Terminator Salvation

MV5BMjA5MzE0MTMyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDYwNjAzMg@@._V1__SX1859_SY893_So, it’s a Terminator movie, right? These are basically brilliant studies of predestination versus free will and where humanity exists, set against the backdrop of evil robots bent on making explosions happen. Very much a win-win. The latest entry in the series, Terminator Salvation, made the good decision of ignoring the third movie (without necessarily contradicting it) and the understandable decision of ignoring the recently lamented Sarah Connor Chronicles. With all of the time travel events over the course of the series, pretty much anyone could create a canonical Terminator story these days, saving only that it doesn’t contradict the first two flicks. I still haven’t completely decided how I felt about this one, but I’ll say this in its favor: it made me want to rewatch the originals.

Our setting is some years after Judgment Day. Skynet has broken humanity but not destroyed it. There are still roving bands of civilians, and there is a serious resistance against the machines, and a young man named John Connor has had some solid successes thanks to his mother’s advice and foreknowledge, enough that people see him as at least a mascot and possibly a prophesied savior. And while Connor is preparing to fulfill the destiny that will cause Skynet to try to kill him via Austrian time travel desperation, an unexpected new party, Marcus Wright, shows up with information about the whereabouts of one very necessary Kyle Reese[1] and a decided lack of information about himself, such as where he came from and why he’s a robot. And suddenly our hero is adrift in a sea of questions with no more prophetic answers.

As far as the whole question of where humanity exists, this movie was a champion. I know I just called Connor the hero, and he’s always been half of the hero of the series. But for this movie, and without intending the claim to be a spoiler, Wright was very much the hero. Or, let us say, main character, as that’s equally precise and far less prejudicial. The predestiny part was kind of handwaved but ultimately irrelevant, which makes it hard for me to accept this as a pure Terminator movie; except that the original ignored questions of humanity, so I’ll let it pass. As part of a likely series of sequels, there’s still some time to address all relevant philosophies. So, for explosions and things, yeah, it’s here and Connor is ready to deal with it. But for philosophical discussion, the camera is firmly on Wright from start to finish.[2]

[1] John Connor’s father, thanks to a crazy-ass time loop. But seriously, I’m sure you must already know that.
[2] Well, and on the talented but tragically named Moon Bloodgood.

1 thought on “Terminator Salvation

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