After writing the Genisys review I thought that just for fun, let's also do a comparison between Terminator Genisys and Terminator 3 : Rise of the Machines. Because I just re-watched T3 again to remind myself what happened in it, and to my surprise the movie rocked. :D
And also I thought that maybe it's unfair to compare Genisys with T1 and T2, which are widely regarded as some of the best movies ever made. So let's compare it with T3 then.
Now, I've just realized this: Terminator 3 is totally badass and full of good action from start to finish. Although sure it's a sort of a parody version of T2 Judgment Day, and many scenes just make you laugh. But I guess that this was also the goal: T3 is written to be more of an action/comedy movie rather than a action/survival horror movie. It's meant to be serious and funny at the same time. But regardless of this the movie itself is great. And it's only now, after seeing the two classic terminators that came before it, and the two "modern" terminators that came after it, that I realize how good Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines actually is.
T-X : The Terminatrix
Terminator 3 surely has it's flaws, but at least it feels like a real terminator movie. Most importantly the main adversary T-X feels like a real terminator machine. It's clearly a real threat and danger to everyone. T-X wastes no time. It never stops for a chat. It's very business-like, and acts just like a machine would act. It has a pre-programmed kill list. When contact with the main target is temporarily lost, T-X immediately proceeds to eliminate secondary targets in the list. It has a clear and efficent workflow. This is exactly how a machine made by Skynet would operate.
In T3 all encounters between the T-X and the heroes are believable. For the human heroes, just being in the same room with the T-X is dangerous. Being made of living metal and mimetic polyalloy combined with nanomachines, the T-X has very high damage resistance, rapid regeneration and mimic abilities similar to the T-1000, and superior strength to all previous terminator models. Also the T-X has a variety of in-built weapons, including energy gun, flamethrower and a hand chainsaw. The heroes don't stand a chance in open combat, and so they run away. This is the classic terminator scenario.
Although capable of taking almost any form, the default appearance of the T-X is a "woman in the red dress", with the looks of a beautiful fashion model. This too makes perfect sense, because in this timeline the target John Connor is a young, single man. By having an appearance like this T-X maximizes the chances that John lets his guard down when she finds him, increasing the chances of successful termination. Also by looking as sexy as possible, the chances of infiltrating important male run organizations, such as military bases, are vastly increased. Although the movie doesn't show us how T-X got a job in the military base, but I bet that most army generals couldn't resist the temptation to hire a perfect "sex machine" as their personal secretary. :)
Also the T-X is capable of hacking and remote controlling other machines, electronic equipment and vehicles. In T3 we have great car chase where T-X drives a truck AND simultaneously remote controls several police cars and ambulances, while also fighting the T-101, all at the same time. This is a great car chase scene, not just because of the massive destruction and mayhem that is going on, but because it shows us the multi-tasking abilities of T-X; futuristic combat AI running on a super powerful future CPU.
Even the good terminator T-101 tries to avoid direct close range combat with the T-X, knowing that the odds are against him. But ultimately the T-101 is forced to enter in a one-on-one fight with the T-X. And the final fight between the two terminators has a logical and believable outcome: the older model T-101 is nearly destroyed, after which T-X injects it with a computer virus. Later in the final scene only a miniature nuclear explosion from one of T-101 fuel cells finally destroys the T-X.
T-3000 : The Talkinator
Now let's compare all this with Terminator Genisys and T-3000. Almost every T-3000 fight scene begins with a "talking session". The T-3000 lacks the "aura of death" that all other terminators before it had. The heroes can safely be in the same room with it, talking trash with it. And to make things worse, with just one punch from some home-made magnetic glove a normal human like Kyle Reese can knock it out. Even the magnetic medical equipment in the hospital scene was enough cause serious troubles to the T-3000. He just simply doesn't feel threatening at all.
