- "We're not here because we are free. We're here because we are not free. There is no escaping reason. No denying purpose. Because we both know without purpose, we would not exist."
- ―Agent Smith to Neo [src]
Smith is the main antagonist of The Matrix franchise.
As an Agent of the SystemEdit
According to Morpheus, Smith is an Agent of the system. Like other Agents, Smith's role is to police and maintain the Matrix by eliminating potential threats to the stability of the system, such as redpills and defective programs. Smith is personified as stern, serious, and nigh invincible.
The dialectical opposition between Smith and Neo is a strong indication of what their respective characters represent. Smith is pitiless and single-minded, focused on finality, conformity and inevitability. As such, Smith represents determinism. By contrast, Neo, with his unpredictable, emotional human nature, represents unbounded free will and the power of choice. Neo's solitary role as The One is contrasted by Smith, who, by replicating himself, becomes 'the many'. When Neo asks the Oracle about Smith, the Oracle explains that Smith is Neo's opposite and his negative.
PersonalityEditSmith is significantly more individualistic than the other Agents from the start, seeming far more intelligent, emotional, and destructive. Other Agents rarely act without consulting each other via their earpieces, although Smith far more often uses his to issue orders or gather information before acting at his own discretion. It is notable that when interrogating Morpheus, Smith sends his colleagues from the room, then removes his earpiece, severing his communication with his fellow Agents before expressing his opinion of both humanity and the Matrix. Ironically, having removed his earpiece, he missed information about Neo and Trinity breaking into their building.
Smith states with audible venom that he despises the Matrix and its inhabitants due to the smell, although this likely serves as a metaphor in addition to its literal meaning. Smith has a strong hatred of humans and their weakness of the flesh, and compares humanity to a virus that replicates uncontrollably and would eventually destroy their environment. Ironically, Smith himself later manifests as a self-replicating virus that spreads throughout the Matrix.
During Morpheus' interrogation, Smith also states that he secretly despises the Matrix itself which he labels a "zoo" and is desperate to escape from it, feeling that he is as much a prisoner as the humans he is tasked with watching over. His seemingly personal hatred of humans clashes with his Agent counterparts, who view humanity with general apathy. He later develops an immense desire for the destruction of both mankind and machines alike, and it is stated by the Oracle that Smith's ultimate desire is the destruction of all of existence.
Smith appears to function as the leader of his Agent colleagues, and has the authority to launch Sentinel attacks in the real world. Unlike other Agents, Smith does not approach problems through a pragmatic point of view, but rather with brute force and apparent rage. However, he does seem to calculate where his targets will flee to rather than pursuing them directly. This is supported by the fact that, while Brown tried to chase Trinity across the rooftops and ultimately failed to capture her, Smith tracked her movements and took control of the driver of a garbage truck near Trinity's exit, only failing to kill her by a very narrow margin. He also demonstrates this ability in the climax when he abandons chasing Neo as soon as he draws near the Heart O' The City Hotel. After escaping Brown and Jones, Neo enters room 303 only to be shot and killed by Smith who appeared to have taken control of a person living in that room.
Besides his hatred for Neo, he also has a large degree of hate for Trinity, for her knack of just managing to avoid his attempts to kill her at the last possible second. He later vocalized this hatred and his reasons for it when ambushing Trinity, while using the body of Bane.
Smith was also shown to be nihilistic, as evidenced by his speeches to Neo in The Matrix Reloaded and his revelation that the purpose of all life is "to end" during his final battle with Neo.
Smith also seems to have sadistic tendencies, as he mentioned that he watched Neo die with a certain amount of satisfaction and the way he brutally beat up Morpheus in the Bathroom fight. Smith's gradual "humanization" is a process that mirrored and balanced Neo's own increasing power and understanding of the machine world.
- "It is inevitable."
- ―Smith to Neo [src]
Agent Smith initially appeared to have been destroyed by Neo, but makes a calculated return with somewhat altered abilities and motivations, in addition to dropping his Agent status. His appearance has changed as well; wearing more angular sunglasses and a black suit instead of typical dark green worn by Agents. Smith also lacks the characteristic earpiece worn by Agents, showing he is now "unplugged". Smith loses his ability to phase into any body connected to the Matrix at will, as he is no longer directly a part of the system.
Instead, Smith now forces his hand into the abdomen of another entity in the Matrix, and converts them into a copy of himself, replicating in much the same way as a computer virus. It is unknown whether his ability to dodge bullets was retained after being "unplugged", although his reaction when Morpheus threatens to shoot him with his gun indicates that whether or not he has it, he doesn't need it by this point due to having the ability to replicate himself.
