Arnie is indeed back, in this fifth cinematic rendition of the time-travelling travails of Sarah Connor and her revolutionary leader son, John. Terminator Genisys begins in a future where the machines of Skynet have devastated the planet and humankind. John Connor (now played by Jason Clarke, an Aussie actor who conquered Hollywood in Zero Dark Thirty and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) sends one of his acolytes back to 1984 to protect his mother, so that Connor’s own existence is guaranteed.
This may be merely a variation on the theme of previous Terminators, but there’s nothing like time travel to allow you to change the course of previous plotlines – in turn, handing you the shovel to fill in any potential plot-holes.
British actress Emilia Clarke (because you’ve got to have a GoT actor in your movie nowadays) is perfectly cast as a young Linda Hamilton, slightly softer but equally handy with huge weaponry. And there is a certain thrill in seeing the ex-Governator back in the leather jacket, playing several ages of T-800. The exhilarating abilities of the liquid metal of T2 (still, no question, the best movie of the franchise) get an upgrade to 2017, while beloved tropes like the shape-shifting and regeneration are all present and accounted for.
Terminator Genisys is pure entertainment on a massive budget, with awesome special effects and a comforting cameo from Whiplash’s J. K. Simmons. If you’re satisfied with that, it’s a sequel worth making the time for.