Terminator: Genisys has had a rough ride with the Internet mocking it throughout the production of the movie, but the end result is the best version of Terminator 3. Much like the upcoming Alien movie from Neil Blomkamp the Internet already loves, this movie disregards the third and fourth movies to give us a sequel to T2 thats actually deserving of the Terminator name.
The trailers can be a bit confusing with how the time stuff works in this movie, so here’s the basics. It opens in 1997 and Judgement Day happens just as it was described in the first two movies. Then it jumps to 2029 where John Connor is leading the human resistance to capture Skynet’s time machine in Los Angeles while another attack is going down in Colorado to wipe out Skynet’s central core. This is where we see the original T-800 get in the time machine and go back to 1984 and then Kyle Reese is sent back (complete with the Sarah photo, but with Emilia Clarke recreating the picture).
This opening is great fanservice. We see what Kyle described to Sarah in the original movie, and John even makes Kyle memorize his message to Sarah before he enters the time machine. As Kyle begins going back in time, something happens and while it never really makes much sense, it ends up in an alternate timeline. He still gets to 1984 as does the original T-800, but there’s a new T-1000 waiting for him and Sarah has been protected by a Terminator since she was nine.
Yes, the trailers spoiled the John Connor T-3000, but that didn’t hurt the movie much. It’s a fun reboot for the franchise. It honors what happened in the original movie and even some shreds from the original timeline are referenced. Remember in T2 when John says his mom was arrested for trying to blow up a computer factory? Well that’s kind of in here with the big Cyberdine sequence with a different result than in the original timeline.
I also loved Arnold’s aged Guardian in this movie, so much so than in Terminator 3. In that movie, it’s almost a TV-movie parody of the character from T2. It’s almost eye-rolling bad in spots, and it’s almost like he’s just coasting along with a pale imitation of the T2 role. Here, it’s a good continuation of the T2 Guardian. He has humor (lots of old jokes) but it’s about the same level as it was in T2, it’s not overboard like in Terminator 3. You won’t see him wearing star sunglasses here. He’s much more of a badass than he was in the third movie, and it’s a welcome return for the character.
And even though there is a real ending here, it’s again like the theatrical ending to Terminator 2. The future isn’t yet written. Sarah isn’t yet pregnant with John, and there’s many roads they can take. There’s a mid-credit tag to set up a sequel, and based on how they rebooted the franchise with this, I’ll be there opening day to see it if they made it.
As far as I’m concerned the Terminator movie franchise now consists of the original movie, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and now Terminator: Genisys. Terminator 3 and Salvation no longer exist. And I’m perfectly fine with that.