When the idea for The Terminator came to James Cameron, no one could guess the apocalyptic thriller would not only make stars out of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and Cameron himself, it would become a cult favorite that launched a wildly popular franchise that still holds up nearly 40 years later. It includes not only films but also a short-lived spinoff TV series and several video games as well.
Set in a dangerous universe populated by cyborgs and assassins, The Terminator saga tends to unfold more like horror flicks than sci-fi. Throughout the six films that make up the series, Schwarzenegger’s titular villain has morphed into a hero, among other changes to keep the films moving forward without growing stale. However, The Terminator franchise remains a big draw to audiences whenever a new one pops up. Unsurprisingly, this means that the fans over on Letterboxd are more than happy to share their ratings when it comes to the films as a whole.
Terminator: Genisys (2.3)
Alan Taylor’s 2015 reboot of the series sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to rescue Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). But once he finds her, Kyle discovers that not only has Sarah teamed up with the original Terminator (now a Guardian), she can take care of herself.
Generally, Letterboxd users found this entry to be a mess. The timeline was convoluted – which is left to Sarah and Kyle to iron out to the audience’s dread. At its best the plot is flimsy, and the lack of chemistry between leads Clarke and Courtney fails to recapture the magic of the original film.
Terminator: Salvation (2.5)
2009’s fourth Terminator installment is exactly what fans were looking for until they got it: a post-apocalyptic universe chronicling adult John Connor’s (Christian Bale) journey into the future. Unfortunately, what could have served as a pivotal rebirth in the series ultimately fell flat. With a cast touting Bale, Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Sam Worthington, Salvation had all the elements to return the Terminator to the roots that made it a hit. However, fans were underwhelmed by Bale’s stoic performance, the tension that carried earlier films was absent, and the cyborgs breathed more life on the screen than the lifeless script.