Genisys is sort of a reboot/remake/sequel thing to the original James Cameron Terminator films. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) goes back in time to save Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) from a time-traveling robot assassin (the terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger), like the original, but the timeline has shifted as a result of time travel jargon and now the terminator is nice, but there’s another terminator that’s still mean, they fight and the good one wins. Don’t worry about spoilers, that’s all within the first fifth of the movie (and in the trailer). The big twist of the film (that’s also in the trailer) is that John Connor (Jason Clarke) is now a terminator too. A mean terminator.
Then explosions happen, things get punched, cars go fast, and catch phrases are repeated. Pretty much any time plot isn’t happening and things are just mashing into each other, the movie is pretty fun. Arnold is as charming as ever; in fact, he’s actually the most human character in the movie. While that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the cast, it at least makes a third of the movie a good time.
This is my big problem with Genisys. When it’s trying to be a big, dumb, robot action movie, it works. But then it tries to be a sci-fi mind bender, and strains the audience to think about paradoxes, alternate timelines and becomes a convoluted mess. It’s not that I don’t “get it”, it’s just that it doesn’t make any sense, and is really boring. Back to the Future can talk all about time travel jargon, because Doc Brown and Marty are such fun characters to watch. But Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor have absolutely no chemistry in this movie, so when they talk about time travel, I struggle to stay awake.
After seeing all of the films in the Terminator franchise, I can confirm that Genisys is not the worst entry in the franchise. Arnold is able to carry the very heavy weight of the movie on his massive shoulders, but just barely. The rest of the cast collapses beneath a weak script, and lazy direction.
Quick Review: Terminator Genisys continues in the tradition of Terminator sequels that get bigger, louder, and harder to follow.