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The Most Paused Moments In The Matrix Series

The movies that launched a thousand wallpapers, the franchise that made us all go "whoa" and look around questioning our entire existence, the science fiction juggernaut that made latex the coolest it'd ever been. You know it, we're talking about the Matrix series. These films, nay, masterpieces, are some of the most beloved and watched movies of modern times. And boy, are they gorgeous to look at.

So what makes us pause scenes from these movies again and again, drinking in every sweet pixel like our eyes have just stumbled upon a clear oasis after braving the Sahara? Well, for some, it's the groundbreaking, genre-defining special effects, which seemingly make an actor defy gravity or move literally faster than a speeding bullet or stop time itself. For others, it's the lush dystopianism displayed in the mega cool costumes, the inventive artillery, or the sleek world design of The Matrix. Or maybe it's the fact that Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are total hotties.

Whatever the reason you smash that pause button, these movies are full of scenes that fans love to stop and ogle. And we've collected the most paused Matrix moments right here.

Trinity's introduction in the Matrix series

Carrie-Anne Moss won over hearts and minds with her portrayal of Trinity, the enigmatic hacker who guides Neo on his first steps towards discovering the truth of the Matrix. Her skin-tight latex and leather-looking bodysuit was also a big hit. And sunglasses at night have never looked cooler.

Trinity is one of the first major characters we meet. She shows up in the very first scene of the trilogy, and she's on the run from the police. Of course, it quickly becomes apparent that the cops aren't the most dangerous things chasing her. And it's during this showdown that Trinity immediately became a fan favorite. After all, her serious demeanor, that high-stakes fights with the authorities, and those incredible martial arts moves help draw us into a world that's stranger and more complicated than we ever imagined. 

What makes this truly pausable though is the scene's use of special effects. It's right here in the opening that audiences, worldwide, were introduced to the groundbreaking, innovative camera techniques of the Wachowski sisters' masterpiece trilogy. The use of multiple cameras to capture a seamless, 360-degree view of the action changed cinema forever. Today, the techniques and breakthroughs developed for this movie are used widely in all sorts of movies and taught at film schools all over the world. In short, the opening of The Matrix is one of the greatest action movie intros ever.

That moment with Neo's mouth is absolutely horrific

Nothing like some good, old-fashioned body horror to get the blood pumping and to stun viewers into hitting the pause button. Need proof? Okay, let's talk about one of the most messed-up moments in sci-fi history.

Neo — played by internet hero and iconic movie star, Keanu Reeves — has delved into the seedy underworld and the darkest corners of the dark web looking for the answer to the question that keeps him up at night: What is the Matrix? He's almost ready to leave his old life, one of boredom, isolation, wasted potential, and endless corporate servitude, behind. And that's when the ominous and threatening Agent Smith comes calling, tracking Neo to where he works and subsequently capturing him. 

Then things get interesting.

Neo, a corporate shill by day and a lone wolf hacker by night, has already shown the audience that he isn't afraid to speak truth to power or buck convention and go his own way. In fact, seeking to break the confines socially, physically, and even spiritually of the world everyone seemingly inhabits is his entire, all-consuming purpose.

So when he's trapped by the agents and begins going about his standard flying-in-the-face of authority routine, we expect it. What we don't expect and what further intrigues and terrifies audiences about the mysterious, seemingly omnipotent power of the agents is for the brash and brazen hero to be shut up ... completely. Agent Smith zips that yapper shut faster than you can say "absolute nightmare," literally causing the hacker's mouth to disappear. His flesh melts together, and Neo is powerless to fight back. 

And yeah, we've got to hit that pause button because the scene is just so horrific.

Pause on the red pill/blue pill moment and reflect on reality

One of the most iconic scenes in movie history, this moment launched a thousand memes and sent conspiracy theorists and philosophers alike ablaze with a million thoughts about reality and our place within it. Yeah, we're talking about the red pill/blue pill scene.

