History of The Matrix
The Matrix is an illusion.
It appears to be America at the turn of the
21st century; a vast megacity and an adjacent
mountain range. In truth it is a virtual,
digital world that humans experience through
feeds running directly to their nervous systems.
These humans experience an artificial life
in the Matrix, unaware of their real state.
In reality, the actual date is unknown, but
it is believed to be a couple of centuries
later. The proprietors of the Matrix are machines
that have won a war with humankind. In the
war the sky was “scorched,” denying
them their source of energy, solar power.
Instead, they now use sleeping humans, enclosed
in liquid-filled pods on vast batteries, to
generate heat that becomes electricity.
A few free humans, based
in an underground city of Zion, resist the
Machines and hope to defeat the Matrix system,
which they see as a form of slavery. These
free humans, too, can jack into the Matrix,
by lurking close under the surface world
in their hovercraft. But when they do, they
are ruthlessly hunted down by Agents of
the Machines. One can die in the Matrix.
A Hovercraft Captain named
Morpheus has heard a prophecy that there
is one who can control the Matrix reality
by will alone. Morpheus Summons Neo and
explains the true state of affairs. He thinks
Neo, a young man awakened from the illusion
and brought from his pod into the real world,
is The One.
Neo’s powers awaken,
and the battle escalates, revealing complications.
Along with humans and Agents of the Machines
in the Matrix, there are free, sentient
programs – Exiles – enjoying
life as humans in the virtual world.
The Exiles are varied.
The Oracle is benign, and guides Morpheus
and other humans in their quest. The Merovingian,
aka the Frenchman, is a sybaritic gangster,
commanding a host of human-formed programs
with powers like that of ghosts, werewolves
and other supernatural entities.
There’s also a wild
card, Agent Smith. Instead of being destroyed
by Neo in an epic confrontation, as he seemed
to be, he has become an independent virus-like
program who can replicate himself, and overwrite
others -- a legion of lethal clones in sunglasses.
Neo encounters the crowning
complexity when he meets the Architect,
the program who designed the Matrix. The
Architect reveals there were previous iterations
of the Matrix that failed, and even previous
Ones like Neo – and a bloody cycle
of destruction and renewal of the Matrix,
Zion and humanity is inescapable.
Neo won’t accept
this. But first he saves the woman he loves,
Trinity, from death, by spectacularly reaching
into her torso and massaging her virtual
heart back into pulsing life. Ironically,
it is Neo’s capacity for love that
makes him the mightiest warrior, the One.
The crisis is imminent.
The Matrix is failing because of Agent Smith’s
viral takeover of every individual in it.
It’s cleansing, and the destruction
of Zion by physical machines, is almost
Neo does the impossible;
he and Trinity break out of the underground
and fly a hovercraft to the city of Machines
on the surface world. He proposes a deal:
he’ll defeat Smith, whose cancerous
growth threatens all the Machines, in exchange
for peace between the Machines and the free
humans. The deal is struck.
Neo does destroy Smith,
with an assist from the Oracle (who had
allowed Smith to overwrite her with curious
equanimity – what did she have up
her sleeve?), in a battle worthy of ancient
gods of the sky. The Matrix is saved. Zion
is saved. The Machine Civilization is saved.
A truce is made –
free humans (“Redpills”) can
even awaken the sleepers (“Bluepills”),
although too much of this would threaten
the Matrix. It’s one of the ambiguities
the Matrix films boldly allowed to stand.
Another: Neo’s fate. He seems to have
died in the battle with Smith. But the Machines
do not return his corpse.
This disturbs some people,
and their actions set the story of The Matrix
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