“Terminator: Genisys” is the latest entry in the Terminator franchise. It also marks the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role that made him a household name and gave him his signature catchphrase. However, this latest entry is simultaneously an ode to the past while approaching a scorch the Earth and start anew.
There are no reference to the events of either Terminator 3 or Terminator Salvation. Instead there are only references to the first two movies in the franchise. The time travel elements while always a critical yet minor part of the previous movies instead is a main focus in here. There is much discussion of alternate timelines and how time is fluid.
The three main human characters of the franchise; adult John Connor, Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese are now played by Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney. Jason Clarke probably gets the best material out of the three as John Connor is vastly different from how we’ve seen him portrayed before. Emilia Clarke does an adequate job as Sarah Connor. She is not quite the tough as nails but broken version played by Linda Hamilton but instead comes off as a character somewhere in the middle of how she was in the first Terminator and Terminator 2. Jai Courtney, however, leaves much to be desired as Kyle Reese. He is not bad but does not bring much to the table.
This is however the Arnold Schwarzenegger show. He plays an aged Terminator and it shows that he is not afraid to make fun of his age but also show that he still has it. For a supposedly unemotional machine, he manages to get the most out of his role and brings much levity to the film. If he were not in it, the film would certainly suffer for it.
The plot of the film follows the very first Terminator up to the point where Kyle Reese is sent back in time. Then it becomes a mish mash of the first two films and then about halfway through, it adds in elements of Terminator 3 as well. As with most time travel plots, it can get a bit jumbled and hard to follow. It’s saving grace is that it doesn’t get too bogged down by it. However there are many questions left to be answered in obvious sequel hooks. This does hurt the film as it doesn’t feel like it’s complete by the end of it.
With a middling plot and acting that leaves much to be desired but a fun tone, it is the best film since the second film. Overall it is an enjoyable yet heavily flawed film.