Matrix Not-so-Revolutionary

[Some spoilers here, so the paranoid should avoid reading on...]
If they had just ended after The Matrix, the first movie, if the Wachowski brothers had just faded back into oblivion after that first movie, we'd be hailing these cinematic geniuses who had made two great movies (Bound being the other one) and brought the debate about the nature of reality to the mainstream and made pop-philosophers of film geeks everywhere. I think back to what I thought after seeing the first, and now that I've seen the second and third, I wish I hadn't.
The inverse cost and quality law seems to have struck again. The Wachowski bros, backed by Ron Silver and the fat wallets of Warner Bros., got free reign to spend and overspend on the second and third of this trilogy, and the sum of the two combined not only failed to live up to the bar set by the first but have tarnished my memory of that original as well.
The Matrix offered a visually thrilling metaphor for a wide variety of philosophical debates, but it was never meant to be stretched to the limits which the second and third films forced it to (the first movie managed to tell not only an exciting action story, but it played loosely enough with its metaphor that it was ideologically coherent as well; for that reason it's a sci-fi marvel). Once the second movie played, though, all sorts of Matrix scholars began analyzing the movies as if the metaphor could be read as precisely and literally as a philosphy doctoral thesis (perhaps it was wishful thinking), but the third movie seems to play as if the Wachowski bros finally threw up their hands in the realization that it was impossible to stretch the philosophical analogy out any further without compromising the story so they just decided to sacrifice symbolic integrity for an orgy of CGI-addicted battle scenes.
What do characters like the Merovingian and Persephone represent? They get only a few minutes of screen time. Monica Bellucci's breasts get more dialogue than she does. What does the Train Man represent? Is the ending some sort of loose Christian allegory, or some sort of analogy to viruses which die off when they kill their host? The movie won't stand up to that level of scrutiny.
And while this movie has more action than the second, and while it's technically impressive, it's viscerally empty and logically unsatisfying. Why don't they put some sort of windshields on those robotic battle suits? Why the clunky interface for controlling them (you have to move each lever forward and back, forward and back, to move the legs, and it looks like it requires so much strength that only men have the strength to operate them). Why don't the humans store more EMPs around home base?
The first two episodes of this trilogy invited this type of analysis, so to seem so flimsy in the face of the spotlight is disappointing, especially considering the dialogue is still ponderous and most of the humans remain one-dimensional cutouts whose primary character development consists of their outfits.
It seems small-hearted to criticize an endeavor that obviously required gargantuan efforts on the part of so many people, one with such ambitious and impressive special effects. But, in part because of people like the Wachowski brothers, the bar on CGI special effects has been raised so high that even the most complex fight scenes, executed with the highest production values and precision, simply guarantee you a seat at the table. Story and acting still count.
Fortunately, in my film geek world, hope springs eternal. I did see the trailer for Troy, coming out May 2004, and the zoom out to reveal hundreds of ships tickled my movie nerve.