You know…I went into this movie thinking, “Maybe this won’t be as bad as it looks. Maybe this will feel like the Terminator franchise again. Maybe, just maybe, this movie will be the fun and exciting jolt of energy the franchise so desperately needs!”
Yeah, I was wrong about all of that. How is Terminator Genisys? Honestly…
Acting as a quasi-reboot, Terminator Genisys retells the tale of Kyle Reese: a freedom fighter from a post-apocalyptic future who is sent back in time to protect Sarah Connor from a Terminator. When he arrives, however, he finds that the timeline he expected to find has been drastically altered. While Genisys starts off feeling like a passable Terminator flick, it quickly devolves into a scrambled mess of dull action scenes and nonsensical plot twists. If you didn’t feel like this franchise deserved to die after Terminator Salvation, then this entry will certainly drive the point home.
What I liked
While the movie doesn’t really break new ground, the first act is a pretty fun one that actually feels a lot like a Terminator movie. There’s a good bit of sci-fi action, and even if it’s a little cheesy, it’s still an entertaining call back to the original films. This kind of tone keeps going for about a third of the movie. The T-1000 featured this time around is pretty dang awesome, and the concept set up by the movie to justify the T-800’s return is an interesting one that allows for all the different throwback moments.
What I didn’t like
After the first act, everything starts slowly sliding down a hill that feels both unfamiliar and unpleasant. You know that huge spoiler the trailers and poster supposedly gave away? It’s a gigantic turning point in the movie, and it was definitely set up to be a big reveal. From that point on, the plot got really messy as it dove into a tone that reminded me of when people roll their figurative eyes and say, “dark and gritty reboot.”
That twist marks the end of any fun to be had with Terminator Genisys. The plot completely loses its footing as it tries to justify this huge twist in the franchise’s mythology. It bends over backwards trying to explain why everything’s okay, and why the characters can keep moving with any hope for victory. After a while, you start to see that the characters are just moving from one tired action set piece to another. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before.
This would be manageable at best if the characters were any shade of interesting. Emilia Clarke is believable enough as a hardened butt-kicker, but when she’s not shooting things, she acts like she’s reading the script out loud for the first time. Jai Courtney’s portrayal of Kyle Reese is equally underwhelming, if not more so. The only redeeming qualities amongst Terminator Genisys’s cast are Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800, Pops, and Lee Byung-hun as the T-1000. Schwarzanegger’s unmoving persona of the mechanic guardian is always a joy to see on screen, and T-1000s still remain as an awesome concept for villains. Too bad neither of them are in the movie for long.
Terminator Genisys is boring and uneven, making for a pretty lousy summer blockbuster. Paramount is hoping that this will be the first in a new trilogy, but if anything, it’s a sign of how this aging franchise should probably be shelved for a while. But even if Terminator bombs at the box office, there’s one thing I’m sure of: It’ll be back.
(I’m so sorry that’s a terrible pun please forgive me.)
What did you think of Terminator Genisys?