at him. Aboard the Nebuchadnezzar, the crew charges the EMP but can’t fire it until Neo finds an exit and joins them. Neo steals a cell phone, and Tank directs him through the streets and alleys back to the motel where we first saw Trinity. The sentinels land on the ship and begin to slice it open, but Morpheus believes Neo can make it and holds off from discharging the EMP. Neo opens the door to Trinity’s room, only to find Smith right in front of him. Smith empties his gun into Neo, who falls to the ground, dead. On the ship, as the sentinels approach the deck, Trinity whispers her revelation into Neo’s ear: the Oracle told her she would fall in love with a dead man, and that he would be the One. She kisses him. With this, Neo is resurrected.
With his newfound realization and acceptance of his role, Neo rises and assumes even greater powers. Three agents empty their guns at him, but with a quiet “No,” Neo stops all the bullets with his mind, holding out his hand and causing the bullets to drop harmlessly to the floor. Through his point of view, we suddenly see that everything around him is covered with green computer code. Neo is finally able to see the code that creates the Matrix. The agents are now powerless against him. Neo flies into Smith’s body, and in a blinding glow, explodes outward from within him. The other Agents run, Trinity screams at Neo on the ship as the sentinels pierce the deck, and Neo picks up the phone and exits the Matrix. With Neo safely back on the ship, the crew discharges the EMP. The sentinels drop away. Neo and Trinity kiss.
The Matrix ends with Neo talking to someone on a pay phone. He warns that he’s going to expose the truth of what’s really out there. He flies straight up into the sky.
Trinity flies through the night air on a motorcycle, crashes into a building, and kills a host of security guards. Suddenly we see an image of her falling out of a skyscraper, shooting bullets upward at an Agent, who falls down with her. The Agent strikes Trinity with a bullet, something crashes hard into the ground below, and Neo wakes up from this nightmare, in bed next to Trinity. She tries to calm him. The Nebuchadnezzar sits and waits, the crew members hoping the Oracle will summon them. Morpheus speaks with the ship’s new Operator, Link, telling him that if he wants to volunteer for this mission, he has to trust Morpheus completely. Neo has accepted his new role as the One, but doesn’t know what to do. He, too, sits and waits.
The captains of all the humans' ships, both the Nebuchadnezzar and others, meet inside the Matrix, in an underground bunker. Niobe, captain of Zion’s ship, the Logos, reports that the machines have begun drilling toward Zion. A quarter million sentinels are ready to attack the remnants of humanity once they reach the core. Commander Lock requests that all ships return to Zion and prepare to defend it. Morpheus resists, wanting at least one ship to stay in case the Oracle calls. During this meeting, Neo senses something is amiss. Agent Smith has pulled up outside and asks a young guard to deliver a package and a message to Neo: “He set me free.” The package contains Smith’s earpiece. Neo orders the guards to leave, warning that Agents have arrived. The Agents refer to Neo as the “anomaly.” After an intense battle, Neo escapes, but something has shifted. Two identical Agent Smiths speak to each other, agreeing that things continue to go according to plan. Neo flies to visit the Oracle, but she’s not home.
Having left another ship behind, the Nebuchadnezzar enters Zion dramatically. A vast cylindrical city burrowed deep into the earth, Zion maintains central axes for defense and has living quarters around its perimeter. Humans guard it by sitting in the rib cages of large anthropomorphic robots that respond to each driver’s every move. Captain Mifune, a severe military patriot, greets Morpheus and his crew and escorts Morpheus to Lock’s office. We discover that Niobe used to work with Morpheus until the Oracle made a certain prophecy and has since been loyal to Lock. A teenager excitedly greets the Nebuchadnezzar’s crew and offers to help Neo with anything. Apparently, Neo once saved the Kid’s life. The Kid wants someday to become a crew member of the Nebuchadnezzar.
