Keanu Reeves: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked

2. Neo - The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions (2003)

This may seem an unusual and unpopular choice, given the mixed reception of both Matrix sequels and their continued defence by loyal fans. But it is very palpable to believe that these films were where Reeves' technique and approach to characterisation started to work against him and give rise to all the jokes about him.

The Matrix sequels see Neo, Trinity and Morpheus continuing their quest to liberate mankind from the machines that have enslaved them. In Reloaded they lock horns with the Merovingian, a powerful programme who is holding captive a valuable resource called the Keymaker. In Revolutions Neo travels to the heart of the Matrix to fulfil his destiny, while Morpheus attempts to hold off the destruction of the human city of Zion. In the midst of all this, hundreds of Agent Smiths turn up and Neo has to fight them.

Much of the blame for these films can be laid on the Wachowskis: buoyed by the huge success of the first film, they got too big for their boots and lost all sense of discipline. But Reeves is equally guilty of loving his character too much, becoming a prisoner of his own performance and fighting against any opportunity to show emotion. Even considering Neo's less interesting development in the sequels, there is more to the character than being so focussed that he isn't as emotional as those around him. In short, Reeves takes something that was once heroic and by his own hands make it desperately dull.

Freelance copywriter, film buff, community radio presenter. Former host of The Movie Hour podcast ( and click 'Interviews'), currently presenting on Phonic FM in Exeter ( Other loves include theatre, music and test cricket.