It was nigh on impossible to go into Terminator Genisys without either a preconceived negative view of the film or an already spoilt vision of the narrative. The studio did extremely well to spoil a huge twist that made a beloved character into an actual terminator and the ‘fans’ jumped on the silly decision to tear the franchise reboot a new one.
Much like J.J Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, Terminator Genisys incorporates the old timeline but reinvents the characters and events for a new and exciting trilogy. However, despite its poor box office it seems a sequel may not necessarily happen. In Terminator Genisys, John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor from terminators sent back by Skynet. But when Reese arrives in the past he is shocked to find Arnie’s ‘pops’ protecting Sarah. The film takes an even more surprising turn when John appears in the past as a new breed of terminator, which he describes as: ‘not man, not machine, I’m more.’
Genisys is chock full of callbacks to the Terminator franchise and despite all the hate this film is getting, I enjoyed it. The action was good, the acting was serviceable and the amalgamation of previous Terminator movies was coherent. Some of the visual effects were extremely poor but others were particularly well done.
A main complaint being thrown at Genisys was its lack of chemistry between the leading trio. Granted the conversations between Arnie’s Guardian and Jai Courtney’s Reese were enormously robotic but what can you expect from a robot and a man who has known nothing but war? There was real emotion felt between the Guardian and Sarah and also Sarah and Reese, so I really don’t understand the hate there. It seems that a Terminator film will always draw criticism from every angle when all this film is trying to be is fun, and it is fun.
It is nice to see Arnie stretching his metal limbs again and his dry delivery works great in some places whilst falling short in others.
Jason Clarke was a good John Connor but an even better evil version of the messiah. Clarke already has an evil face and taking John and making him a weapon for Skynet was something we’ve never seen before. Audiences wanted something new and making John into the villain was something new. It’s just a shame it was ruined in the trailer.
The use of timelines was also well done. In some cases the plot does become too convoluted but it can be seen as necessary to revisit the previous films.
The films’ saving graces are J.K Simmons and Matt Smith. Smith’s character was kept under wraps for much of the filming and it is now understood why. If a sequel is ever to be made, it is clear that Smith will play a huge role going forward. Simmons was the relief. We’ve seen him tear through drama but taking a light tone amidst all the drama and action of Genisys was indeed the best thing about the feature. He has been signed on for sequels, if they ever materialise.
It can be very easy to fall victim to herd mentality. Genisys may not be the best film of the year, or the best film of the franchise but it is certainly not the worst. In my opinion it is third only to Terminator and T2. I like the casting, I like the new direction the franchise could go and I like the cliffhanger we were left with. Genisys did its job because I want to see more Terminator adventures if less objective heads are allowed to prevail.
Score – C+