When I was a kid, I was a bit of an oddball among guys (or so I thought). I didn’t really agree with many of society’s tenants. I thought watching sports was silly, hurting others was pointless, and I didn’t understand the irrational, egotistical drives of other men (it was testosterone). As a result of all of this, when I was off in my boyish fantasyland, I often thought of breaking free in some supernatural way; I day-dreamed of the idea of being some sort of chosen one. How cliche was I, huh?
The Matrix contains motifs that tug at the desires of young men. Sometimes it’s obvious, with awesome fight scenes, advanced knowledge, and a sense of superiority over “the other sheep.” More subtly, it gives Neo a journey of ultimate purpose, more important than the world he lives in. I’ll speak only for guys, because I am one, but I know that many young men want their life to be like that: action-packed, unique, and purposeful (Neo gets laid later on, too).
So, what made the the first Matrix deeper than, say, the Transformers series, even if both movies are appealing to a similar audience? The Matrix paced it better. It kept its themes consistent throughout the whole movie. The fight scenes, dialogue, and environments were all purposed toward a simple and focused theme: “One man is chosen to free humanity from a faux society.”