The bus chase scene in Genisys is very short and totally pales in comparison to the truck chase scene in T3. The T-3000 can catch the bus easily, but then somehow has great difficulties in getting inside it, despite having super strength and nanobot cloud abilities. And when he finally gets inside the bus, Kyle Reese hits him once with the home-made "magnetic glove", and somehow that's enough to knock out the T-3000. After this the heroes get arrested, are taken to the police station, and "Bad Boys" starts to play. WTF? :D
Then T-3000 arrives to the police station, but Arnold just throws him into a wall, and there he apparently stays unconscious while all this happens: the heroes escape the interrogation rooms, Sarah has a conversation with the younger version of Kyle Reese (who just somehow happened to be at the police station with his parents), and the heroes visit the police station's armory, hang out there for a while and talk with the bald investigator professor guy. And then they go to the helicopter pads on the roof, where T-3000 finally catches up with them, but too late of course. What did the T-3000 do during all this time? Did he just sit on the floor? Was he busy fighting with the police or the T-800? And if so, then why the movie doesn't show us this fight? This is an action movie, right?
And in the final fight between the T-800 and T-3000, the older T-800 model can somehow go toe-to-toe with the T-3000, thanks to the magnetic gloves that he quickly put together in some 5 minutes back in the ammo bunker, using parts from a broken loudspeaker. This is a laughable way to defeat this supposedly most powerful terminator model ever. Finally T-3000 gets the upper hand of course. But then, with T-800 crawling on the floor, instead of finishing the job, T-3000 starts talking bullshit. Why? So that the Kyle and Sarah will have enough time to appear to the scene and save the day. That's why. And guess what happens now? T-3000 starts to talk bullshit with Kyle and Sarah instead, which in turn gives T-800 the chance to grab him and destroy him.
So in other words T-3000 gets destroyed because he wasted too much time talking bullshit. :D
Funny, but I thought that one of Skynet's main directives was to "eliminate human error". So why did it create this T-3000, which acts like a human and wasted at least 5 clear opportunities to kill obvious threats to Skynet's existance, all thanks to trash talk and useless negotiations with them?
And also this is a funny fact: In T3 we are told that the T-X's ability to remote control vehicles and electrical equipment is actually based on nanomachines. And we can assume that the various weapons that T-X can "grow" out it's body are also at least partially based on nanomachines.
So why doesn't the T-3000 in Genisys do anything like this, despite being totally nanobot based? He doesn't remote control anything. He has no in-built weapons, and has to rely on fists and human weapons. Maybe Skynet just forgot to add all these things? But of course forgetting things is something that only humans do. The T-3000 shows a total lack of capabilities when compared to the T-X, or even to the T-1000, which doesn't make any sense.
In addition of being nanobot based the T-3000 supposedly also has higher intelligence than any previous terminator model. But this intelligence only seems to manifest itself as "classic movie villain" trash talk. The T-3000 didn't do a single smart thing in the entire movie.
Even reporting the "false alarm" in the end of the movie was a massive mistake from the T-3000. If he had allowed the police to arrive, they would have arrested Kyle and Sarah again. They would have looked like terrorists with bags full of explosives. And if they resisted arrest then a firefight between the heroes and the police would have been unavoidable. The T-3000 could have then just nanobotted back to his office and drink nano-coffee, while waiting the Genisys timer to reach zero.
Also in Genisys we have this confusing helicopter chase scene where the heroes destroy the T-3000's helicopter that is chasing them, and it falls down, but miraculously somehow crashes to the front door of Genisys headquarters. And so the T-3000 reaches the Genisys HQ first, despite being blown out of the sky. I guess this is because the plot required it...but why? So that T-3000 can talk some more trash to the heroes when they arrive to the lobby, that's why! :D
And this really is what happens in the lobby scene: the heroes shoot at the T-3000, who just runs his mouth while taking bullet hits, and then the T-800 arrives, throws a helicopter blade at the T-3000, which impales him and leaves him stuck to the wall. And despite having the ability to transform into a nanocloud that can easily go through solid matter, the T-3000 stays stuck on the wall forever. And the heroes just walk past him, and walk around the building, talking casually as they go. There is no sense of urgency or hurry, no fear that the T-3000 might come after them. They all just walk instead of running, despite the Genisys timer speeding up, giving them only some 5 minutes to plant the explosives.