Neo has finally come face to face with Morpheus, the spiritual leader and guide who will illuminate the true nature of reality. After his first bizarre brushes with the agents, Neo is on a dangerous path to enlightenment. This is the moment when his departure from society and the world he has known will become absolute. But first ... he has a choice to make.

Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburne, offers him a red pill, indicating freedom and danger, or a blue pill, indicating bondage and safety within those chains. Which one does Neo take? Well, there wouldn't be much of a second and third act, and certainly no future films, if Neo had taken the blue one. And the brilliant and eminently pausable moment of Neo reaching for the red pill, reflected in Morpheus' very, very cool pince-nez glasses, is gorgeous to look at and makes a good meditative image when you just need to think about what's really real.

Pause ... bullet time

Conceptually, bullet time had been around in filmmaking for a while before 1999, but no one ever pulled it off like the Wachowskis and their technical team. Setting up a ring of cameras surrounding the actors against a green screen, the makers of The Matrix were able to capture breathtaking moments the likes of which audiences had never seen.

Though this film technique appears in the very first scene in The Matrix, when Trinity fights her way through the cops who've come to arrest her or kill her on sight, the most iconic use comes from Neo's show down with the agents. Earlier in the film, Morpheus had hinted that someday Neo, once he accepts his true potential, will be able to move faster than a speeding bullet. While this may be classic superhero fare, when it's introduced in the movie, it feels revolutionary and breaks into new territory ... and vast power.

As an agent fires bullets at our duster-clad hero, Neo instinctively bobs and weaves out of the way in what appears to be the world's coolest limbo moves. Fans hit pause time and again to marvel at the tense moment and the wonderful filmmaking of this scene which has inspired filmmakers the world over.

Neo vs. all the Agent Smiths

"Me, me, me ... me too."

That's Agent Smith's merry little song to himself as he slowly infects the Matrix with viral copies of himself, an act of power that's never been seen in the Matrix before. Well, maybe describing it as a "merry song" isn't the best way to put it. Instead, it's a chilling, ominous chant. Agent Smith, the hauntingly mechanical bad guy portrayed by the excellent Aussie Hugo Weaving, desires to remake the world in his image ... and his image alone.

A free man in The Matrix Reloaded, Smith eventually tracks Neo down, and when they're finally face to face (to face to face to face), it seems like the kung fu messiah has bitten off way more than he can chew. And thus, we get the burliest of all burly brawls.

Pausing this scene is like a fun game of stunt guy eye spy. Trying to identify all of the different stuntmen can be pretty fulfilling, especially when the practical effects team did such a great job at making it look like each and every one of the baddies trying to punch Neo into oblivion is an exact replica of Agent Smith. Granted, there's some bad CGI that ruins the scene, but overall, this fight is one of the ultimate Matrix pause moments.

The Zion rave is one of the Matrix series' most underrated moments

Giant, killer robots are coming to destroy the only home you've ever known, the home that happens to be the last remaining bastion of humanity and its only hope for a future of anything other than being farmed as energy for said killer robots. What are you gonna do? The only answer is fight back, of course ... but first?


On the eve of the battle for Zion, spiritual leader Morpheus gives a rousing speech, which emboldens the free human warriors to take up arms and defend their home. And it also apparently gets them in the mood to dance. This scene makes living underground look not terrible, as everyone seems to be pretty hot and willing to show off their glistening bodies when they get sweaty.

Pausing this scene is a real feast for the eyes. You'll see dancers pumping their fists in unison and a beautiful rainbow of folks from all backgrounds blending into one sexy, writhing group who are all partying like it's their last night on Earth. And within this scene, there's another extremely pausable and extremely sexy moment. As the good folk of Zion dance the night away, Neo and Trinity, dying for alone time, sneak off and get some quality alone time in one of the hottest scenes in the series.

Monica Bellucci's dress in The Matrix Reloaded is amazing

Truly, this has got to be one of the best costumes in all of cinema history. And filling it out? One of the most beautiful women ever to grace this world. Monica Bellucci, the Italian actress who's been regularly voted one of the sexiest women alive, plays the role of Persephone in The Matrix series. Though she's actually a sentient program living within the underworld of the Matrix, she projects herself as a gorgeous bombshell.

