Terminator: Dark Fate
The new Terminator movie is an action-packed, adrenaline-filled movie that feels like the true sequel after 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day instead of the lackluster part 3, 4, and 5 fans were saddled with over the years. However, it’s quite different than Terminator movies you’ve seen.
Major Spoilers ahead!
First, there’s a reason this movie feels like the 3rd film of the franchise instead of the 6th. Much like last year’s Halloween decided to pretend that any film in that franchise, after the original part 1, never happened, this Terminator pretends Terminator 3-5 don’t exist.
If you weren’t a fan of the altered timeline in the new JJ Abrams’ Star Trek movies, you may want to steer clear of this new Terminator movie. Much has changed. However, it makes a cool kind of sense due to the events of part 2. Sarah and John stopped Judgement Day, they stopped Skynet.
So, there is no more Skynet. Instead, there’s Legion.
John Connor isn’t the savior of the future. Instead, there’s Dani Ramos, played by Natalia Reyes.
The liquid terminators aren’t silver metal, they’re black metal.
The odd half-Terminator/half-human thing that Sam Worthington played in part 4? Gone. Even though, from the previews, I feared that was what Mackenzie Davis was playing. Luckily, it isn’t. Quite frankly, whatever Worthington was meant to be was just confusing.
The mythos and lore of the Terminator world is completely different, forever changed by the Connors. As a long time fan, I think it’s appropriate to give the characters we’ve all been watching since 1984’s Terminator get a win and keep it. With all the time-hopping, future-changing plot-lines in the Terminator franchise, it’d be easy to erase everything they’ve done as if it never happened and never mattered. Instead, they keep their win. Unfortunately, humanity continues developing militaristic AI, in the for of Legion, that still decides to destroy all humans.
Another big difference is that nearly every main character who isn’t a villain is female. Throughout the 80’s, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone seemingly battled to see who could make the most testosterone-filled movie franchise. Even though Linda Hamilton was always badass in the movies, specifically in part 2, Terminator has always been considered one of Arnold’s biggest testosterone-injected flicks. Who would have thought that an Arnold franchise could become predominantly female-led? Even Linda Hamilton once sarcastically says that she assumes Dani is being chased because “she’ll give birth to the one man that can stop the Terminators” instead of assuming the leader of the resistance could be Dani herself.
That being said, one final major change: Arnold is only in the 2nd half of the movie. This really is Linda’s movie, not his.
Regardless how you feel about gender-swapping roles, that isn’t what’s going on here. Remember, Linda started the franchise along with Arnold. The plot makes perfect sense and was a welcome improvement after the last few installments. After all, part 5 turned John into a bad guy. If that isn’t a franchise-killer, I don’t know what is.
Although you see where Arnold is going to come into the movie from a mile away, it fits that his particular character doesn’t show up immediately. He isn’t who or what you expect though. As a franchise that tends to repeat itself with similar plot devices, audiences couldn’t expect a “good Terminator of the Arnold model” to be sent back once again. That would be too repetitive. No, this one has lived on earth for decades with no mission other than to be human. The “why” for that is both awesome and sad.
He isn’t the evil Terminator from part 1. That one melted. He isn’t the Terminator from part 2 that everyone loved. That one also melted. Repeating plot devices, remember? No, this one is a Terminator we’ve never seen before this movie, and there’s an amazing reason he no longer has a mission. That reason will leave some long-time fans angry or disappointed. However, it paves the way for new stories in the Terminator world.
Speaking of the recurring plot devices, this movie does have some similarities to the first two Terminator movies. In part 1, an unstoppable robot from the future chases the protagonists throughout the movie until they end up at a factory, where the robot gets melted. Part 2, same plot. Part 3, same plot, except for the end, which was really that movie’s only redeemable quality. This 6th movie, aka the new part 3, has the same plot. Again.
However, written by franchise starter James Cameron and directed by Deadpool director Tim Miller, the movie is no less exciting to watch. The chase is non-stop and always edge of your seat. The end, though now a Terminator cliché, was a good ending and, possibly, a beginning to a new Terminator mythos.
Terminator: Dark Fate – Not Your Father’s Terminator Franchise
- Writing - 8.8/108.8/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Acting - 9.2/109.2/10
- Music - 9.4/109.4/10
- Production - 9.5/109.5/10
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