This is one of those arguments that might make you pinch the bridge of your nose as you feel that headache coming on thanks to those that think that the Terminator franchise should keep going after Dark Fate and those that thought it should have ended after T2. Had the franchise stopped after Judgment Day things might have been easier since Skynet’s birthplace was more or less destroyed, the items that had sustained its existence were melted, but there were still enough questions to keep people guessing. Sometimes that’s what should happen though, the guessing game should be allowed to remain as the legacy of the franchise if only because it doesn’t tend to muddy up the whole thing when it’s finally explored and fleshed out in all its less than impressive detail. We can break it down as the franchise went off the rails pretty easily, so that’s what we’ll do. Ben Kuchera of Polygon has a few things to say about this as well.
T3: Rise of the Machines
There was another new terminator on the block and she, yes she, was actually pretty impressive. I can’t really, with a straight face anyway, say that the actress was all that good, but the capabilities of the terminator were interesting since she was another upgrade. The poor T-800 has been outclassed since the second movie and watching him trying to take on superior terminators has always been enough to challenge the idea that he’s still that great. But eliminating Sarah Connor and cooking up an illness story, and then bringing to bear the idea that John’s wife was the one that sent Arnold back, was kind of a sign that things were changing just a bit. The feminist agenda hadn’t hit the Terminator franchise full force yet, but it was definitely there.
Christian Bale wasn’t the worst representation of John Connor but he did go a little over the top. Plus, by this point the machines were starting to look like what might have happened if Zack Snyder had gotten hold of the Transformers franchise, and they were including multiple steps that led to human annihilation rather than just sending wave after wave of terminators after them in an attempt to win the war. The idea of using a terminator as an infiltrator wasn’t a new one, but using a machine that was still part human obviously gave rise to the idea in Dark Fate since Marcus had no idea that he was mostly machine and though he was completely human. But where this one really went off the rails is that Connor was stabbed through the heart, and despite the fact that the Resistance had medics, a complicated heart transplant should have been something that was a little beyond their capabilities. Plus, how long could a human really survive after being impaled in such a way? My money says not nearly long enough to do any good.
There are just so many things to say about this movie. If T3 was intent on bringing in a feminist angle then this movie was starting that discussion up again since the whole idea that Sarah Connor didn’t need a man to help or protect her was kind of muddied considering that she relied on Pops and seemed to forget that her son was supposed to be the savior of the human race. And if you know simple biology then you’d know that it takes two to make a kid, and like it or not, one of the two needs to be male. Plus, the continuity errors at this point were being called out left and right, despite the fact that as the story changed so too did the timeline since it’s been seen in movies if you change one thing you’ve got to change nearly everything. And making John Connor into the bad guy was another shift we should have seen as a sign of the times.
Terminator: Dark Fate
And here we are, full circle for now and at an idea that should have been left alone before it ever reached the public ear. Some people will no doubt argue for it, others might vilify it until the movie is no longer relevant, in the next few months basically, but the thing is that if Cameron was really wanting to see his creation blossom into something greater, then he should have stepped in and done something. Killing John Connor was one of the worst mistakes, but the whole ‘future is female’ vibe that was felt left a bad taste in a lot of mouths since while it’s great to see women step up and be the hero (it is honestly) it’s also something that can be easily overdone in a way that is irritating rather than intimidating. If this movie suffered from anything it’s the idea that it could come out and top T2 in any way, since it failed miserably. Dani Di Placido of Forbes has more to say on this matter.
What’s wrong with stopping a story and letting people guess what happens every once in a while?