Morpheus and Lock clash in their beliefs concerning the best way to defend Zion. Lock is angry at Morpheus for leaving one ship behind, blatantly disobeying Lock’s direct order to bring all ships back to Zion. Lock puts little stock in the Oracle’s prophecies. Zion’s inhabitants notice that more ships are docked at one time than ever before, and rumors flood the city. People fear the coming of the Armageddon between Good and Evil, Man and Machine. Councilor Hamann, a senior member of Zion’s Council of Elders, wants to assemble Zion’s population that night and speak to them, but he is unsure what to say. Lock advocates discretion in delivering information. Morpheus advocates telling the complete truth and hoping inspiration will deliver them from fear.
Link and the Kid leave Neo and Trinity alone in an elevator, where they begin to kiss. They look forward to a few hours alone together. When the doors open, Neo finds that the sick and destitute of Zion have come to him for guidance and salvation, treating him as a Christ figure. Trinity leaves Neo to do his work. Link returns to his wife, Zee. Zee, sister of Tank and Dozer, worries about Link’s volunteer status with Morpheus, but Link reassures her that he’s starting to believe in the acts he’s seen Neo perform.
At a nighttime assembly in a great cave of Zion, Morpheus tells the people the truth about the impending attack from the machines but immediately inspires them with his fearlessness. The Zionites celebrate with a sweaty, pulsing, underground rave. Simultaneously, Neo and Trinity consummate their relationship under an arch in private quarters away from the assembly. As Neo and Trinity make love, Neo again has his nightmare vision of Trinity falling from the skyscraper and being pierced with a bullet. Trinity attempts to reassure him by telling him she’ll never let go. Finally, Zion sleeps.
Meanwhile, in the Matrix, two renegade hackers flee from Agents. One man makes his exit, but another, Bane, is intercepted by one of the two Agent Smiths. Smith slices his hand into Bane’s chest, infecting Bane’s body with the same type of fluid Neo first saw after he took the red pill. Smith exits the Matrix into Bane’s body, aboard Bane’s ship, in the real world.
Neo walks outside his room overlooking the sleeping city of Zion restlessly, knowing that something isn’t right, but unsure what to do. Hamann, the aging Elder of Zion, also wandering, joins Neo for conversation. Hamann takes Neo down to the engineering level of the city, the part no one thinks about. Hamann claims that people don’t want to know how things work, as long as they keep working. They converse about the symbiosis between man and machine, then discuss the nature of control. Hamann admits he has no idea how Neo does the things he does.
Someone knocks on Trinity’s door. Neo is there. Finally, the Oracle has summoned him. The Nebuchadnezzar prepares to leave. As Link readies to once again risk his life, Zee offers him a good luck charm. Link doesn’t believe in it, but Zee does, so he willingly takes it and promises to return. Bane/Smith has returned with his ship to Zion and can’t take his new human body, so he slashes himself. As Neo readies to board the Nebuchadnezzar, Bane/Smith approaches from behind with a knife, but Neo turns at the last minute when the Kid calls him. Though puzzled at Bane’s presence, Neo accepts a gift that someone instructed the Kid to deliver—a spoon. Neo understands. Lock doesn’t want the ship to leave and expresses his frustration to Hamann.
In the Matrix, Neo wends his way through a Chinatown and enters a door into a wood-and-paper templelike structure. An angel named Seraph awaits him politely, then begins to fight him. Neo and Seraph fight throughout the temple, knocking over wooden bowls. Seraph, the Oracle’s benevolent protector, insists that he had to be sure Neo was the One, and that the only way to do that was to fight him. Leading Neo down a white hallway full of doors, Seraph opens a door onto a city playground, where the Oracle sits on a bench.
Neo begins to realize that Seraph and the Oracle are not humans, but parts of the machine program that constitutes the Matrix, a fact that the Oracle confirms. Wondering aloud how he can then trust her, she replies only that he has to choose for himself what to believe in. She suggests he’s already made major choices and is presently only trying to understand them. She explains the anomalous programs a bit more. Everything in the Matrix is a program, but the noticeable ones are the ones that aren’t working. They’re either rebellious, failing, or resistant to being replaced. When a program faces deletion, it can either hide itself or return to the Source, the machine mainframe, where, she suggests, the path of the One ends. The Source, the Oracle reveals, comprises only light. She affirms that Neo can now see outside of time. He naturally wonders why he can’t see the end of his frightful vision of Trinity. The Oracle says he can’t see beyond the choices he doesn’t yet understand. As their time together ends, she tells Neo he must see the Keymaker to gain access to the Source. If he can’t, Zion will fall.
