Terminator Genisys Review

The Plot

Arnold Schwarzenneger returns to the Terminator franchise as John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1985 to save his mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). But when Reese arrives, it appears the past has been altered and Sarah Conner is not the vulnerable victim she is meant to be thanks to her guardian, the T100 (Schwarzenneger).

The Good

The fifth and latest installment in the Terminator franchise, now over 30 years old, is undoubtedly the biggest game changer yet. With the task of bringing back fan favourite Arnold Schwarzenneger to his role, writers Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier have found a suitable loophole in the form of alternate timelines It also gives them an opportunity to bring back Sarah Connor, this time in the form of Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke. Clarke is a worthy successor to Linda Hamilton, playing one of the most iconic heroines of the sci-fi genre and almost instantly proving she has what it takes to be just as badass.

In a plot that spans over thirty years, Terminator Genisys feels like a celebration of the franchise as it begins to head towards an ending that can finally put the ongoing battle with Skynet to rest.

The Bad

The fundamental laws of time travel are mixed up so consistently that it becomes pointless to even try to fit this latest instalment in with the rest of the franchise. Even James Cameron’s original story is mercilessly slaughtered to make way for new adventures.

The X-Men franchise recently used the concept of alternate timelines to reboot itself entirely, likewise Planet of The Apes went back to a re-imagined origin story to recapture dominance of the big screen. Terminator Genisys takes the same drastic action, sacrificing decades worth of history with little respect for the original films beyond borrowing a few famous lines. Despite these occasional nods to fans, things soon turn sour as the new script mercilessly hammers its way through the iconic franchise in order to provide an excuse for further storytelling.

It’s hard to say much more in regards to the story without treading into spoiler territory but let’s just help/warn you by saying, wait during the credits.

While Emilia Clarke and Schwarzenneger deliver credibly strong performances for the most part, the other new faces are less impressive playing familiar characters. Jason Clarke’s John Connor is completely ruined beyond all compare in a twist that, had it not been already revealed in the trailer, could have been shocking. Meanwhile Jai Courtney continues to make audiences wonder exactly why studios seem so determined to consistently cast him in major franchises.

The Ugly Truth

Terminator: Genisys could have been final nail in the coffin for the franchise but just like Skynet, feels like it is an unrelenting force which can never truly be destroyed. This exhausting experimenting with time travel will likely just leave you with a pounding headache from the horde of unanswerable questions it poses. Long term fans of the franchise will be glad to see Arnold back, but sad to see the past films so shameless butchered to make room for his long delayed return.

Review by Johnny Ellis

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