As a result of being partially overwritten by The One, Smith also begins to exhibit stronger, more virulent human behaviors and emotions such as unpredictability and dry humor, which is a clear departure from his original stern demeanor. He makes the claim that Neo has set him free, indicating that he now has not only the vision but also the ability to break free of the machines' control and exist as a singular being. He is now allied with no one but himself, rendering him an outlaw to both the Matrix and the human minds which populate it. Being free of burden, however, Smith is also compelled to feel that he is still crushed by the weight of purpose. He essentially correlates purpose with imprisonment, and because he still exists within The Matrix, there is an unseen purpose which binds together Neo and himself. Smith therefore became a "fallen Agent".
Against the AnomalyEdit
Eventually, Smith's presence in the Matrix had consumed all of the "Core Network" (the underlying foundation of the inner workings of the Matrix), thus rendering him immutable by even the machines themselves. The Oracle explains to Neo that he and Smith have become equal in power, and that for Smith to be eliminated, the equation must be "balanced". Smith has already begun absorbing all the inhabitants of the Matrix; every human plugged into it, and every program functioning inside, including the Oracle, and even redpills such as Bane.
When Smith absorbs the Oracle, the process apparently grants him her powers of foresight, as well as reality-bending powers equivalent to those possessed by Neo. Towards the end of the film, Neo engages a single Smith, the one that was created from the Oracle, in a seemingly endless struggle between two forces of equal might. The other Smiths do not participate, as the Oracle-Smith explains he has foreseen that he is the Smith that will defeat Neo. In the midst of this battle, Smith explains to Neo his final nihilistic revelation that he has come to learn from Neo. "It was your life that taught me the purpose of all life." and that "the purpose of life is to end." Smith also intended to destroy the real world as well, and had Neo not defeated him, he would have likely escaped the Matrix and taken over the machines, destroying Zion as well as the Machine City.
After an arduous battle in midair, Neo is smashed into the ground by an enraged Smith, making a large impact crater. Smith is perplexed as to why Neo fights, as they both have seen the outcome of the fight. Smith asks Neo why he persists when he knows he will lose: "Is it freedom or truth? Perhaps peace? Could it be for love?", reasons which he believes are "temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose, and all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why, why, why do you persist?" Smith is enraged by Neo's simple and irrational answer: "Because I choose to."
Ultimately, Smith prevails, beating Neo unconscious. Suddenly recognizing the prophecy, he stands before Neo and says, "Wait... I've seen this... This is it, this is the end! Yes, you were lying right there just like that and I... I... I stand here, right here and I'm... supposed to say something..." In a moment of confusion, Smith reveals that he is merely following what the prophecy tells him he should do. In spite of his gaining the Oracle's vision, he remains blind. He continues on, regaining his composure.
"I say... Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo". This is the only time that Smith does not call him "Mr. Anderson" to his face.  Smith displays noticeable confusion after this, apparently not knowing what he has just said. However, he suddenly recoils in fear, exclaiming "its a trick", as he, at least partially, realized Neo's true intentions in fighting. Neo simply responds that "You were right, Smith", as Neo would lose the fight as Smith foresaw. Smith, in an act of almost human irrationality, fought on out of hatred and hope he could escape his fate. As he always planned, Neo surrenders to Smith, who absorbs him, seemingly conquering his enemy.
The "absorption" is not one-sided, with neither force conquering the other. Rather, there is a union of opposites, of thesis and antithesis, leading to the synthesis of the new beginning, in which the Matrix, with its equation of oppression and control, is balanced.
Smith's new triumph is only temporary, however. Shortly after Smith absorbs Neo, Smith is destroyed in an elaborate display of light.
Neo makes a choice to let Smith absorb him because Neo knows that if one ceases to exist, the other will also. Neo is connected to the Source and inserts the code of The One, allowing the machines to reboot the Matrix.
The Smith Virus in The Matrix OnlineEdit
Despite his destruction at the end of the film series, Agent Smith (or at least the remnants of his programming) managed to return and made several appearances inside the movie's official continuation, the MMORPG The Matrix Online.
The first infection was noted in Machine mission controller Agent Gray, whose background information confirms that he was overwritten by Smith at some point during the timeline of the second and third films. This infection had somehow survived the reboot at the end of the third film and rose to the surface once again during chapter 1.2, The Hunt For Morpheus. The Agent, in both a storyline related mission and live event, showed signs of uncharacteristic speech and emotion and eventually led an assault against Zionist redpills declaring 'their stench unbearable any longer'. As a result of his actions the agent was apprehended by his fellow system representatives and scheduled for a 'thorough code cleansing'. He has shown no signs of direct infection since.
Machine liaison officer DifferenceEngine, following a similar scenario to that of the previous Agent Gray infection, also took on the dialect and emotional characteristics of the famous exile agent. Instead of attacking redpills, this instance insisted on finding 'Mr. Anderson'. In the end, the human/machine head relations liaison, Agent Pace, was made aware of the program's infection and subsequent crusade; she proceeded to lock down his RSI and return his program to the Source for analysis. His subsequent fate is unknown.
