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The Most Paused Agent Smith Scene From The Matrix

When Hugo Weaving rocked up in a suit and shades in a little unknown sci-fi film in 1999, no one at the time predicted that it would lead him to become one of the most iconic villains in cinema history. Agent Smith in "The Matrix" is the enemy of an era. He was a successor to the terrifying T-1000 from "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and a precursor to the MCU's Thanos as another antagonist obsessed with order and inevitability. Appearing as a gatekeeper in a green-gray two-piece for the Machines in the first chapter of "The Matrix" franchise, his frightening appearance was a testament to the Wachowski sisters' writing and Weaving's on-screen presence.

With the message being hammered to run whenever you saw an agent, Weaving's Smith was a villain that froze us in our tracks and made us legitimately fear for Neo (Keanu Reeves) and the band of freedom fighters trying to release him. So much so that when Reeves' savior of the world finally starts beginning to believe, it, in turn, leads to one of Agent Smith's most satisfying scenes in the whole film — just more so for us than him.

Smith sees the truth

Abandoned and out of options in a subway station, Neo takes his best shot, leading to that memorable image of both hero and villain locked in a mid-air shootout before the real guns come out. As big-screen fights go, it's up there with the best and a fantastic display from both parties, demonstrating Neo's awakening, and more importantly, the rude wake-up call for Agent Smith with every blow that's thrown.

The fight is itself a story of the power balance gradually shifting from one side to the other, and the scale slowly tipping against Smith's favor. Arrogantly relishing in what he believes to be an easy win, Smith talks far more here than the supposed savior of the human race, and for good reason. He is Neo's doubt and fear personified, breaking him down both physically and mentally.

It's here we see further proof of Smith's ferociousness as he pummels concrete pillars with his bare hands, highlighting the danger Neo is in before the tide starts to turn. For every jab of Neo's that blocked, one gets through to Smith, going as far as even to damage his specs. It's a standout moment and the closest thing to Neo can get to drawing first blood, urging Smith to voice his opponent's fears ("I'm going to enjoy watching you die, Mr. Anderson") before literally kicking him across the room. As we all know though, this isn't over yet.

'The sound of inevitability'

As with some legendary baddies of the big screen, sometimes, the most pause-worthy scenes aren't to admire the villain, but rather, the karma headed their way. In this case, seeing Smith's dumbstruck mug as Neo stands, wiping his mouth and taunting him for another round is absolutely priceless over two decades later. From shaking off the dust to replicating Morpheus' invitation to battle, none of this fantastic Keanu Reeves-laced imagery would be anything without Weaving's baffled Smith looking on as the icing on the cake. From here on out, things are about to change for Smith in the worst way possible.

What follows is an endless and undeniably impressive final round at the station that has plenty of frames worth freezing, all at Smith's expense. From Neo returning a few headbutts from earlier to that classic throat-poking slice strike that still might make some gag, it all forces Smith to turn it up a notch to try and come out victorious. The overhead shot of the agent hammering Neo at an anime-like speed and throwing him onto the tracks ends with what is easily one of the franchise's most memorable moments. The air-punching image of Neo finally starting to overpower his adversary as Smith ultimately fails to ensure Mr. Anderson doesn't miss his train is gold. And why wouldn't it be? The train isn't for him. After all, his name is Neo.