Mike Floorwalker of Looper has a good point when he states that listening to what the critics say about Terminator: Dark Fate might be kind of misleading. At the moment the movie is getting a lot of appreciative nods and as you can imagine this is bound to make a lot of people think about getting their tickets as far in advance as possible. The only problem with this is that even in the best of times critics can’t help but be wrong or just be paid to give something in the neighborhood of a favorable response to a movie. In other words, we’re all hoping that Dark Fate will be great or we just don’t care since T2 was a long time ago and some of us might have even lost a lot of faith in the franchise when the third movie came along. Personally I think each of the movies we’ve seen since T2 have had their fair share of great moments, as watching the different terminators slug it out is usually at least halfway entertaining if not just awesome. The advanced technology that the T-800 has had to contend with throughout the movies is nothing short of amazing, which means that his victories have been jaw-dropping considering that he’s had to sacrifice himself a couple of times in order to make things work. And in Salvation the good-aligned terminator was more spy than combatant, meaning that his eventual defeat would have been final had it not been for John Connor.
But bringing back Linda Hamilton should have been key from the beginning as having her die off screen of disease was kind of a cheap way out, and not having any flashbacks at all was yet another slap in the face to the fans that have helped to keep the idea popular throughout the years. Bringing her back now seems awesome but it also seems patronizing in a way, as well as a way of giving into the ‘savior’ complex. Of course since it’s the women saving the future at this point (kind of a hard statement to miss: the future is female) things seem to be okay from the standpoint of the critics and the fans as Zack Sharf from IndieWire seems to intuit. Don’t get me wrong, I think the turnaround that Sarah did in T2 was awesome, as she went from being the clueless damsel in distress to the badass warrior that was ready to take on just about anyone. It does seem kind of hard to imagine at this point though that the line “I hunt terminators” will be taken seriously no matter that she knows how to fight the machines, knows how to identify them, hopefully, and has a surefire way to combat them no matter what form they might take. Considering that she’s taken on a T-800 and a T-1000 Sarah has seen a good deal of what the terminators can do, but the terminators being represented in this current movie seem a far cry from either of the models that she’s seen as of yet. Of course that’s assuming that Skynet hasn’t sent anything else back in time to try and silence her or her son.
That’s another point of contention that we have yet to fully flesh out, the whereabouts of John Connor. It’s been widely said that Edward Furlong will be coming back, as Ian Sandwell of DigitalSpy and others have said, but so far we really don’t know where he’s at in the movie. Is he going to appear in a flashback? Will he come in at the end of the movie? It’s enough to think that they might have held with the idea that he went off the grid and started to build up the resistance on his own, independent of his mother, but that seems too simple, like a deus ex machina waiting in the wings to bring the story back to start as it was in the beginning. Right now it would seem that the female-driven, don’t deny it, movie is using Arnold’s old terminator persona as backup, and it doesn’t seem as though Sarah is all that happy to see him. But there’s another story we need to discover since if this isn’t using any of the other movies as canon, then where in the heck did this lone terminator, who’s obviously been reprogrammed, come from? Right now there are enough questions that trusting the critics implicitly doesn’t seem like the best idea.
Like always though it’s best to make up your own mind before going off to see the movie since if you’re a Terminator fan then it’s likely that you’ll want to go and see what’s what. If you don’t care all that much then it might be worth it to wait a couple of months until it comes out on streaming, Blu-ray, or even DVD. Trust the critics or not, it’s your decision.