Hm, let's see..."The best Terminator since T2: Judgment Day"...so this statement on the DVD box basically tells us that this is another Terminator movie, and it should be better than T3 and T4. But don't expect it to be as good as T2. But if it's not as good as T2, then that of course means that it's more like T3 and T4? And bingo. :D
So, let's analyze different elements of the movie, and think what went wrong and how things should have been.
But before we start, let's take a quick look at the history of the Terminator movies.
The original movies were largely built around the concept of the heroes running away from a single "evil terminator". The first movies were a combination of action and "run away" style survival horror, with sci-fi elements.
In the very first Terminator movie the terminator was an unstoppable mechanical horror machine, relentlessly hunting Sarah Connor and her protector Kyle Reese; the whole movie was based around the concept of two humans trying to escape from a single model T-800 terminator.
In the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day we met a good terminator, also a model T-800, but this time re-programmed to protect John Connor from the nearly indestructible liquid metal T-1000. But against this new foe even the T-800 had no other option than to run away, and so in T2 we had pretty much the same concept and scenario than in the first film: the heroes run away from an unstoppable killer machine. And both T1 and T2 were huge successes.
But after the second movie, well...In Terminator 3 surely the potential was there for another blockbuster film. It used the same hunter-prey concept as the previous two films. But the T-X wasn't so scary as the evil terminators in the previous films, mainly thanks to the movie design being more like an action comedy rather the dark and serious style seen in T1 and T2. And then Terminator 4 abandoned the whole hunter-prey concept and therefore many fans thought that it wasn't even a terminator movie in the real sense, just meaningless sci-fi action.
So after taking a look at the previous films, two good ones and two average ones, it should be clear that in order to make a successful Terminator movie, you have to make sure that the Terminator is something that the audience fears. This is the most important thing. Everything else is secondary. T1 and T2 succeeded in this. T3 and T4 failed.
1. Meet the evil terminators of Genisys: T-800, T-1000 and T-3000
And so I hoped that Terminator Genisys would return to this original concept: have a scary "evil terminator" that hunts the main characters through the entire movie, and build the movie around this good old concept.
But instead we get this: first an evil T-800 basically gets destroyed in the first action scene of the movie. Then T-1000 appears, but it too is quite soon destroyed in some cheap "acid shower trap". OK.
I bet that is what we all wanted to see, right? Both T-800 and T-1000 destroyed in 5 minutes? I understand that they meant this to be a homage to the original movies...and I could accept this, but only if the new T-3000 would have turned out to be something great. Which it didn't.
So after dealing with T-800 and T-1000 our heroes make a time jump to the future, where they eventually meet the new terminator model, the T-3000.
The T-3000 is made out of nanomachines, which give it regenerative and shape shifting abilities (much like the abilities of the T-1000). Also the T-3000 looks like John Connor, and in fact is (theoretically) John Connor, because Skynet turned John into a bad guy and send him back to the past.
And this is where the movie fails: the T-3000 is a massive dissapointment. It is lame and not scary at all. In fact it doesn't feel like a terminator at all.
The main problem with the T-3000 is this: he breaks the whole "terminator concept" simply by being "too human". He smiles, yells, and shows emotions. He chats with the main characters, telling his evil plans to them like all other stupid movie villains do. He tries to negotiate a deal with Kyle and Sarah and argues with them. This is all something that a "classic terminator" would never do.
The idea to make John Connor the T-3000 was a brave move, but also it destroys the movie, because now the T-3000 had to act like a human, causing the movie to lack a classic inhuman "terminator machine" as the main adversary.
In comparison, take a look at the T-1000 in T2. It never showed any emotions and talked only when the mission required it. The T-1000 never got angry or told his plans to anyone. And in fact neither did the T-800...even the good version only spoke when necessary.
The T-3000 in Genisys is not a real terminator at all. It doesn't feel like the cold machine that we were hoping to see. It's not scary. There is no sense of danger. Every time the heroes meet the T-3000, they start a chat with it. It talks bullshit all the time, even during battle. It's like some tasteless cyborg android villain from some strange James Bond/X-Men crossover movie that was never released.
