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A very popular movie in the early 2000’s was the matrix. Apart from the millions of dollars spent on CGI effects and production costs, what made the movie so successful was its excellent portrayal of the hero myth. The movie revolves around a man named Thomas Anderson, who lives a double life as the regular citizen that has a paying job with a software company and is an underground hacker known by the alias Neo when he is not at the office.
Neo’s life begins to change when he gets into contact with a man named Morpheus who shows him that there is much more to the matrix than he could have ever thought possible. Neo then must fight for the freedom of humankind by battling the matrix with mentorship from Morpheus and his other counterparts. The hero myth in this movie represented by Neo can be broken down into three stages: separation, initiation, and the return.
The separation step of a hero myth is the part of the story where the hero is shown as a normal person, then encounters something that separates him/her from their normal life.
The separation in this movie starts as Neo is introduced in the story as a relatively normal citizen with a paying job and a hacker on the side. He gets his call to adventure when he gets a cryptic message referencing the matrix and is told by the mystery message to “follow the white rabbit.” The story plays out as he meets with Morpheus and is tasked with the decision of returning to his old life or explore more of the matrix with the guidance of his new-found mentor, Morpheus.
Neo then crosses the first threshold by accepting the red pill from Morpheus due to his curiosity of the matrix, which allows him to wake up from the matrix and realize that his whole life has been nothing but a dream. Neo follows the hero myth’s initiation stage After he accepts the pill from Morpheus, and is introduced to the world outside of the matrix program.
He undergoes training from Morpheus to fulfill his role as “the one” who will free humanity. Neo inevitably reached rock bottom when he meets with the oracle, and she tells him that he is not “the one” and he or Morpheus will die and he has the power to choose who. Neo then starts to feel as though he is a disappointment because he has been fitted with so many expectations which were brought to nothing because he was told he is not the one by the one person who is never wrong. Neo’s team faces an ordeal when they are betrayed by a member of their team and are ambushed by agents, who then after an intense fighting scene capture Morpheus. Morpheus’s capture reassures Neo about the prophecy the oracle has concerning him choosing his life or Morpheus’s life. Neo then blames himself for his mentor’s capture and chooses to sacrifice his life for his mentor by entering the matrix to face the Agents and save Morpheus.
The return phase of the hero myth entails the hero completing his mission and returning to his normal life. Although the hero of this story does not return to his normal life in this movie, the final phase of the hero myth in the Matrix movies starts to unfold as Neo tries to leave the matrix after a mission, but is trapped in the matrix and must face Agent Smith, who is the most dangerous of the three agents. After a long fight scene, Neo is then overpowered by Agent smith and dies. The resurrection happens when Trinity tells his lifeless body in the real world that she loves him and the oracle told her that she would love “the one” so Neo must be the one.
Against all odd, Neo wakes up and realizes the matrix for what it truly is; a computer program. Neo then starts exhibiting abilities his mentor: Morpheus nor his nemesis have ever displayed, Neo stops bullets in mid-air and moves at incredible speeds. After Neo kills the agents, he then sends a message telling the matrix he will free humanity. In conclusion, the movie the Matrix did not fail to follow the hero myth as the hero started out as a normal everyday guy without anything special which was the separation stage of the hero myth. the story continues unto the initiation phase of the movie, where Neo accepts the red pill from Morpheus and is introduced to a lot of adventure, ushering 3 him into the real world and knowing the truth about the life he has been living was a lie. The movie ends with the return, after the fighting scene with neo defeating the dreaded agents, and making a call out to the matrix promising to free mankind. Although the story in this specific movie doesn’t completely follow the hero myth in indebt detail, it did a generally good job of covering the three main phases of the myth.
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