I’ve never been a huge fan of the Terminator franchise, but that’s not to say I don’t like it though. The first film is very good, then Judgement Day really made a mark as one of highest rated science fiction adventures. Rise of The Machines was a solid, explosive and worthy addition to the franchise. Terminator Salvation didn’t quite do it for fans or critics, I enjoyed it but it completely ditched the icon that is Arnold Schwarzenegger himself in favour of some average CGI version of him.
Now we’re in 2015 and considering it has been the year of sequels, remakes and reboots, Genisys is yet another big name sequel that pops up amongst series like Jurassic Park, Fast & Furious, Avengers and Mission: Impossible. So how does Terminator Genisys fare against other critically acclaimed franchise sequels?
It is absolutely awesome! I found myself in constant awe, Genisys is ridiculously action packed, surprisingly funny, very engaging and packed with star talent and the man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I didn’t see any of it coming, the trailers were cool enough but they threw in a lot of story and detail, taking away any element of surprise. Hearing opinions from friends and family that were rather average or unimpressed set my expectations at a rather low point but blimey have they been exceeded!
There is so much more going on in this film than I thought both action and story-wise, and despite the messy juggling of timelines both past and future colliding together, the explosive action and character chemistry is more than enough to distract you from the messy time elements.
Director Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, Thor: The Dark World) again proves himself highly capable of constructing stunning action set pieces, visual splendour and vivid worlds. This mix of action and splendour is immediately recognised as John Connor, Kyle Reese and the remaining resistance storm a Skynet base. The slow motion shots are gorgeous and utterly epic, characters look heroic as they run against the backdrop of crashing terminator ships and explosions.
The action is easy to follow, there’s no choppy editing just smooth shots and big action. A lot of people have been saying how the action is bland and rather unforgettable, I find that baffling. The helicopter chase is balls-to-the-wall madness albeit a bit silly, all the shootouts and foot chases are quite thrilling and filled with threat, and in my opinion Terminator Genisys boasts a spectacular set piece and that is the bridge sequence in which a school bus flips high in the air and hangs dangerously over the drop below, as Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese cling on for dear life. Action junkies will more than get their fix here.
Arnold Schwarzenegger returns on fine form as an ageing Terminator, where the human tissue is starting to age as any normal human tissue would. Schwarzenegger nails the humour at every turn, the deadpan delivery still garners huge belly laughs, especially when he first introduces himself to Kyle Reese.
Emilia Clarke is terrific, suitably badass, very convincing and witty as Sarah Connor. She more than holds her own against the main star and it’s easily one of my favourite performances of 2015. Jai Courtney is great too, vastly improving his charisma and dramatic effect since Die Hard 5 and I, Frankenstein. Much like his co-stars, Courtney is funny yet able to sell a man back in time who is very much committed to his mission. Jason Clarke, one of my emerging favourite actors, does a decent job as John Connor, better than Christian Bale’s back in the fourth film but when Clarke switches to the bad guy he becomes slightly hammy and very cliched with his antagonist performance. Genisys has attracted a wonderful cast but wastes the likes of J.K. Simmons, Sandrine Holt and Byung Hun Lee.
All in all, I was taken by surprise with this one. I don't understand all the overwhelming hate because frankly it's just good fun, though the time hopping narrative never works all that well, leading some heavily expositional dialogue. However, the action and visuals are terrific and the performances are fun.