Of course once you DO know what's going on, the story itself is still strong: plenty of meta-narratives and even religious symbolism (from a variety of religions) in there, but mostly it's a fast-paced action cyber-punk thing about fully-immersive virtual reality and being able to download stuff into your brain. So essentially, let's be honest, it's William Gibson's Sprawl universe. And while I don't want to go too deeply into Gibson's work here - that's coming in another list later in the year - it's worth remembering that when asked about 'The Matrix' and its sequels in 2003, he chuckled wryly and replied "ah yes, the unpaid bill". Gibson has no official connections with The Matrix at all. But without him it wouldn't exist.
But it's not just the story that was ground-breaking - the use of the 'bullet-time' special effects were revolutionary in 1999 and the film seemed to be as much about an introduction to a new generation of film direction as about the story itself. And, of course, there's the 'what if it was me' question, very similar to the version of that question posed by The Truman Show - is the world around me really real or not?
And perhaps it IS all true. Don't sneer. When The Matrix was made there were lots of payphones around. Since its release they've almost all vanished. Don't tell me that's a coincidence.