Increasingly, movie reviews from movie critics from 'leading' movie news websites such as Collider, Variety, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, etc., have been at odds with reviews for the same movies from audiences on review aggregator sites (Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, and such). With Terminator: Dark Fate, critics claim it to be the best sequel in the franchise since Terminator 2: Judgment Day while citing it as the franchise's version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The truth is, however, that as a Terminator movie Terminator: Dark Fate is a soulless and recycled bastardization of the franchise, while as an action movie it is just simply underwhelming and generic.
Terminator: Genisys attempted to reboot the franchise by resetting it, they attempted to achieve this by having the events of the first two (and thus all subsequent) movies having never have transpired and juxtaposing their own narrative in their place. This didn't work, either logically or narratively, and it upset general audiences and fans of the franchise. With Terminator: Dark Fate they have done it again. While the events of the first two movies do remain intact this time around, the opening scene of the movie makes them completely irrelevant to the rest of the story in this movie.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton's return have been praised and while I will agree their performances are the highlight of this movie, the harsh truth is that the T-800 and Sarah Connor don't actually need to be in this movie. The story of this movie centers around Dani Ramos (Natalie Reyes) being protected by Grace (MacKenzie Davis) from termination at the hands of the Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna). By the movie's end (SPOILERS), Grace sacrifices herself and Dani discovers a hidden inner strength, destroying the reportedly indestructible Rev-9. All the T-800 (named Carl) and Sarah's presence achieves, and the iteration of the franchise they are remnants from, actually confuse and convolute the story being told in Terminator: Dark Fate.
Terminator: Dark Fate is trying to reboot the franchise, but has the same issue inherent in other failed reboots, in that it lacks the soul of the original movies. In Grace's future war memories (yes, like those Kyle Reese experienced in The Terminator) we see a future where humans have futuristic flying machines and are capable of creating Human-Terminator hybrids. This flies against the future War James Cameron created, which (like Aliens) was inspired by the American-Vietnam War, with a technological superpower being defeated by a technologically inferior enemy. This future war, as seen sparingly in The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, fans have been waiting 35 years for, but what we see in Terminator: Dark Fate, especially were Grace fights against multiple Rev-9's, feels more reminiscent of Edge of Tomorrow (AKA Live, Die, Repeat) than the future war fans want.
Despite many references, callbacks, winks, and nods to the first two movies, and the recycling of elements from the three movies they claim to retcon out of continuity, Terminator: Dark Fate never actually feels like a Terminator movie, instead, feeling more like a straight to DVD rip-off. 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the actual sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, despite its self-parody and the occasional continuity error, did feel like a Terminator movie and also fixed the narrative 'inconsistencies' of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, of which Terminator: Dark Fate does not even mention.
Remember how in 2013 SEGA and Gearbox Software heavily marketed Aliens: Colonial Marines as being the 'canon' sequel to James Cameron's movie Aliens, but following the outcry that the game was unfinished and falsely advertised the games canonicity was promptly rescinded. Prior to its release, Terminator: Dark Fate has been marketed as the 'new' Terminator 3, with fans and audiences expected to praise the (partial) return of James Cameron to the franchise he created. While critics may have you believe this movie is the best since Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the truth is that their interests (such as interviews, exclusives, set visits, etc.) colors their bias when it comes to reporting and reviews. This is why the reviews of movie critics don't correlate with those of audiences. Audiences aren't plying studios with favorable reviews in the hope of recompense, they are just giving their opinion on a movie they spent/wasted money on to watch (whereas usually, critics get free tickets).
Terminator: Genisys was a terrible and convoluted movie, but it felt like a Terminator movie, and while it did urinate on the mythology of the franchise it also paid reverence to it, as evidenced by its rendition of the future set time travel scenes which were originally intended to be in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Conversely Terminator: Dark Fate does the opposite; it may keep the first two movies as canon to its narrative but it then defecates on them and offers a recycled, unimaginative, and emotionally empty imitation in their place.
Early in its marketing Terminator: Dark Fate aligned itself alongside other recent misandric movies with its first official poster and director Tim Miller's polarizing comments. This continues within the movie with Dani Ramos challenging the Star Wars sequel trilogy's Rey as the new Mary Sue, and the needless emasculation and placating of the T-800. With more honest reviews coming from small sites like this (and The Terminator Fans) and from the chorus of YouTube commentators, I fear it is only a matter of time before Tim Miller, James Cameron and/or Paramount Pictures use faux-feminine social politics as a shield against criticism.
In summary, the truth is that all of the previous sequels to Terminator 2: Judgment Day (even Terminator: Genisys) are more deserving as sequels. Terminator: Dark Fate's recycling of elements from these allegedly disregarded sequels is so unimaginatively executed that it makes The Predator's use of the same practice look creative. The T-X was more threatening, Marcus Wright was a more believable protagonist, and Genisys made more sense as a Skynet successor than Legion. Finally, I doubt any fans of Terminator 2: Judgment Day (of which there are many) will be able to forgive and move past the movie's opening scene.
Terminator 6: Dark Fate November 1st, 2019
More about Terminator 6: Dark Fate (movie)
Official plot synopsis for Terminator 6: Dark Fate has yet to be revealed.
Directed by Tim Miller, Terminator 6: Dark Fate's release date is November 1st, 2019.
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