Agent Smith arrives as soon as the Oracle leaves, implying a connection between himself, Neo, and the Oracle. Smith and Neo discuss this idea explicitly. Smith maintains they’re both anomalies in the system, no longer part of it. However, both are still imprisoned and must play out their purpose, a purpose Neo has yet to discover. Smith tries to replicate himself inside Neo as he did with Bane, but Neo resists it, beginning a colossal street fight that pits Neo against Smith and dozens of replicated Smiths. Smith has departed from the strictures of the program, but he is still a machine. He has no free will and can’t escape his program. Neo eventually escapes again.
Back at Zion, Lock addresses the Council and emphasizes the seriousness of the machine threat, requesting them to hold all ships in port, as nothing has been heard from the Nebuchadnezzar. The Council overrules him and asks for two volunteers to search for the Nebuchadnezzar. Captain Soren from the Vigilant answers the call, as does, to Lock’s surprise and disappointment, Captain Niobe from the Logos.
In an effort to find the Keymaker, Morpheus, Trinity, and Neo visit the Merovingian, a haughty Frenchman, at his upscale restaurant in the Matrix. The Merovingian dines with his wife, Persephone. In their conversation, the Merovingian suggests that the three don’t understand why they’ve come, or why they need the Keymaker—they simply obeyed the Oracle’s order automatically. To demonstrate his power over the program, the Merovingian sends a coded slice of cake over to a gorgeous woman. The cake slowly affects her erogenous zones, a subtle process that the Frenchman narrates in appreciative detail. He observes that we are all similarly out of control, slaves to causality. He refuses to make a deal for the Keymaker. The Twins, a pair of white-suited, powder-skinned, dreadlocked enforcers, escort Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus to the elevator.
Unsure exactly what the Oracle intended to happen, the three ride the elevator. It opens onto a floor where they are surprised to be greeted by Persephone. She escorts them into a fancy bathroom and rants against the Merovingian, whom she says used to be like Neo but has since changed. Explaining that she can see true love written all over the stoic faces of Neo and Trinity, she requests that in exchange for the Keymaker, she wants to receive one kiss from Neo. She orders Neo to kiss her just as he kisses Trinity so that she can experience real love again. Trinity draws her gun. Persephone insists, saying that if she lies to them, Trinity can kill her where she stands. Neo kisses her chastely, then realizes the gravity of the situation. He removes his sunglasses and kisses Persephone passionately, with Trinity standing by. Persephone leads them through the restaurant’s basement into an impossibly large hall, then through the hall to the Keymaker, who grinds away making keys in a key-lined closet, waiting for Neo.
As they leave, the Merovingian and his henchmen confront the group. Persephone accuses the Merovingian of cheating on her with the girl from the cake episode. Though plainly guilty, he denies it. Seeing the Keymaker freed, the Merovingian orders an attack on all of them. The Twins disappear into the floor and come up on the other side of the room. The Keymaker flees, and Morpheus and Trinity run to help him. Neo stays to handle the rest in the great hall. He stops all their bullets, as well as the thrusts of the swords they pull from the great staircase. An extended battle and chase sequence ensues.
The Twins, occasionally shifting into matterless ghosts, chase Morpheus and Trinity into a parking lot, where they battle. Trinity gets into a car and drives it around, leading the chase onto city streets. Just as Neo defeats the henchmen in the great hall and aims to catch up with the others in the parking lot, the Twins close the door. When Neo forces it open, he’s suddenly miles away, high up in a mountain range. Careening onto city streets, the chase pits the Twins against Morpheus and Trinity, who attempt to protect the Keymaker. Agents arrive on the scene and also try to catch the “exile.” Link guides them onto the freeway.
