Terminator Genisys is a good movie. Sure, with all the time travel and machine infiltration going on, it can be difficult at times to comprehend what is happening, but this is a worthy addition to The Terminator film franchise.
Critics often do get it wrong when it comes to movies. They got it wrong with applauding Citizen Kane and panning Facing the Giants. They applauded The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, whilst being a mixed bag towards The Great Gatsby.
We actually see judgement day happening for the first time. The mass wipe out of half the human race leaves a small band of survivors fighting a war against the machines. John Connor saves a young Kyle Reese from being killed by a Terminator and since then the two have been fighting side by side against Skynet and their machine cyborgs. Aided by Hans Zimmer’s fantastic musical score, it is an enjoyable first 20 minutes. A few explosions later and all the machines shut down. Intelligence is given to Connor that Skynet is planning to send a T-800 Cyborg back in time to kill his mother. Kyle Reese volunteers to save her and cue to the events in Terminator One.
With Arnold Schwarzenegger back, it begins to feel a lot more like The Terminator series, instead of a clunky throw together of special effects, overdone story lines and mass explosions. Jai Courtney and Emilia Clarke provide strong performances but aren’t able to match the on screen presence Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton made their own 31 years ago. Not to say they were bad. I enjoyed the strong on stage presence of Clarke. Playing the strong, tough female characters James Cameron writes in his films isn’t easy. Emilia Clarke was not phased and slotted in well. Jason Clarke is proving to be one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors with his menacing performance as the hero and antagonist John Connor.
Thus I was slightly frustrated that things suddenly had to get complicated. ‘Theoretically’ they had already taken care of the other Terminator by the time Connor arrives in Los Angeles 1984. So quickly in fact, the punks did not even have to hand over their clothes. However, one of those fancy T-1000 liquid metal terminators is in hot pursuit of them and this creates as many problems as before. This one is soon ‘terminated’ thanks to a combined team effort and some acid. John, Sarah time travel to San Francisco 2017, to stop the new Skynet called Genisys from launching. The guardian Terminator promises to find them. And eventually he does.
But so does John Connor, or at least on the outside he seems to be. Inside the hospital he confronts them but when the guardian comes and shoots him, liquid metal spews out of him. It is here where we learn about how the machines infiltrated John Connor and tried turning him into one of them. Some parts of this story are so confusing, I’ll leave it to you to decode it.
The action and special effects are fantastic, with huge spectacles at every turn; buses getting flipped, hospitals getting destroyed, terminators going head to head, and of course the eerie Skynet/Genisys headquarters proving a good source of action. If this film were being rated on action alone, it would be very close to a perfect five.
But it isn’t. So whilst this would rank as my third favourite Terminator movie, the next films (if any) would need to be easier to follow. After all, everything else is working in its favour.