The Terminator series has unfortunately fallen into the ever-growing group of franchises that simply doesn’t know when to quit – like that one friend who just can’t take the hint to go home, no matter how abundant the yawns or indications to how late it is.
You could say that Terminator Genisys was destined to get a critical backlash regardless, keeping the age rating at a very family-friendly 12A, similar to the previous two entries that flopped after release, with fans remembering little more than trivial pieces of useless information. Terminator: Salvation was little more than two hours of Christian Bale combatting robots while (puzzlingly) shouting all dialogue in his signature Batman voice. And Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is remembered for……… well actually nothing at all.
However, Genisys differs from these two entries in the series, developing a unique plot that weaves together snippets from the successful first two movies, as well as creating a new parallel time-line that runs alongside (and sometimes runs away from) the original story arch. It’s a refreshing introduction to the film to see Kyle Reese return to the past (eh…again) to find that everything has changed, rather than a simple regurgitation of the same time-travelling story that has been made stale with the previous entries in the series. The creation of ‘Genisys’ is a new concept that shows the evolution of Skynet that hasn’t been seen in previous films, made more relatable and humane by Matt Smith’s character.
The film boasts an all-round fantastic cast, with Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, J.K Simmons and Jai Courtney all performing well alongside our favourite emotionless cyborg. The film is filled with the same subtle quirky humour found in Terminator 2: Judgement Day that gives the viewer a quick respite between all the gung-ho action sequences.
Unfortunately, this is where the film’s good qualities end. The 12A age rating may seem like a fickle criticism, but a major part of what made the first two Terminator movies so unique and appealing was the fact they had that extra age leniency to fall back on. Remember the scene in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, where Arnie cut off his skin from his hand to reveal the robotic skeleton beneath? Although we still have the badass cyborg from the previous movies, part of the charm from the first two movies is the over-the-top action and violence, which is unfortunately only threaded across lightly in Genisys.
Without spoiling anything, the film ends very definitively, until they throw in a ten second scene before the main credits. There is no good reason that this should be the beginning of a new trilogy, and shows nothing other than an almighty cash-grab attempt by Paramount Pictures to further destroy an already very mixed franchise.
Although an enjoyable action movie with a unique take on the series, I couldn’t help feeling slightly cheated with the Marvel-style knock-off trick to play into an unneeded sequel. Had Paramount decided to use the new story in conjunction with the style of the first two highly revered films, this would have been the perfect end-note and redemption to the series. But alas, cash-grabbing prevails.