I hate movie sequels that require you know in agonizing detail the entire plot of the earlier movies, even if those movies first aired over 20 years ago. All I remember from the Terminator series is that Arnold was a big bad ass robot who said, “I’ll be back!”
That ought to be enough.
I am sorry I am not up on the latest terminator lore. I am pretty sure I saw Terminator 1 and 2. Moreover, I have been inebriated and said “I’ll be back” in a pseudo Austrian accent more times than I care to admit.
For the first 20 minutes or so, I thought Christian Bale and Sam Worthington were supposed to be the same person from two different timelines. To my credit, I did remember Terminator featured time travel plots. As it turns out, Sam is from the past, but he is a totally different person from Christian, and Sam’s big reveal at the end is totally… unsurprising (and all but given away in the trailer). Despite this, there is a 2-3 minute backstory scene (with spinning newspapers ala 1940s era NEWSFLASH exposition). I would have liked a little more background on the original premise. For the entire movie I could not remember who Kyle Reese was, and why he was younger than John Connor. I had to come home and read the Wiki page before it all came back to me. (Reese was Conner’s father, but was also sent back in time by Conner to protect his mother). When I first heard that at the end of the original, it elicited a satisfying, “Huh, weird.” It’s an inspired little twist, coming at the end like it does. You can mull it over if you like. Or you can forget it, get drunk, and announce, “I’ll be back,” on every trip to the head.
But here is what you shouldn’t do.
You should never use that same little twist as the premise for an entire sequel. If you do, you risk creating a stupendously lame movie, where the entire plot revolves around saving Kyle Reese’s life, despite the fact he has already done his part, since John Conner is already born.
This must be one of the galactic shattering paradoxes that Spock alluded to in Star Trek. If you want to see a much better time travel plot, go see Star Trek.
Watching Star Trek with Holly, I was so happy I literally wept with joy. Wept.