During the chase, numerous cars crash, Agents shift into multiple drivers, and the Twins bleed into whatever car they want. At one point, Trinity and Morpheus split up, and Trinity grabs the Keymaker, leaps off an overpass onto a trailer carrying motorcycles, and drives the Keymaker down the wrong side of a crowded highway. Morpheus slices the gas tank of the Twins’ SUV with a sword and fights an Agent atop a speeding eighteen-wheeler. At one point, while defending the Keymaker, who has been passed to him, he’s knocked off the truck and crashes onto the front of a car driven by Niobe, who has arrived just in time.
Finally, Trinity escapes. Morpheus knocks an agent off an eighteen-wheeler and stands there helplessly with the Keymaker. An Agent drives the truck directly toward another eighteen-wheeler, also driven by an Agent. Morpheus pleads quietly for Neo’s help. The trucks smash into each other, erupting into balls of flame. In midair, Morpheus and the Keymaker are caught by Neo, who has flown in from the mountains. Watching the Matrix at his board, Link cheers.
In Zion, sentinels relentlessly grind away into the earth. The Keymaker explains to Soren’s, Niobe’s, and Morpheus’s crews that one door in the primary skyscraper leads to the Source. To access it, the units have to work together and knock out power in a massive grid as well as disable the emergency power system. They will then have only 314 seconds to access the door. They strike at midnight, during a shift change of security guards. Morpheus gives an inspirational speech in which he affirms his belief that this night will bring the Oracle’s prophecy of the end of the war to fruition. Neo, worried about Trinity, asks her to stay behind. Reluctantly, she agrees. During their attack, sentinels discover Soren’s ship and disable it, killing Soren and all his crew. Therefore, the emergency power system remains engaged. Link can’t contact Neo, so the only option left is for Trinity to enter. Otherwise they would miss their only chance. She has only five minutes.
We return to the beginning and witness the playing out of Neo’s vision: Link patches Trinity near the skyscraper, and Trinity flies in on a motorcycle, taking out a group of guards. At the same time, the Keymaker leads Morpheus and Neo down a white hallway with countless doors. As they turn the final corner, they meet Smith and hundreds of replicated Smiths. During the fight, Morpheus is nearly absorbed and replicated by the penetrating hand of Smith, but Neo saves him. The Keymaker hides. Trinity finds Soren’s lifeless crew and hacks into the emergency backup system, disabling it grid-by-grid. Just as the system finally falls, the Keymaker sneaks out and opens the correct door. At the sound of the click, all the fighters stop and turn. Neo grabs Morpheus and flies him through the crowd of Smiths, diving through the door just as the Keymaker closes it. The Smiths empty their guns as the door shuts, striking the Keymaker. As he dies, he affirms that he has fulfilled his purpose and gives Neo the key to the correct door from around his neck. Neo inserts it, and blinding light immediately surrounds him.
Neo finds himself in an all-white room ringed by monitors. He meets the Architect, the creator of the Matrix. The Architect reveals that his original, perfect Matrix failed because he didn’t understand the frailty and flawed nature of the human mind. His increased understanding spurred the creation of the second Matrix, in which a certain percentage of people did not believe. The Architect allowed Zion to exist so the disbelievers could congregate there. Once the instability in the system could be contained, the rebels, conveniently assembled all in one place, could be periodically destroyed. The Architect tells Neo that Neo represents the sixth cycle of these growths and extinctions. One of the earlier “Neo”s was the Merovingian, but Neo has been built much differently from his predecessors. With increased efficiency, the machines have this time created a “savior” who has direct experience and knowledge of the humans in the Matrix. The idea is to manipulate his capacity for love and thereby cause him, effectively, to choose to eliminate all of humanity.
The Architect gives Neo two choices, which explain Neo’s visions of the falling Trinity. Walking through one door will lead to the death of Trinity but the salvation of humanity for yet another cycle. Zion will be rebuilt from scratch and, essentially, the program will repeat with its previously acceptable levels of instability. Walking through the other door will give Neo the chance to save Trinity, but doing this will likely lead to the permanent elimination of all humanity. The Oracle and her prophecies of the One, then, were also intentional inserts into the program, further systems of control to manipulate the One into following his predetermined path. The One’s function is to return to the Source. Neo now has the potential to stop the cycle of mass extinctions. Possessing no humanity themselves, the machines are unable to predict what will happen if Neo chooses the door allowing him to save Trinity, selecting love over saving the human race. In the end, Neo chooses to save Trinity.
