Timey Wimey Confusey Mess. That would be a more appropriate title for the latest installment of a franchise that should have stopped with T2.
Why do I feel this way? Read on!
Terminator Genisys takes us back to the beginning of the story. Well, in fact, it goes to before the beginning, going right back to the very end of the Future War (wait, isn’t the Future War in the future? Timey Wimey!), showing John Connor and Kyle Reese leading the Resistance to victory over Skynet, and the fateful decision to send Kyle back in time to protect Sarah Connor from the T-800 sent to kill her. Except this time there’s already been some time travel – a T-1000 has been sent back to kill Sarah when she was a little girl, only it fails, because a T-800 was sent back to protect her, and so when Kyle shows up in 1984, Sarah is already familiar with Skynet, Terminators and Judgement Day.
The film leaves a lot of the mechanics of this up in the air. We get no answers as to who sent Sarah’s protector (nicknamed ‘Pops’ by Sarah) back. The film’s conclusion sets up the idea that Skynet is destroyed before it ever begins (though T2 did this as well), so how did Skynet send a Terminator back to before it sent the first original one back, after… my head hurts!
The confusing plot doesn’t help a film that gave away its main plot twist in the trailer – John Connor becomes a new type of Terminator, committed to helping Skynet be born. Yes, you read that right.
This frankly absurd notion wasn’t a beneficial one to the Terminator saga, but it was beyond stupid to reveal it in the trailer.
None of the performances in the film are especially memorable, with the exception of Arnold, who appears to relish the chance to play arguably his most famous role once more. The film does allow for the interesting portrayal of an older, more experienced Terminator, that has had the chance to hone its skills. After all, they are learning machines.
As is to be expected, the FX are pretty good, but they’re not light years ahead of the efforts of T2, which did a lot of the same stuff (especially in respect of the T-1000), more than 20 years earlier.
All in all, Genisys is underwhelming. It is easily the weakest link in the Terminator chain, and more might have been accomplished without trying to overly complicate the plot and instead sticking to the original 1984 setting. Please, let’s not see a sequel to this.