Which Terminator Movie Killed the Franchise?

It’s not terribly surprising to realize that the debate over which Terminator movie was the worst and which one caused the decline is still going, but it’s kind of interesting to note that part three, Rise of the Machines, isn’t mentioned that often. Maybe the third movie is thought to move along a more natural path as John Connor is still a main focus of the movie and helps to move things forward. The argument that there’s a serious lack of continuity in the movies is kind of a nonsense argument to start with since, from the first movie forward, it’s fair to think that things were shifting and that the continuity wasn’t going to be a factor that was wise to contemplate. But as the movies continued onward, it was easy to see how everything was going to get ripped up and redone over and over since disrupting the timelines by stalling Skynet, not necessarily destroying it, and forcing the AI to take a different route toward destroying and enslaving the human race had to be accomplished in a different manner. Therefore, the AI sent the T-1000 in the second movie, and the terminators just kept getting more advanced from that point on. Obviously, a stealthy approach wasn’t a part of Skynet’s program. 

Go See Terminator Genisys—Then Promptly Forget About It | WIRED

credit: Terminator: Genisys

Salvation showed a gritty, grimy future that felt more in line with the general idea of the story. 

Despite all the negative criticism that flooded this movie, the story was a lot more akin to something that people might have been expecting when it came to showing the future and what was bound to happen. Sam Worthington’s turn as a terminator was interesting since it was so downplayed and hidden that a lot of people might have felt that it was a poor joke. But an infiltration terminator sounds like a great idea since a human being that is essentially a terminator without knowing it would be the perfect spy. Not only that, but there were a few other elements to this movie that were actually kind of nice to see, such as the aquatic machines that looked absolutely lethal and the fact that the resistance kind of screwed itself over at one point. 

Genisys definitely swung for the fences, but it missed by a wide margin. 

This movie felt a little ambitious since it not only retconned the story of Kyle Reese, it also gave Sarah Connor her own terminator as a protector, which allowed her to grow up into a badass that much sooner. This might have deviated a bit from the initial story, but it could have been intriguing had it not stretched so far without any chance of coming back. Making John Connor, the eventual villain definitely soured the idea for a lot of people since Connor was supposed to be the savior that led the war against the machines, not the guy who was taken over by them. It’s true the terminator did change over the years, and turning the leader of the resistance into the enemy was daring, but it doesn’t feel as though it worked that well. This feels as though it’s where the wheels really started to come off. 

Movie Review: 'Terminator: Dark Fate'

credit: Terminator: Dark Fate

Dark Fate practically came with its own special virtue signal. 

Coming during a particularly strong surge in the woke era of Hollywood, Dark Fate made the unfortunate decision to revive John Connor and then dump him only a few minutes into the movie as his death gave way to a new AI and a new hero, or heroine. That might not have been that bad, but creating an augmented woman warrior who had little but disdain for pretty much everyone and then bringing back Sarah Connor only to make her as ineffective as possible, was one of the worst decisions ever made in this franchise. The idea might have been great had it not been laced with a ton of virtue signaling, not to mention that keeping John Connor would have made for a team-up that would have created an even stronger presence for this movie. As it is, the feature was little more than a chance for girl power to shine, which it kind of didn’t. 

When all is said and done, the world as people know it is bound to end in the Terminator franchise, that’s the only constant. 

Really, all the movies had to do was convey the fact that judgment day was inevitable and find a way to survive it and rally enough people to their cause. The understanding is that trying to dampen or eradicate the effects of such a day would be natural, but it was going to happen at some point since the avarice of humanity is a little too volatile at times. But instead of leaning into the inevitable, the movies ended up fighting against the tide until the legs gave out, and now we’re left with the broken thing that floated downstream. 

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