The third victim of infection was the notorious bluepill Shane Black. This man was an unfortunate victim of the Smith Virus who, once infected, gained the ability to spread the code to others. This quickly led to a small scale outbreak, with several more bluepills becoming infected and joining forces in their hunt for power. He and the other infected were eventually cleansed and returned to their bluepill lives. Shane Black's troubles continued, as he was one of the bluepills recorded to have first witnessed Unlimited redpills practising their newfound powers at the Uriah wharf. This triggered a resurgence of the memories formed during his Smith infection and he soon became volatile and insane. He is reported to have been mercifully killed shortly afterwards.
The most recent appearance of the Smith virus was during the third anniversary events. The virus manifested itself in the form of black-suited men (although they lacked the distinct likeness of Smith). As redpills began to fight back using specialist code from the Oracle, the virus vanished suddenly, stating that he had obtained a new and more dangerous form. The only person to kill the main Agent Smith virus was the Machinist Trilateral, originally of the Iterator server, on Recursion server after the server merge, being the first person in game to earn the perpetual flame virus award. The nature of this form was never revealed.
In The Matrix: Path of Neo, the final boss is the MegaSmith. The MegaSmith was used for gameplay reasons, because although the Wachowski Brothers thought the martyr approach suitable for film, they believed that for an interactive medium such as a video game (based upon the successful completion of goals) it was "Lame. Really lame". So, described by the brothers as, "A little Hulk versus Galactus action", this character was created to be the more appropriate "final boss" of Path of Neo. The MegaSmith is composed of destroyed buildings, cars and parts of the road, with the "spectator Smiths" standing around the crater and in the streets acting as the MegaSmith's muscles, resulting in Smith not only becoming the city's people, but the city itself.
After Neo knocks Smith into the crater in the level "Aerial Battle", Smith is sent flying through the ground and up through the street. As Neo relaxes, the surrounding Smiths walk away from the crater. Neo gets out of the crater, and dodges a car which flies through the air and lands in a pile of debris. Neo looks on as Smiths tear up chunks of the road and throw cars into this pile. A truck then speeds into a building and blows it up. Smiths can be seen holding the debris together as it takes on a thirty-story tall humanoid form which is then struck by lightning, powering it up. Neo flies up to watch as the giant humanoid lowers its head onto its shoulders. The giant Smith then pulls a pair of giant Smith Shades from a billboard and puts them on. He smirks, then the fight begins.
During the fight, Neo must evade MegaSmith's punches and attempts to hurl objects at him, gaining the opportunity to attack after a certain amount of blows have been unleashed; the counter-attack sees Neo flying towards MegaSmith and knocking parts out of him, including the left side of his head and a sizeable portion of his chest. After the fight, Neo flies straight into MegaSmith's mouth, causing the Smiths throughout the Matrix to overload and explode. We then cut to a shot seen in The Matrix: Revolutions of the streets shining with light from the destroyed Smiths.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
AS AN AGENT
As an Agent, Smith had all the standard abilities of an average Agent. the powers included
- Superhuman strength.
- The ability to dodge bullets by moving his body at super fast speed.
- Can possess any bluepill.
AS AN EXILE
After Smith's destruction by Neo and as a result become "unplugged", Smith became an Exile. Smith still contains most of the standard abilities that Agents have with the exception of possessing bluepills.
- Superhuman strength.
- Can replicate himself by stabbing into the person whether human (including redpills) or programs (including Agents) and convert their data.
- After transforming the Oracle into a Smith clone, Smith powers were now equal to the powers the One wields, which included the ability to fly (post-Oracle replication).
It is unknown whether he retained his ability to dodge bullets, although his reaction to Morpheus's threat implied that by that time, regardless of whether he possessed the ability, he no longer needed it.
Appearance and MannerismsEdit
The manner in which Smith speaks is similar to that of the late Carl Sagan. There are also noticeable pauses at odd places in his sentences.
Agent Smith's weapon of choice, as standard for all Agents of the Matrix, is the notably large Desert Eagle Chambered in .50 AE (Action Express), Unlike others, Smith almost always refers to Neo as "Mr. Anderson." This may be to discourage Neo from the concept of his freedom from the Matrix, although it may simply be an aspect of Smith's personality.
- In The Matrix, he explains his disgust for the viral and cancerous nature of humans. Ironically, he himself later shows the same traits, replicating himself and consuming all life within the Matrix.
- Agent Smith was played by Hugo Weaving in all three movies. Hugo Weaving is best known for his portrayal of the elf lord Elrond in The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings Trilogies.