Lee Daniel Crocker suggested that
> the artificial world these machines
> created ... itself became genuinely sentient,
> and capable of its own motives. The point was not that Neo was
> in fact a body in a vat; the point was that the "simulated" Neo
> was the real hero--more real in fact than the limited flesh
> version. His "escape" served only to inspire him to do his real
> work of hacking from the inside.
I disagree. For a start, the artificial world was not sentient: rather the 100% flesh-implemented humans virtually inhabiting this world remained sentient, just as they were before the VR was created.
Secondly, Neo was unable to crack the illusion from the inside.
Only after augmenting his human mind with new network learning and new and extensive physical human contact was he able to see that the VR world was not real: that he could make it obey his mind just as his mind had previously obeyed it. He did this by interactively reprogramming (providing new afferent input) both the matrix and his own brain.
Thirdly, his "real work" comes in eradicating (or attempting to pacify) the machine invaders: the story has only just begun, from that perspective.
Rhetorical Question: how many of you tried to slide your hand through a wall after viewing the movie. Tempting, no?