Terminator: Genisys faces an uphill battle to get a sequel after a horrible opening weekend left it with a long slog to hit $100 million domestically. Which is a shame for all the interesting things the story did for the franchise. Judging by the sub-30% score on Rotten Tomatoes, Jimmy Impossible and I may be the only people who enjoyed this movie so we’ll never know how these X questions will be resolved. Jump after the break to see what we’re left wondering.
SPOILER WARNING: THE REST OF THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TERMINATOR: GENISYS.
- Who sent Pops? The timeline presented in Genisys is a drastic change from the last four Terminator movies in that by 1984 Sarah Connor is already part of the war. Kyle Reese is sent back expecting a clueless waitress just like the first film, but instead he finds a battle hardened warrior who’s working with her own personal T-800, Pops, and setting traps for T-1000s and generally kicking ass. It is suggested that the timeline altered when Skynet infected John Connor while Reese was in the time bubble and that’s certainly important. But the timeline we’re shown is more shifted from when a T-1000 was sent to murder Sarah Connor and instead took out her parents back in the 70s. We know Skynet took out all the humans with John at the time machine so Skynet has access to it again–that could easily explain the Sarah mission. But then who sent the T-800 to her?
- How did the original 1997 Judgment Day occur? Yes, this is some time travel wonkiness, but we know from the first two movies that Judgment Day was supposed to take place in 1997. T2 showed that the original Terminator helped that along–the arm and processor from the original T-800 inspired the work that led to 1997 Skynet in T2. Which leaves us wondering how the original 1997 could have taken place before time travel was created? Or was it a causal loop–that Skynet always sent back the seed of its creation just like John always sent back his father? That happens with time travel, but we still don’t know for sure.
- What was Skynet really trying to do in 2017? It’s too simple to say it was bringing itself back into being. Because it was, sure, but it was doing so in an incredibly inefficient way. After all, according to Terminator 3 Skynet was being brought to life by an Internet virus. Obviously that timeline was prevented but since it worked in T3 it seems like the whole Genisys thing was a bit of overkill. The T-1000 that had already infiltrated the SFPD in Genisys’ 1984 already had the ability to reprogram machines (like the T-1000 in Terminator 3) so why didn’t Skynet/John just put out a virus instead of creating a large McGuffin of a server building to house the growing sentience? Was Skynet actually trying to create a better version of itself or change its past somehow?
- Why was Skynet/John trying to create a time machine in 2017? Leaving aside the oddity that an older T-800 can build something in 1984 that Skynet/John can’t in 2017, there’s still a bigger question of why Skynet even needs a time machine when it already went back in time.
- Is JK Simmons the smartest detective on the planet? How did he go from having an encounter with two people and some strange robots to them disappearing for decades to suddenly knowing they were time travellers? There’s about eleventy billion possible answers that make more sense than what he comes to (the movie correct answer), but how is he that smart?