In a binge that left me kind of dazed, I saw both X2: X-Men United and The Matrix: Reloaded last Saturday. For the most part, a good time was had by all. A better time would have been had if I had an Agent Smith plushy to hold onto while watching these movies.

The second X-Men film, like the first one, was surprisingly good. Considering the fact that it’s based on not just a comic book, but a famously long-lived and soap-operatic comic book, Bryan Singer managed to somehow pull everything together into a fairly tight and coherent story. The only thing that kept breaking my suspension of disbelief could hardly be blamed on the movie: every time someone mentioned badguy William Stryker’s name, all I could think of was the scene in Airplane II where Lloyd Bridges says, “Striker… Striker… Strike Her!”

The middle child in the The Matrix trilogy seems to have had a rough time of it. The Wachowski brothers took the laudable approach of giving the audience more of what we wanted: more fight scenes, more special effects, etc. Unfortunately, they also gave us more incoherent dialog and dime-store ruminations on perception and reality — much, much more of that. Also, the Tron flashbacks started to give me headaches; I kept looking for a floating bit that follows Neo around and says “Yes… No…” at opportune moments.