Also all the T-3000 action scenes are lame and cheap when compared to the T-1000 action scenes in the good old Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Even the car chases are shorter and less interesting. I guess that a minigun could have saved at least a few minutes of the movie, but that too is missing for some reason.
And T-3000 is made out of nanobots, but he rarely uses them in any meaningful way, except to magically re-appear after being blasted to dust by explosives. They say that the nanobot effects were painfully slow to animate, maybe that's why. And even when the nanobot special effects are used, they still fail to impress. Basically the T-3000 just changes it's form to a cloud of small dots and then changes back to solid again. What is this? Molecular man?
The old liquid metal T-1000 effects in T2 looked better, worked better (especially in the fight scenes), and above all they were used in a more imaginative way than the nanobot effects of the T-3000. In fact I wonder why didn't they just go with the liquid metal idea? Why introduce the nanobots at all? I'm sure everyone would have liked to see more of the T-1000, now that we have modern computers to calculate all those liquid metal effects? So instead of T-3000 they could have just made an advanced version of T-1000. And name it T-1200 or something.
Without any doubt the T-3000 is the worst "evil terminator" in terminator history. It's a degenerate, nanobot-transformers-terminator. And worst of all it's not scary at all. It's just like any human villain from any random movie out there, only made out of nanobots. With T-3000 the whole "killer machine" terminator concept of the original two movies has been trashed, and replaced by a generic cyborg villain, that acts like a human instead of a machine. Bad guys like this belong to superhero movies like Spiderman and Fantastic Four.
Even the T-X felt more like a real terminator. In fact, after seeing the T-3000, I think Kristanna Loken should have won an Oscar for her role as the T-X in Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines. :D
2. Time Travel
Aside from the T-3000, the rest of the story is almost OK: We again go back to the past but things are different this time; Kyle Reese finds a different version of Sarah Connor, and in this timeline she met the good Terminator early in her childhood, and so on.
But to make things more complicated, there is also a "meet your younger self" time pardox sub-plot thing going on, and the movie tries it's best to explain all of this: "nexus points", multiple timelines, and other techno talk.
And this is the second mistake of the movie; too much focus on time travel. The whole subject of time travel is "poisonous", it's speculative and theoretical science stuff, and in an action movie like this you shouldn't focus too much on it.
In the first two Terminator films time travel was simply a way to get the "terminators" into the movie; "they are machines from the future, and were built by Skynet". And back then this simple concept worked well, the stage was set for the story of T1 and T2, and two great movies were made.
The time travel element should stay in the background. There is no need for paradoxes where someone meets an older or younger version of him/herself, or worse, gets "vision missions" and then HAS to meet an younger/older version of someone in order to say some words to them in order to manipulate the future or past. This kind of stuff happens in movies like "Back To The Future" and should stay there.
Terminator should be all about THE TERMINATOR: you fight it, you run from it, and hide from it. Time travel and science stuff have always been part of the story, but they are of secondary importance.
So, what can I say? Movie sucks.
Why? T-3000 sucks. And almost total abscence of the traditional hunter-prey concept of the original Terminator movies.
And look at the DVD box again: it says "Genisys". But in the movie we are told many times that "Genisys is Skynet". Get it? Skynet wins. Run away and don't look back. :D
The actors are good, movie budget is massive, but the script and general design that are wrong.
This is average sci-fi action. :(
In the ammo bunker fight scene Sarah Connor uses a grenade launcher to shoot a wall that is less than 2 meters away, and she survives the explosion unharmed.
Fun Fact 2:
After this Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor run from the exploding ammo bunker and meet Arnold in the exit tunnel. On the other end of the tunnel you can see random people and a bicyclist riding by as if nothing special is happening.
Fun Fact 3:
In the helicopter chase scene Sarah shoots at the T-3000's helicopter, scoring a direct hit to the cockpit with the grenade launcher. But the helicopter survives this and an earlier gas truck explosion without any serious damage and stays airborne. Only when Arnold jumps out and crashes into it, then it falls like a rock. :D