When John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance against Skynet, sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), from a Terminator assassin, an unexpected turn of events creates an altered timeline. Instead of a scared waitress, Sarah is a skilled fighter and has a Terminator guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger) by her side. Faced with unlikely allies and dangerous new enemies, Reese sets out on an unexpected new mission: reset the future.
Arnold is back! Well, I guess he’s been back? For a few years now the former “Governator” has been cranking out some great roles in some greatly underrated films. His performances in both Sabotage and Escape Plan were great and felt like a return-to-form of the Arnold who gave us True Lies, Eraser, and Last Action Hero. Once again he proves his commanding presence on the big-screen with Terminator Genisys.
Genisys kind of pulls a Star Trek-reboot move in that it completely changes the game from where the original Terminator kicked things off. The movie starts off by following the plot of the original movie. Kyle Reese is heading back in time to save Sarah Connor from the T-800, but this time, something has changed and the time stream has been altered. They’re forced to face-on a T-1000 A LOT sooner than they did originally in T2, and they still have to find a way to stop Skynet from going online, only this time it happens further in the future than it did before so they have to save the future from the past by going to the future. Confused?
The plot of the movie is very confusing. I know, I know. It’s rare for me to start out by talking about the things I felt were downsides to a movie. It’s just, this really was the thing that works against the film’s great casting and really, REALLY strong visuals. It just gets sort of tough to follow and understand, and there are some unanswered questions. (Question that will hopefully be answered if they make another one…?)
As I said though, the cast is terrific. Probably the thing you’re going to hear most commonly is that this is Arnold’s movie from the moment he appears on screen, right up until the very end. He’s not even necessarily the “lead”, but he’s just so damn commanding in every scene that you really do end up watching the movie for him.
Emilia Clarke does a great job as Sarah Connor. She’s strong, independent, and kicks some major ass. Her performance is *almost* as close to Linda Hamilton’s in T2 as Brandon Routh’s in Superman Returns was to Christopher Reeves in all the Superman films (cause lets be honest, Routh really isn’t the problem with that movie, but I digress).
I also thought Jason Clarke (no relation?) gave a very strong, very intimidating at times, performance as John Connor, who… well, you’ll see…
I want to mention 2 more things casting wise. First, I had no idea before I saw the movie that J.K. Simmons was in it and he was FANTASTIC. I absolutely DID NOT expect his character to as show-stealing as he was. It’s a little different than anything he’s done in the past and it adds a lot to the film.
The last casting thing I’d like to mention is a praise as well as a “criticism”… Matt “The Sexy Doctor Who” (or so I’m told) Smith. He does have a role in the film, and he is CRIMINALLY UNDERUSED. Be warned, Whovians, if you’re going to see this flick for ol’ Matty, he’s barely in it at all, and that’s a shame because the little he is in the film he demands your attention and is quite menacing, and I loved it.
The visuals are AMAZING. Probably the best I’ve seen in an action movie in a long time. The fight scenes between the various Terminators are so creative and intense. I loved every single one of them.
There are also some great chase scenes. The one with the school bus on the Golden Gate bridge and the one with the helicopters (both of which you can get a glimpse of below in the film trailer) are incredible and very well executed.
Normally I try to catch the 3D IMAX showings so I can let you guys know if it’s worth shelling out the cash. This time I just saw the regular screening and honestly, I saw one memorable part where I though, “That would look pretty cool in 3D.” Unless you’re a hardcore Terminator fan, you’re probably better seeing the regular version and saving some cash for Milk Duds and popcorn.
Overall, if you’re a fan of the Terminator movies, you have to see this one. Does it beat T2? Not even close. But, there’s a chance you might like it better than some of the other Terminator movies. If you’re not watched-up on the Terminator films, then you’re probably better off skipping this one. Yes, it does reboot the story, kind of, but there’s so much that ties into the other films that if you haven’t seen them you’ll probably be lost and you’s probably be more satisfied seeing Inside Out or Jurassic World.