Terminator Genisys (2015)
The rules have been reset.
Be thankful that the world hasn't ended in nuclear fire. Be thankful you don't have methodical killing machines from the future sent back in time to kill you because of your unborn child. Be thankful that you haven't been met with a glaring amount of discontented reviews and insulted outcry from internet critics. Be thankful, for you haven't yet had the necessity to understand a time travel tale so much more complex than you should have had to yet. Or, you know, you could be thankful that there is no fate and I'm bringing you this review, because somewhere deep down, you know you wanted it.
In the future, an AI put in charge of nuclear assets with the intent of protecting people has decided that it doesn't like people - and in the most illogical step towards protecting people from people, decided to nuke them all. The planet is in ruins, people frightened creatures before the might of it's new machine overlord - brought in hordes to work camps to do...some kind of labor or something... before being disposed of. Enter John Connor - the man, the myth, the legend - who seems to know things almost unnaturally, rising up from the ruins of man to lead them against the metallic menace. As they approach the final assault upon their machine enemies, Connor launches another attack on the robot's secret weapon - but during the assault they machines manage to use it. It is then that he must send his right hand man back in time to save his mother from the robot in disguise, and known only by John to also become his father.
Things don't go as planned, however, and as the man is in the process of being whisked through time, he sees John get attacked by a Terminator - some sort of new one. Strange memories come flashing too him - memories that both are and aren't his somehow - before he's dumped back in time to complete his mission. Thing is, everything seems to be off. This Sarah Connor is already a robot-killing lady with a robo-pal, and before he can even meet up with them he's under attack by some super-advanced terminator made of liquid metal. Somehow, Reese has found himself in an alternate timeline than the one he was supposed to go back to - but they don't have time to worry about that as the liquid death bot closes in on it's prey. After a daring fight and victory, new Sarah and confused Reese decide to go back to the future (just not quite as far as he originally came from) to put an end to Skynet before it even begins.
In our final act, confused Reese becomes even more confused. After being arrested as the worst terrorists ever when they appear naked in an explosion in the middle of a freeway, the two end up being taken to a hospital. Here, they meet someone they know - well, specifically Reese knows - John Connor. How did he get here? Easy, he used the machine to go back in time as well, so everything is happy and the three escape to a parking garage - except they really aren't. Here our robo-pal rejoins the party, laying into John with his shotgun. Everyone collectively looses their composure for a minute until John gets back up, and as the trailers ruined for many a fine soul we discover that John is also a machine! Well, sort of. Something to do with things being re-written on a cellular level or nanobots or something - if you blink you miss it. Will the gang be able to survive this brand new super shiny ultra terminator and still find a way to destroy Skynet before it becomes Skynet?
First off, let me get this out there - it's really not as bad as everyone made it out to be. That being said, I would like to immediately follow it up by saying "This is still not the Terminator movie I've been waiting for since I saw the first." Look, going back in time every single movie with a new shiny upgraded terminator to do battle with is neat and all, but since the first movie all I wanted was a "prequel" of sorts - a terminator flick that took place during the war with the machines. Lasers! Explosions! Robot skeletons and guerrilla fighters! To that effect, this movie thought it great to tease me with this in the first act, giving me just enough to know that yes, what I want in a terminator movie would be as awesome as I think it would be - then it promptly rips that away and goes back in time. I don't care how well it's handled from that point out (which is actually pretty well), this isn't the movie I wanted. Still, I won't let that color me too much in my opinion, I just wanted you all to be on my page here.
Effects are phenomenal. Yeah, CG people and robots getting lasered and exploded, liquid metal, nano-whatever-metal, it's all there in abundance, but it's not badly done CG. It's an action movie, and it doesn't try to hide it at all. The new breed of terminator looks pretty rad when it's de-skinned, the old ones still looks as menacing as ever (although move far less janky then stop motion), and it does feel like some level of care was put into things. Costume work is...well... it's modern-ish, so it doesn't leave me a whole lot to comment on really, but the future scenes have some neat little armors and tactical laser fighters and the likes, and if you consider each of the robot's their own little "costume" there's a variety of at least 6 (if you separate skinned Arnold bots from generic skeleton bots).
Actors do a pretty decent job with it - it feels much less hammy than T3 did, at any rate. All considering the amount of moments that feel like total nonsense, pulling off a believable acting job in this is pretty commendable I'd say. Now, it might not feel as silly as 3, but this bad boy does have quite a few "haha" moments in there - a good deal banking around 'Pops' the robo-pal - and those can be sort of hit or miss (yes, the smile was funny the first time but it isn't a fine wine). There's many a nostalgic moment throughout the film (beyond the simple "I'll be back"), and indeed the beginning of the first jump segment actually feels very similar to the original (albeit with all the actors being replaced by someone else). I'm not going to argue over if they are better than the old actors - to each their own on that regard - but it does feel as though the staff on this one actually saw the previous terminator movies (which was a little questionable feeling with the fourth entry).
Surprisingly enough, it's a lot better than most the internet would have me believe. I'm still upset over it not being the movie I wanted (aka the Machine Wars), but it doesn't really feel as though it earned all the flak it's seemingly gotten. The time travel aspect has gotten far more confusing with introductions of alternate timelines and some unanswered questions, but for those looking for an action movie there are certainly far worse options out there to watch. Not too serious, pretty good pacing, and well done effects keep it standing out from being just an average movie - maybe not quite as great as the first or second Terminator film as far as long-standing view-ability, but you won't forget it as quickly as the fourth one.