Here are some reasons the original Matrix was great:
- First Western movie to make excellent use of the circular camera effect, lots of wire action, and slow-mo John Woo combat.
- It introduced the wide non-philosophy crowd to the old epistemological/metaphysical brain-in-a-jar question in a way that was easy to relate to.
- It had memorable main characters, some of which died (!), so there was a sense of danger and urgency.
- The mood, coloring, and design of the movie was good - reminiscent, as someone pointed out, of the wonderful Dark City. I loved Kiefer's performance in that, I loved Jennifer Connelly (my wife looks a lot like her, green eyes and all), but most of all, the mood of that movie was amazing.
Now let's look at Revolution:
- Fight scenes still cool, though less dangerous and hence less interesting
- No main character bites it - sense of danger is terribly lacking
- There is more philosophy; however, we're getting into more difficult territory with the Free Will v. Determinism discussion, prevalent in the Merivingian's speech and the Architect's scene. I found it slightly enjoyable, but I think most people don't get into that.
- The mood was, as someone pointed out, more style, but less brooding dark.
So overall, the movie could have been nigh as good as the first one, but they made some bad choices. It';s still decent, and I'll get the trilogy eventually.