I agree with most of the criticisms of the movie. On a broader scale, the 2nd and 3rd movies failed to make me WANT the "good guys" to win. I'd 100% rather be plugged into a goo pod than slurping creamed corn in a torn up sweatshirt for the rest of my life. Zion, the Real World, has nothing to recommend it. Sure, being a battery is slavery, but being free achieves nothing - the war was unwinnable because the game was unwinnable because it's just two codebins playing tug of war in the land of 1s and 0s; even if it was winnable there are no freedoms in Zion - no joy, no color (except for the people - it seems that Whitey never really made it out of the goo pods
); no books, no music more complicated than a drum, etc.; no life - just a bunch of tattered people .
The Matrix though, especially if you're agenty, has all the good stuff, if you can live without the color red.
I think the sequels could have lurched toward a better reception by changing nothing except adding some appeal to Zion/The Real World. Some hope. Some difference. Fighting the long defeat is a fine theme, as long as the enemy isn't more likeable than you are.