Her partner, the Merovingian, is a black market dealer, trafficking in all kinds of things that regular humans and programs within the Matrix don't have access to, and she's his disillusioned wife. She becomes instrumental to helping Neo and friends meet the Keymaker, the one who will lead them to "the source" and, ultimately, the resolution of the trilogy. But that all pales in comparison really to how jaw-droppingly gorgeous the dress Monica Bellucci wears while she helps them.

This pale nude cocktail dress is made of the sheerest latex and was honestly probably pretty sweaty to wear around on a film set. But again, who cares, she looks amazing. And dedicated fans have spent lots of time pausing to see just how sheer the dress actually is.

The ghost twins are definitely worth pausing for

While most effects in the Matrix series look great years later, a few of the CGI moments haven't aged that well. For example, take The Matrix Reloaded, which was released in 2003. In this sequel, some fans take umbrage with the two characters known as the Twins. In the story, they're rogue programs who've essentially malfunctioned and now must live in the dark underbelly of computer society. However, they can do things and behave in ways that other programs can't, and in the case of the Twins, that means turning translucent and getting really pointy teeth.

While the uncanny valley is pretty strong whenever they phase shift out of their corporeal forms and into whatever glowing green ghost bodies are made out of, it still looks pretty cool, if not totally believable. And the characters were played by two real life twins, Neil and Adrian Rayment, who have a real-life penchant for wearing wacky sunglasses, just like their on-screen counterparts.

The car chase where they're pitted against Morpheus, Neo, and Trinity is also one of the thrilling highlights of this action-packed series that has fans pausing to catch their breath and take a closer look. A fast-paced, big-budget scene where every second is full of tense energy more than makes up for their creepy ghost teeth.

Meeting the Architect

Although it was viciously parodied at the 2003 MTV movie awards (courtesy of a fantastic Will Ferrell), the "meeting the Architect" scene truly is one of the most pausable moments in the entire Matrix series.

If you need a refresher, Neo has finally made it to the nerve center of the Matrix itself. He's dressed from head to toe in an amazing black frock, and he's ready to get some answers ... finally. And that's when he runs into the Architect. This man in white seemingly holds all the answers to the questions Neo has been asking his whole life. It is the face off between the one who created the enslaving construct known as the Matrix and the one who seeks to tear it all down. If you met the creator of everything you'd ever known, you'd probably have some questions too.

In this notoriously dense scene, straightforward answers are hard to come by, which is mirrored by the dense and varied images shown on the screens behind Neo. His whole life literally flashes before his eyes, and it's jam-packed with fun Matrix Easter eggs for those quick to hit pause. Each screen surrounding Neo has images from either Neo's fictional past within the Matrix or from his time within the construct since he was freed and gained his supernatural powers.

The final fight in The Matrix Revolutions

The ultimate confrontation in The Matrix trilogy comes with an unexpected twist. It isn't Neo against the heart of the machines, the controlling consciousness that's sought to subjugate and to enslave humanity for hundreds of years. Rather, it's a rogue program created by the Matrix itself, Agent Smith, that Neo must fight at the end of The Matrix Revolutions. This scene is peak Matrix. Everything is green, we're in a city that could be anywhere and nowhere, and the atmosphere is heavy, oppressive, and ominous.

Jam-packed with blazing fast action and very cool special effects, any frame of this scene is worth pausing and scrutinizing. Neo has already fought legions of Agent Smiths, who by this time, have taken over the minds and bodies of all of the inhabitants of the Matrix, humans and programs alike. And in the end, in the final, muddy battle, Neo faces the Agent Smith now inhabiting the body of the Oracle. And this battle between two god-like entities is full of the building-smashing, hard-punching action that fans of the series love. The breathtaking tension of the story makes it worth watching, but the incredible effects and choreography make it worth pausing.