I’ve learned from this film that nothing matters. Everything is inconsequential. From the beginning of the film to the end, nothing of real consequence happened. This isn’t a spoiler, as it made the mistake of revealing “crucial” plot points in its own marketing, some of which were bigger than others (*cough* Robo-John Connor *cough*). The movie tries to bill itself as a rewriting of the series, a “what-if” scenario of the first film. Instead it plays out like a carefully constructed and spliced fan edit of Terminator 1 and 2, characters and all, with the end result appearing not unlike an episode of How It Should Have Ended. It also became really convoluted. As convoluted as time travel logic is in any film, the exposition and jokes made at both the concept and designated protagonist Kyle Reese’s expense flew right over my head, and after a while I started wishing for Schwarzenegger to return to brandishing his catchphrases and mannerisms that the people attached to this film are obligated to show.
Without sounding like a devotee to the first two films, why they worked (and still do) was that although they were structured as long chase scenes, these were motivated and had significant stakes in them due to the nature of the antagonists: nigh-indestructible and terrifying robotic assailants that made triumph over them seem futile. They were a necessity to progress the actions and development of the characters, and, oddly enough for a film, make us care about them and want them to succeed. In Genisys, the action is meaningless and without investment, as you’re simply waiting to get to the inevitable fight at the end, turning Reese into an unintentional audience surrogate because of his consistently tired facial expressions. There is little investment if the end goal is to stop the villainous Skynet system from ever existing when the same thing was attempted on film in 1991, and if anyone knows the ways of Hollywood’s non-existent “hands off the priceless Ming vase” policy, to sum up, this will not be the last attempt made.