Trinity finds herself fulfilling the nightmarish visions Neo has been having of her. Trying to escape after disabling the emergency system, she’s met by an Agent at an elevator. As they fight, she is forced to leap out of the building. As she falls down in a hail of bullets and broken glass, shooting unsuccessfully at the Agent, who dives after her, Neo flies through the city in a blaze unlike anything seen before. Fire trails behind him, and cars and street matter are swept up behind him in his tumultuous, tornado-like wake. As in Neo’s vision, a bullet strikes Trinity, but just before she hits the ground, Neo swoops in and catches her. The Agent smacks into a car at street level, and Neo’s blazing wake destroys the entire block.
After soaring carefully to the top of a building, he reaches inside of Trinity’s body and removes the bullet. Nevertheless, Trinity dies in Neo’s arms. He reaches inside of her and massages her heart, resurrecting her as she did him. They kiss. Morpheus and Link look on at the board.
Back on the Nebuchadnezzar, Neo reveals the falsity of the prophecy to Morpheus. Though Morpheus doesn’t want to believe it, the fact that the war has not ended remains undeniable. Sentinels show up near the ship but stay out of EMP range. Neo senses that they’re building a bomb, so the crew evacuates the ship—just in time. The Nebuchadnezzar explodes as Morpheus watches, confused and despondent. The crew ventures out onto the mechanical wires of the real world, becoming utterly vulnerable. The sentinels attack, but something has changed—Neo can feel their presence. He stops running from them and disables them all with his own self-generated EMP. Then, exhausted, he collapses and enters a coma. Captain Roland’s ship, the Hammer, swoops in to pick up the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar. The crew of the Hammer relates a pointless tragedy in which five ships were lost by an improperly discharged EMP.
The only survivor, Bane/Smith, lies in a coma, right next to Neo, in the Hammer’s medical bay.
Captain Roland’s ship, the Hammer, drifts through the real world, trying to establish contact with Captain Niobe’s ship, the Logos. Trinity sits patiently by Neo’s bedside. The health monitor, Maggie, tells Trinity about the suspicious conditions surrounding Bane’s survival and Roland’s desire to interrogate him when he wakes up. On the Hammer’s deck, Morpheus asks Roland to search for Neo in the Matrix, even though Neo is not jacked in. Roland doesn’t see anything, but Morpheus’s suspicion—that Neo no longer needs to be jacked in—proves to be correct. The people of Zion believe that the city has approximately twenty hours left before the sentinels’ first drill pierces the upper dome of the city. Seraph calls the Hammer, and the Oracle beckons Morpheus. Trinity accompanies him.
Neo wakes up in a pure white train station. A small Indian girl, Sati, hovers over him. Sati, who is a program, not a human, explains that the Trainman will soon come to take her away. Seraph, Morpheus, and Trinity meanwhile meet the Oracle in her new shell. She explains to them that the Trainman, who smuggles programs between the Matrix and the real world and who works for the Merovingian, eventually will hold Neo hostage. They have to save Neo or Zion will be lost, but the Merovingian has set a bounty on their heads. Neo remembers seeing Sati’s father, Rama-Kandra, who reminds him that they met at the Merovingian’s restaurant. Rama-Kandra and his wife, Kamala, both of whom are programs, have made a deal with the Merovingian to smuggle Sati away from the coming battle to safety in the custody of the Oracle. Neo wonders how these programs can feel such human emotions. Rama-Kandra says love is only a word and what matters is the connection the word implies and the actions that follow based on that connection.
Seraph, Morpheus, and Trinity approach the Trainman on one of his subway cars to try to make a deal for Neo, but the Trainman refuses to make a deal without the approval of his boss. The three chase him through a station, making the Trainman late to pick up Sati. The Trainman narrowly escapes their pursuit by jumping in front of an oncoming train and disappearing into it from the opposite side of the tracks as it rushes by.
