Terminator Genisys is a solid addition to the Terminator franchise, despite some flaws
Before watching this movie, it really is best to watch the original Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day in order to understand some of what happens in this movie. Secondly, after having watched the first two Terminator movies, completely forget about the actors in them, and now you’d be ready to watch Terminator Genisys. And although Terminator Genisys is a solid addition, there are some issues.
So, here’s a brief summary of the movie. In the year 2029, the world has been taken over by Skynet and their evil robots. (On a sidenote, I’m going to be honest and say that this is what I think of Skynet – it’s Apple and all your iPhones are going to destroy the world – I’m kidding…sort of.) John Connor, played by Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), and his ragtag group of rebels are at the brink of saving the humans from extinction, Skynet was able to send one robot back to 1984 to kill John’s mom so that John would never exist. John then sends Kyle Reese, played by Jai Courtney (Divergent), to protect his mom.
This part we don’t really see in the original, and that’s when Kyle is about to be sent off through the time machine (because I can’t remember the technical phrase they used). Something shifts and when Kyle is sent to 1984, Sarah Connor isn’t exactly unfamiliar with the Terminator.
Of course, to explain what happens after is going to give the story away, so let’s just say things take a different for the alternate universe and the Sarah Connor in Terminator is not the same Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys, and I’m not just talking about Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) taking over the role that Linda Hamilton pretty much perfected as a kickass heroine.
Let’s start with the storyline. When it comes to using time travel in a story, there’s always the issue of having everything made sense in the past and how it affects the future and how the future makes sense with what was shown in the past. There was already that huge issue of the “cycle” in which you can see a section of time looping around and around. But in this current movie, it goes even further than that, and that loophole becomes bigger in a way. After a while, you just have to let it go and accept it, which can be troubling for some viewers to do, especially those who take great care to focus on the use of time travel. I can’t say it was obvious that there was a problem with that part of the story, but in whole, I felt the story was decent enough.
Anyway, there’s more than the story as reason to watch the movie. The action sequences and fighting scenes were pretty intense. There were a few times where I was trying not to clench my teeth or flinch at the screen, but it was all good tension and I felt the actions sequences in this movie were the best part of the movie.
I felt the visual effects were good, but not mindblowing, unlike Terminator 2, where often it felt jaw-dropping, but that’s because they had shown something that wasn’t shown in the trailers or ads. I hate to say this, but in all honesty, something that could’ve been an excellent surprise was shown in some of the later trailers and TV spots for Genisys, and thus was anti-climactic.
In regards to Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, and Jason Clarke taking over the roles of Sarah, Kyle, and John, they definitely made the characters in their own way, not staying within the boundaries of the characters that were established in the first two movies. I don’t mind it, really, considering that as I stated before, this Sarah Connor is not the same one as in the first movie – as you might’ve noticed in the promos, Emilia’s Sarah Connor is much tougher from the get-go. And with Jai and Jason’s portrayal of Kyle and John, well, I think the liberties they took on them were fine. I don’t believe any of them were perfect in their roles, but I think they made do just fine, although the chemisty seemed a bit choppy at times between Emilia and Jai. As for Arnold Schwarzenegger coming back and reprising his role as the T-800, it just felt better to see him in the movie this time than the last time he reprised his role in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which, by the way, you don’t have to watch. Yes, he’s older, but it works for this movie.
Some of the other cast members barely made a presence in the film, except maybe for the few times that J.K. Simmons was on the screen. He added some of that humor that I mentioned, but again, his was the most significant of the least significant. Even Dayo Okeniyi‘s (The Hunger Games) role as Danny Dyson (Danny’s father, Miles Dyson, was a key character in Judgment Day) barely registered.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad story even though there were some plot holes, but I did really enjoy the intense action and fighting scenes. There was some humor, but the too-spoilery promos (and poster!) kind of ruined what could’ve been a great twist upon seeing it during the movie. If you don’t even know what I’m talking about, then do what you can to avoid watching any ads for the movie until you see it.
The real twist is in the credits when you realize that Sarah Connor and John Connor were played by Emilia Clarke and Jason Clarke (no relation).
One more thing to note is that you might want to stay at least through mid credits.
On letter grading scale, I’d give this one a B-
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