Terminator Genisys ★★★½

I didn’t want to see this. The trailer was garbage. The last two sequels were underwhelming; T3 was a dull retread of T2 and Salvation was something else entirely. Now that Cameron wasn't going to be involved, the last thing I wanted to see in a Terminator film was a yellow school bus doing a 360 flip in the air. But as they say, comedy is tragedy plus two mediocre sequels. 

When it’s funny, it’s actually charming. Arnie never needed to smile, but if you’re going to make a sequel, you may as well play with what didn’t work in T2, seeing as the tone is no longer cyberpunk. Besides, we’re working with post Jingle All The Way Arnie. Gone is the effect of Arnie making wearing sunglasses at night look cool. 

Have fun with the original themes this does. Agreeing with the initial buzz, this feels like the first proper sequel to the first two movies, sans the Cameron touch. It expands on the established doomsday mythology and improves on the forced humor in T2, with fanboy admiration for the iconography of the classics. Praise be to god, it actually moves the story forward, with the strong cast keeping the sometimes baffling timeline grounded. 

What I love more than characters quoting iconic lines from other movies is movies quoting and expanding on iconic shots from other movies. There are a couple of shots that feel both familiar and new. That isn’t to say this has an unique visual style, it’s mostly workmanlike at best, but Alan Taylor clearly has memorized the visual vocabulary of T2 and has something to show for it. Except the antiseptic color palette, it sucks.

But that isn’t the real reason why I kinda adore this sequel. This understands what even Dark Fate doesn’t: an improved T-1000 does not make a better sequel, the expansion of timelines does. This has been criticized for its confusing timelines and not making much sense, but there’s ambition in its ideas, and though the logic doesn’t always check out, I love that they went down the Back to The Future Part II route, subverting expectations not only of the first two movies but also of the retreads of the sequels. It even borrows awkward sexual humor from BTTF2: “Did you mate?” 

Yeah, Terminator Genisys, I’ll be back.

Andy Freddy liked this review