Back at Neo’s station, as the Trainman’s train finally arrives, Rama-Kandra explains that the Oracle has agreed to care for Sati. Neo tries to carry Sati’s luggage onto the train but doesn’t fool the Trainman, who created the station and all its rules. Laughing, he punches Neo into the wall, suggesting ominously that Neo’s prospects for escape are dim, since his freedom depends on the Merovingian. Neo tries to run after the train out of the frame, but he loops back to the other side. The program has trapped him in a closed circuit.
Seraph, Morpheus, and Trinity fight their way down into the Merovingian’s Dantean S&M club, Hell. They kill the bouncers and then the guards at the gun check. They move through the crowd of Hell’s latex- and leather-clad revelers by covering themselves in triangle formation. The amused Merovingian, wearing a bright red shirt, agrees to talk with them above the dance floor, amid masked thugs with guns. Sitting next to his wife, Persephone, who also wears red, and the grungy Trainman, the Merovingian licks two olives provocatively. Seraph, Morpheus, and Trinity try to make a deal for Neo, whom the Merovingian will return only in exchange for the eyes of the Oracle. Trinity refuses that deal and knocks away the nearest guns. The brief fight concludes with guns drawn all around, but no one dares shoot, since Trinity has hers pointed directly at the Merovingian. Powered by her willingness to die for Neo, Trinity revises the deal. Either the Merovingian returns Neo, or she pulls the trigger, sparking a chain reaction that will inevitably result in the deaths of everyone present. Persephone and the Merovingian both understand that her threat is sincere.
Meanwhile, at the station, Neo concentrates in an attempt to envision a means of escape. He has a vision in which he sees three heavy cables, but doesn’t know what this image means. A train finally pulls up, and Trinity, who has persuaded the Merovingian to release Neo, gets out. The two embrace and kiss. Morpheus, Seraph, and Trinity take Neo to visit the Oracle, who is baking cookies with Sati. Neo sees the Oracle from a new perspective and decides it’s time for him to learn more. The Oracle agrees and helps him realize he has no choice but to go back to the Source, and that the fate of Zion lies with him. She explains to Neo that Smith represents Neo’s programmatic opposite, “the equation trying to balance itself” in the face of instability, passion, and the fight for free will. Finally, she says cryptically that “everything that has a beginning, has an end.”
Smith, in Bane’s body, finally wakes up aboard the Hammer. Seraph takes Sati from the Oracle and tries to lead her to safety, but they are cornered by many Smiths. Eventually the Smiths enter the Oracle’s apartment. Waiting calmly, the Oracle sits at the kitchen table, smoking. Frustrated, Smith can’t figure out how much she knows or why she’s staying if she knew he’d come. The Oracle allows him to do what he came there to do, so he replicates himself into her. However, something doesn’t go quite right with the replication. The first Agent Smith steps back in confusion as the new Agent Smith stands up and laughs.
The crew of the Hammer interrogates Bane/Smith, but he claims he doesn’t remember anything. He agrees that his arm scars are suspicious but insists he has no recollection of the events he’s being questioned about. The health monitor, Maggie, notes his unusual neural activity and try to figure out a way to force him to remember. Alone in his quarters, Neo again envisions the three cables winding up through some dark, ravaged land. Finally, the Hammer locates Niobe and the Logos, which is damaged but reparable.
Lock delivers a bleak outlook of Zion’s chances to the Council and asks for volunteers to help his grossly outnumbered forces hold the dock. The city is evacuated, but Zee stays behind to volunteer. She grinds handmade artillery shells in her metal bunker apartment. The Kid offers himself as a volunteer to Captain Mifune, who realizes that though the Kid may be young, every available volunteer is needed.
As the crews repair the Logos, both ships’ Operators note something unusual taking place in the code of the Matrix. The three captains, Roland, Niobe, and Morpheus, try to figure out a way to sneak their ships back to Zion to assist in the city’s defense. At Niobe’s insistence, they decide to risk flying through a little-used, extremely narrow mechanical channel. Neo enters and announces that he must take one of their ships to the Machine City. Roland strenuously resists this idea, pointing out that no one in a century has ever made it even close to the city. Niobe offers to give up the Logos, claiming that she doesn’t believe in the prophecies, but does believe in Neo.
