The Matrix: Why The Twins In Reloaded Were So Controversial
The Matrix: Reloaded introduced the Twins. Two near-albino beings who proved to be surprisingly controversial for Warner Bros in the early 2000s.
The Twins in The Matrix: Reloaded were very controversial – and here’s why. The second film in the Matrix trilogy intruded two new villains. The Twins, whose threat was potentially even greater than the Agents’. The Twins were believed to be “Exiles,” remnants from previous iterations of the Matrix. And as such they possessed distinctive powers and abilities.
The Twins were essentially ghosts in the machine. Able to turn intangible and pass through walls and ceilings at will. This allowed them to easily avoid being injured by gunfire, given bullets just passed through them. They were further able to instantly reset any damage they suffered. Making them almost unstoppable. Symbolizing their ghost-like state. The Twins were presented with bleached white skin and smart silver suits.
The Twins became a lot more controversial than Warner Bros. had expected, however. In the early 2000s, Hollywood was slipping into something of a habit of portraying albinos as bad guys. Examples were seen in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Tomorrow Never Dies. Blade 2. Star Trek Nemesis and even The Time Machine. “Audiences recognize it very quickly,” dermatologist Dr. Vail Reese told Wired. “They’ve learned that if you see a character with albinism in the movie. It’s going to be an evil character. It’s become part of the film language, for better or worse”. It isn’t a new trend. It can even be seen in 1987’s The Princess Bride. Where there’s literally a villain called “the albino”. But it was becoming a lot more common. And as a result studios were being called out on it.
The controversy was covered by several major media outlets. Including USAToday and MSNBC. And prompted a response from Warner Bros. in which the studio stressed it had intended no offense. “It’s not our intention to single out any group of people as villains,” a spokeswoman observed. “There are a wide variety of characters of all physical types playing both heroes and villains in these movies”. They further pointed out that the Twins are technically not true albinos. Given they have black eyebrows. Needless to say. The technicality didn’t exactly win anybody over.
In this case, the studio was probably telling the truth. The Twins’ abilities are so ghost-like that their white pigmentation. And silver costume was probably designed to make them appear more like a spirit than a human. Unfortunately Warner Bros. had been blind to a trope that was becoming increasingly common at the time. And as a result they’d blundered into something of a minor controversy. So The Twins from The Matrix: Reloaded serve as an important lesson for studios; to do thorough research when designing a character. In order to ensure you don’t unwittingly play into such a trope.