Terminator Genisys is forming a part of a new wave of Hollywood action films which may just cause me to become a convert. Sure, just like their genre predecessors they predictably give you your explosions, cool swooping helicopter-shot long shots, liquid melting things which are quite menacing, cool effects that make people walk through fires while on fire, people/robots magically healing themselves in front of your eyes because of some cool tech development etc., but this new wave (or what I would like to call a wave by clumping Terminator Genisys together with Mad Max: Fury Road and hoping others will follow to give the genre movement more substance than a small ripple caused by a splash in a paddling pool), does all of that while also being way more in tune with audience members who have a XX chromosome.
Finally. We women get to be portrayed as autonomous bad asses who don't just get fridged. Which is awesome for feminism, and for action films. The whole helpless chick thing was getting kind of boring, to be honest. But it’s not just feminism that gets an appropriate recognition in these new politically conscious-but-still-full-of-awesome-things-blowing-up films. The latest Terminator has Christopher Nolan's concept of heroic fluidity in full swing, the environment gets a little nod (notice how nothing bad happens whenever you can see a tree) and there’s also a not-so-subtle critique of people being super connected to technology and totally switched off from the real world, and more in particular the danger of having all our data harvested by someone else.
Anyway, if you don’t care about that stuff, that’s fine too. There’s also enough romance in there to keep lady friends, or man friends, who got dragged along happy too. At times the film actually totally dropped its 'let's go save the world' objective and felt more like one of those super sweet rom com movies and that the action thing was all just incidental. But then something would explode and it would be all guns blazing again; there's just no time for feelings when things are getting blown up.
It also has that great, I’m-pretty-sure-there’s-a-plot-hole-in-here-somewhere narrative about time travel. How the Terminator Genisys' world of alternate universes works, according to the script writers' logic, gets touched on - but luckily the Terminator’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course) dull and over-informative esoteric-in-order-to-sound-legit explanatory note on that gets cut short by an impatient Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) who just wants to move on with the story.
Oh, and apparently, if you’re going to time travel there’s just no possible way that you can wear clothes or have guns on you. Okay, guns we maybe understand (“it’s like cooking tinfoil in a microwave”), but fabric? Somehow human skin, organs, hair etc. are super special and can manage to go from 1984 to 2017 or whatever, but fabric cannot? Not even wool? Let’s not think about that one too much.
Basically it doesn’t make sense, but it makes for a great set up for Khaleesi (I mean, Sarah Connor) and Kyle Reese (played by Jai Courtney) to have an intimate undressing scene in the locker room and then get to nakedly embrace each other while in said time machine. And look, we’re not complaining, torso quality is high in the film, but for all the other smart and well thought out points in the film that one’s really just a cheap, rookie move to build chemistry between the two leads.
Overall though, it’s a decent movie. How many more times the Terminator will be back is yet to be seen, but with it riding on the back of the well-established box office model but also heading current philosophical shifts, we think it’s a movie that’ll do well. Go in expecting the usual action movie, walk out refreshed.