Alone in the medical bay with Maggie, Bane/Smith pretends to slowly regain his memory, admitting that he did blow the EMP. Maggie tries to sedate him, but he stabs her to death before she can warn anyone. In a quiet moment in a bunk, Neo tells Trinity he doesn’t know what’s going to happen at the Machine City, and that he’s probably not coming back. She tells him she’ll accompany him anyway. Neo and Morpheus say goodbye warmly, as do Link and Trinity. Niobe pilots the Hammer, which takes off for Zion. Just as Trinity and Neo get set to launch the Logos, all the power shuts off. Trinity investigates the fuses below the hatch.
As they fly off, Roland’s crew discovers Maggie’s body and notices that Bane has disappeared. Realizing that Bane must have stowed away on the Logos, the crew know they cannot go back, because Bane may have gained control of another EMP. On board the Logos, Trinity fights with Bane/Smith, letting Neo know via intercom that he’s on the ship. Neo emerges from the cockpit with a gun and finds Bane/Smith holding a knife to Trinity’s throat. Though Trinity urges Neo to shoot, Bane/Smith notes with disgust the emotions of love that spur Neo to lay the gun down. Bane/Smith calls Neo “Mr. Anderson” and throws Trinity down a hatch, grabbing the gun.
Slowly, Neo realizes that Smith has concealed himself in Bane. Just before Bane/Smith can fire a fatal shot at Neo, Trinity manipulates the fuses and kills the lights. In the ensuing fight, Bane/Smith blinds Neo by jamming a work light into his eyes, burning them out. He taunts Neo by slipping into the shadows of a stairwell as Neo waves his arms helplessly. Bane/Smith picks up a massive crowbar and prepares to smash Neo’s head. As Bane/Smith swings, Neo ducks, and we see from Neo’s point of view that Neo can still see machines and programs. In the ensuing fight, Neo gains the upper hand and knocks Bane/Smith’s head off. He frees Trinity from the fuse room, and they embrace.
At Zion, the dock prepares for battle. The Kid loads ammunition into the anthropomorphic robots, but because he is inexperienced and too eager, he spills the ammunition, costing the soldiers valuable time. Mifune and his men strap themselves into their robots, and Mifune delivers a rousing speech. Zee and a volunteer friend promise to stand and fight with each other. Niobe approaches Zion slowly, creeping quietly through the tiny mechanical line. Despite her skill, she nicks an outcropping, and the sentinels instantly sense her. Demanding full power, she orders Roland and Ghost to man the turrets and Morpheus to work as her copilot. She races down the line.
The machines finally breach the dome. A monstrous corkscrew splits the upper sphere and falls through the city, causing massive damage. Hundreds of sentinels swarm into the opening like a plague of locusts. Zee and her friend load rocket launchers with their handmade shells—Zee loads, her friend shoots—and they take a leg off a drill. At the dock, bullets fly. To reload the oversize robots, the men have to wheel ammunition onto the dock while under attack and then elevate the ammunition awkwardly into the robot as the battle continues. Sentinels swarm over a command center. Zee’s friend shoots again, as another massive drill drops through the dome. Niobe races toward Zion, covered by sentinels and driving recklessly but successfully. Zee and her friend climb up a few levels and try to shoot down into a drill’s core, but they accidentally hit a sentinel. In response, several sentinels try to squeeze into their narrow opening. They kill Zee’s friend, but Zee escapes.
The crew members see the Hammer’s signal on Zion’s radar and tries to open the city’s gate to let the ship in. The gate jams, but Zee and the Kid together manage to fight off the sentinels and open it manually. Niobe blasts through the half-open gate and slams into the city wall. The Logos discharges its EMP, and thousands of sentinels, suddenly disabled, stream down through the sky and cylinder to the pit of the city. The people greet the disembarking crew as heroes, and Link and Zee reunite. Lock, though, is furious, for the EMP disabled all of Zion’s hardware, leaving the city completely vulnerable to another wave of sentinels. Lock blows up a shaft, sealing the city off for a couple of hours from the incoming sentinels, which have already arrived in a mushroom-cloud-like plume. The three captains report to the Council, explaining their decision to give a ship to Neo, a decision Niobe and Morpheus defend.
