Terminator Genisys is not the best Terminator movie. It's not even the second-best Terminator movie. But, in a franchise with (so far) two great movies and two terrible ones, to come in in the middle-of-the pack is not so bad. In fact, it's pretty damned good!
Let's establish some things, here. This movie, like any in the series, is not for you if you disdain explosions, violence, corny dialogue, and the logical troubles that come with anything time-travel.
But is it for you if you worship at the altar of the first two films? Yeah. The Terminator is, without a doubt, my favorite movie ever, and I am completely satisfied with Terminator Genisys. And pleasantly surprised!
Look, I don't want to tell you too much about the plot, because there are a lot of great surprises in the film that are apparently revealed by the studio's own marketing. I was unaware of these twists, because I went in completely unspoiled (which made me real fun every time someone would mention the movie and I'd cover my hears and start humming) and I believe that added greatly to my enjoyment of the film. But I am about to tell you some stuff, so if you don't want to know anything, go read about meat bees instead.
You likely have an idea of what happens in a Terminator movie: robots from the future try to kill various people who surround John Connor, the future leader of the resistance in the war between man and our machine overlords. And when this film starts, it feels like more of the same: we're in the dystopic future, watching San Francisco get destroyed. It's always fun to see the place get blown up, right?
We end up seeing the "backstory" on how Kyle Reese got sent back to 1984 to protect (and impregnate) John's mom — basically, a real fast prequel type thing. It's when Reese steps into the time machine that almost everything we know about the Terminator world changes.
The changes are good! While Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn will always own my heart as Sarah Connor and Reese, Emilia Clarke does a beyond-respectable job of capturing Sarah's spirit. And Jai Courtney as the new Reese? Y'all, this guy is the king of fuck mountain, a great mix of badass, total softy, and asshole. I'm all in the tank for his Reese, I can't lie.
And of course there's Arnold. Clomping around, looking his age, and constantly saying "nice to see you" to people (a phrase, he once told me, that is the only thing you want to say when meeting anyone in case you've met them before and forgotten). He's menacing, funny, and surprisingly touching in the role as the "old, not obsolete" Terminator.
The trio engage in an escalating series of preposterous stunts and showdowns, including a number in the San Francisco of 2017. (You think SF's techies suck now? You haven't met these guys.) There are homages/ripoffs of everything from the Matrix sequels to Resident Evil along the way, and it all moves at a fast, engaging clip.
No, Terminator Genisys will not replace the first and second movies in any of the franchise's fans's hearts. But it will make us forget about 3 and 4. That, alone, is worth the price of admission. Two flesh covered robot thumbs way, way up!
There are significant plot twists revealed in this trailer! Don't watch it if you are concerned about such things!