If there’s anyone surprised by the idea that we’re still roasting Terminator: Dark Fate, they either haven’t seen the movie or were one of the few that actually enjoyed it since in all sincerity the story went from being drawn out and kind of lame to ‘wtf did I just watch??’ in a single movie. It’s very true that fans were revved up to see this new installment and perhaps even cheer for the new female lead that looked as though she could kick some serious ass, but upon listening to her talk and coming to find out that the ‘female empowerment’ within the movie was little more than Mackenzie Davis being directed to act like an arrogant jerk that was somehow ignorant of the time period into which she’d been placed made for a hard and thoroughly cringe-worthy watch that was only made worse by the fact that the movie had to kill John Connor to bring this story into play. Seriously, John Connor had a couple of minutes in the beginning of the movie before he was blown away to allow the new narrative a way in, thereby destroying the idea of Skynet, somehow, and giving way to Legion, which was just as inefficient to tell the truth if humans were still able to beat it back. True, Sarah, John, and their companions’ actions in T2 likely gave rise to Legion instead, without anyone trying to revive Skynet, which was eventually revealed to be software, not an actual entity that could be shut down. You know what though? The franchise remains as confused as it was before they decided to scrap Terminator 3 through Genisys, even if going back to the desired story was supposed to fix it.
Looking back at the defense that was thrown up for this movie and its stars it’s kind of hard not to laugh since some folks believed that men actually felt emasculated by Mackenzie Davis’ hard-hitting performance since she was in fact a very tough, augmented woman that was far stronger, quicker, and more durable than many regular people. When it came to fighting a single terminator though she was still outmatched and could have been sliced and diced at any given time, just like any other human being. It’s very true that she put up a much harder fight and could deal some serious damage, but the hype given to the character of Grace didn’t exactly live up to expectations since not only did she need to continually retreat, her design had a serious flaw considering that she could only fight at her heightened levels for so long before needing food, water, or insulin to help her keep going. This aspect of her character alone is something that tends to limit her in a big way, which could be seen as positive for the story since it doesn’t make her the kind of character that can ‘superman’ her way through everything. Still, one can’t help but notice the vast difference in attitude that Grace has been given in the story versus the lack of attitude that Kyle Reese was granted in the first movie, or even in Salvation. Did anyone else notice her smug feeling of superiority to others that was supposedly masked by her sense of duty? Some might call it by another name, but others might go so far as to say that it was a message for the fans that the ‘future is female’ is still a very popular idea given that the savior of humanity in Dark Fate is now a young woman instead of a young man.
In any case, killing John Connor was a serious mistake since not only did it upset a lot of the fan base but it made the point loud and clear that anything and everything that had been done in the first two movies was being negated just as easily as the last three despite the attempts to explain that this was how the story should have gone in the first place. Yes, sure, Sarah Connor should have been granted and even stronger case of PTSD, the T-800 was always fated to become a drapes salesman, and of course, there was always meant to be another savior that wouldn’t be named John Connor because heck, throwing him in for the first couple of movies was just a red herring to get people to think otherwise. Saying that this was a frustrating move on the part of James Cameron is an understatement really since the best thing about the movie was the newest terminator, the Rev-9, which by all accounts should have been able to end the lives of every single person in the cast, ‘Carl’ included since not only could it split itself in two, but if not for some quirk in every terminator’s programming that must read “pause before termination, increase dramatic effect”, the movie would have been over in a quicker and much more decisive fashion. Do you think the Rev-9 would kick back and live the good life after the mission was over?