Terminator: Dark Fate is the first feature film in the long-running franchise since 2015's Terminator: Genisys. Funnily enough, it also represents the shortest gap between the sequels. The movie's premise and sizable returning cast look promising, but fans are still in the dark on several aspects of it. Ultimately, one can never really tell until the release date.
With its theatrical run less than two months away, we thought it'd be the perfect time to point out five reasons we are excited about the upcoming film, and five reasons we are still a worried. After all, no-one likes a pessimist or a cynic, but there's nothing wrong with having some reservations. As long as we go into theaters with our expectations at a reasonable level, it'll be just fine.
10 Excited: Linda Hamilton
The last time Linda Hamilton was involved with the series was 1991's Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The third film killed her off-screen, seemingly dooming any prospects of the character's return. Thanks to retcons, however, she's back and ready to decommission some robots.
Linda vigorously trained for the role to get the same intimidating presence she had in the early 90s. The chance to come back to the franchise must have been quite a thrill for her, and fans are hopeful that all of that will show on screen this November.
9 Worried: That Trailer
Plenty of fantastic movies have had questionable trailers, so one can hardly judge the final product based off an advertisement. Still, these snippets are meant to hype up audiences and get them anticipating the release, and Dark Fate's trailer falls flat in some regards.
It's promising intense Terminator on Terminator action, yes, but other elements (and some of the dialog) just don't feel great. Context is everything, though; perhaps the parts shown in the teaser work when put together with the rest of the film.
8 Excited: Tim Miller
Dark Fate is only Tim Miller's second directorial feature, but he has more than proven his worth as a film-maker. His debut movie was none other than Deadpool, after all. Granted, the two are tonally dissimilar, but he successfully translated an atypical comic book character to film, and that deserves respect.
He also knows how to shoot great action scenes. Fortunately, the new film will have an R-rating, assuring fans that the director will have no boundaries when it comes to how intense the action sequences can be.
7 Worried: Set Pieces
Audiences still don't know how every action scene will go down, but the teasers showcase snippets of (presumably) the stand out set pieces. One in particular seems to go a little too far, however. The sequence in question is the one involving two airplanes.
Maybe it's absurd discussing realism in a franchise about time-traveling robots, but the series' action is so unique because it feels incredibly heavy and grounded, despite how bombastic and ridiculous it can get. The little bit shown in the teaser of this sequence might just be enough to break some fans' suspension of disbelief.
6 Excited: Arnold Schwarzenegger
It feels good to have Arnold back making movies, doesn't it? He's been in some decent films in recent years, like The Expendables 2, but he's had quite a few misses as well. He co-starred in Terminator: Genisys, and is thankfully returning for Dark Fate. It would not feel right if the Austrian movie star didn't have a part in a Terminator film.
His part is that of a T-800, but a different model than in Terminator 2, considering that character's fiery fate. Details are still sparse on his part, but his inclusion in the film automatically gets a lot of people on board.
5 Worried: Digital Effects
Trailers aren't representative of the movie's final look, and this is even more true when it comes to effects. The teams responsible for inputting these into the finished product are still hard at work making them look as good as possible. Still, if the trailer is an indication of how the CGI will appear in the final release, then it is not promising.
It doesn't just look lackluster; some shots are notably poor. It would be a real shame if the movie failed to live up to the high standard set by Terminator 2.
4 Excited: James Cameron Producing
James Cameron left the franchise behind him after Terminator 2 to focus on other projects. He made good use of his time away, with releases like Titanic and Avatar, but eventually, he got pulled back in and is now a producer on Dark Fate.
His work after Terminator 2 is polarizing, but his two films in the franchise are universally beloved, so there's no reason to think he will drive the franchise into the ground now.
3 Worried: It Could Be A Cut Rate Terminator 2
The one problem with the franchise is every film feeling like a remake of the first movie. Terminator 2 worked because of the added characters and the draw of seeing a Terminator fight another, stronger Terminator. Starting with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the concept started seeing diminishing returns.
Dark Fate will have to add more to the mix than a game of cat and mouse to make it feel fresh and exciting. Otherwise, it'll feel like déjà vu and draw unflattering comparisons to one of the best action movies ever made.
2 Excited: But It's Still A Direct Sequel To Terminator 2
The Terminator movies after T2 all had polarizing receptions. At best they are fun thrill rides, but they never lived up to James Cameron's masterpieces. Dark Fate is wiping those three movies from the canon, and is a direct sequel to Judgement Day.
It's even going so far as to include Edward Furlong as John Connor. Some people don't appreciate retcons and feel that a series should always push forward, even through the bad, but it is hard not to get excited for all the returning cast members.
1 Worried: The Last Great Terminator Was Almost Thirty Years Ago
Franchises have been known to come back after long slumps, but the last truly great Terminator film was almost thirty years ago. When something does come back strong after such a long time, it usually happens after a long hiatus.
Blade Runner 2049, for example, was the first sequel to Blade Runner after more than thirty years. The last Terminator was only four years ago. Audiences will find out in November if the franchise should have taken a longer break, or if Dark Fate was exactly the shot in the arm it needed.