In Defense Of: “Terminator Genisys” (2015)


It’s a bummer when a sequel comes out and it fails to stand tall compared to its cinematic brethren. It’s a familiar tale, one that seems to echo throughout the annals of contemporary cinema – a feeling of déjà vu that has plagued a multitude of popular film franchises that have tried, and often failed, to re-capture the magic of its more successful forebears.

Like many modern hollywood properties, the Terminator series has struggled to maintain the supersonic momentum of its phenomenal debuts, and is a prime example of a franchise that has been held hostage by cinema’s greatest kiss of death: the depressing reality that sequels are a nigh on impossible nut to crack.

Sure, for publishers, sequels are an easy sell. Compared to a brand-new intellectual property, sequels tap into a fanbase that have already been carved out by its previous film/book/video game. For publishers, the hard part has been done. The hearts and minds of fans have been won over, as – for the most part – marketing a product that’s a known quantity vs. marketing a product that’s an unknown quantity, is a hell of a lot easier. It’s just basic business sense, right?

The truth is though, sequels may be an easy business decision, but they’re often exceptionally difficult to pull off with fans and critics alike. You just have to look to the fan backlash against the deluge of modern Hollywood blockbuster sequels like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Alien: Covenant, to witness that.

So, this is where Terminator Genisys comes in, the fifth flick in the iconic sci-fi action franchise. It’s no secret that Genisys received a critical mauling on release (a 38 rating on Metacritic and a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, ouch!) and it’s also not terribly surprising. This is a film so muddled and so unfocused that calling it a wee bit uneven would be kind of an understatement. Truthfully, at its worst, I’d go as far as calling Genisys a borderline train wreck.

But, while you’re scratching your head, wondering why the hell I’ve started like this… well, lend me your ear for a moment: Genisys is actually a pretty good movie – and a marvelously entertaining train wreck. It makes a handful of mistakes, for sure. However, on the whole, it’s actually a super underrated Terminator film.

So, put on your favourite pair of shades and dig out that dusty ol’ leather jacket that’s been sitting in the back of your wardrobe for way too long (don’t worry, it still looks cool), as we’re about to find out why Genisys is actually a pretty damn good movie…