Trinity and Neo slowly approach Machine City, hovering over a vast crop of humans awaiting harvest. Neo, using his second sight, directs Trinity toward a mountain range, where he sees the three power cables he saw earlier in his vision. Massive city-sized ships emerge from the landscape and unleash hundreds of pods at the Logos. Neo wards off as many as he can but is unable to deflect them all. Sentinels attach themselves to the ship. Neo and Trinity’s only option is to fly directly up, straight over the city. As they rise, sentinels fall away, and for a brief, beautiful moment, Neo and Trinity peek up above the black post-nuclear clouds into a brilliant pink and orange skyscape. Just as quickly, they descend back down into the dark, flying behind the city, straight toward the heart of a tower. They crash.
Neo crawls over to Trinity, who has been impaled by many twisted rods. Through the wreckage, Neo is amazed at what he sees—nothing but light all around. Trinity reassures him yet again that this is her time to die and that nothing’s going to bring her back this time. She wants to say goodbye the right way. They express their love and kiss, and she dies.
At the now defenseless Zion, another drill breaches the hull of the dome. The city’s people gather at the temple and wait. In the machine city, Neo climbs through the wreckage and walks across beams of light. Little mechanical spiders and other tiny insectlike machines creep around him until he gets to an outcropping at the end of the wreckage. A spirit—the Deus ex Machina—rises, assembling a giant face made up of many tiny machines. Neo shows no fear and speaks quietly, asking only to be allowed to say what he came to say. The face grants its permission. Neo points out that the Smith program has gotten out of control and will eventually take over the real world as well as the Matrix. The face resents this and spits a swarm of robot bees all around him. Neo doesn’t flinch, and he tells the face he wants only peace. The robot bees calm. Neo allows himself to be jacked in to the Matrix.
The final battle between Smith and Neo occurs in the Matrix on a rainy highway at night. Smith has apparently replicated himself onto every inhabitant of the Matrix, which is now entirely full of Smith replicas rather than people. Neo fights a representative Smith as countless other Smiths look on. The fight ranges from the street to the sky to empty warehouses, and the two strike each other with enough force to send shock waves through the atmosphere, breaking glass all over the city. Neo gets up every time he gets knocked down. Smith says that the purpose of life is to end, as he drives Neo deep into the ground, forming a crater filled with rain and green liquid sewage. Smith demands to know why Neo keeps getting up. What is the cause? Freedom? Survival? Truth? Peace? Love? Neo answers that he gets up because he chooses to. Strangely, Smith says that “everything that has a beginning has an end,” revealing that a bit of the Oracle lurks inside him. Neo allows Smith to replicate himself into Neo; the Deus ex Machina gives Neo a bit of a jolt; and Neo, in a flash of light, explodes out of Smith’s body. The nature and cause of Neo’s triumph remain somewhat mysterious, but Neo has apparently purged the Matrix of Smith and restored it to its former state.
Precisely where Smith had been only a moment before, the Oracle lies in a puddle of water—the Smith that fought Neo was the replica that had originally been the Oracle. Neo lies on the wreckage in the Machine City, exhausted. At that moment, the sentinels suddenly withdraw from Zion. The Kid delivers the good news to the city, and the people rejoice. Link and Zee embrace, as do Niobe and Morpheus. Neo is slowly pulled into the Source, with no clear indication of whether he’s alive or dead. The real world Matrix remakes itself. The Architect and the Oracle meet on a beautiful expanse of lawn and confirm that all those who want to be freed will be freed. Seraph and Sati arrive, and Sati embraces the Oracle. They both admire the brilliant, multicolored sunrise that Sati made for Neo. Seraph wants to know if the Oracle knew all along that it would work out this way. The Oracle assures him that she didn’t know anything, but she believed.