Compare this to the final scene of Terminator 3, where the heroes have to enter a series of security codes to a computer terminal in order to open the door to the nuclear fallout shelter. They are winded up and clearly sound like they're in a hurry, even if they don't even know that T-X is still alive and is coming for them. They know that the "doomsday clock" is ticking, and that is enough to cause panic in the main characters. And then suddenly, a helicopter crashes nose first into the hall, and T-X appears from the flames. And this is not only exciting, but also totally in line with the classic terminator definition: "it doesn't stop until you're dead." . Only the arrival of T-101 saves the heroes; he crashes a SECOND helicopter into that same hall. A final struggle between the T-101 and T-X then follows, and both are destroyed when T-101's fuel cells blow up, causing a miniature nuclear explosion. And this is a 100% believable way to destroy the T-X.
We have NOTHING like this in Terminator Genisys. The final fight of Genisys takes place in a sterile arena, with clean IPhone white walls, with an enemy who suddenly decides to actually use the nano powers that he never used before in the movie, with a lame ending, where the T-800 can hold the T-3000 with one of those stupid magnetic gloves, despite the fact that we were just shown how earlier in the fight the T-3000 could even nano-cloud himself THROUGH Arnold, despite him wearing those stupid magnetic gloves.
Also one thing that bothered me in Genisys was the emptiness of the Genisys headquarters. No guards (expect one at the lobby, killed by the T-3000!), no guard robots, nothing. Just doors and hallways, and holograms of the "Genisys kid", who tries to stop the heroes by...talking bullshit! I mean WTF were the writers of this movie thinking? :D
In comparison in Terminator 3 we have a military base full of tank droids with dual miniguns, and flying drones with missiles. And T-X "hijacked" those droids with her nanomachine powers, causing massive chaos, and the stage was set for the final battle.
But in Genisys, we just have an empty office building with security cameras that project blue trash talking holograms all over the place! Where's all the cool stuff? I mean come on, aren't they going make any toys out of this movie? How are you going to make money? How are you going to live? :D
And yes indeed, our heroes then shoot these bullshit projector cameras as they go on, just to silence the voices! That's some action for you action fans. But also they skip a few cameras, maybe because we all know that, after all, bullshit can't kill you. :/
And to all this BS we then add timelines, a lot of unnecessary "trust issues" dialog between the protagonists, the Bad Boys song, visions, and hints of a sequel with some T-5000 in it (they planned this to be the start of a trilogy, *facepalm* ).
And who called Optimus Prime? No one. But I almost hope that someone did, because we have a truckload of horseshit right here, waiting for pickup. :D
The only good scenes in Genisys are in the beginning of the movie. The new T-1000, for the short time that it was on the screen, is actually great. Those scenes really showed us a glimpse of how the entire movie should have been. The liquid metal T-1000 could have been "the evil terminator" that would follow the heroes throughout the entire movie...it could have easily followed them even to the future. After all, if Arnold could take the "slow route" to the future, then why not the T-1000? And do you really think that "acid trapping" the T-1000 and flushing the remains from the toilet can reliably destroy it? The T-1000 could have just gone to some park, disguise itself as a statue of modern art, and wait 30 years. :D
This way the movie would have had a real "classic terminator" adversary, while still keeping the "evil John Connor" idea intact. Most fight scenes would have been against the T-1000, and the surprise of the "evil John Connor" would not have been revealed until the end of the movie. All philosophical talk between the three heroes and John Connor, and even the Genisys AI, could have taken place at the very end, at Genisys headquarters.
This arrangement would have also allowed a longer and deeper conversation, testing the wits and the resolve of the three protagonists far more than the short "join me - F-you" style short chats that are scattered around the movie. And after this final talk, after the heroes had rejected John Connor's offers to join him, he would have been revealed as the T-3000 and the "final boss" of the movie. And at this final fight the T-3000's personality would instantly turn into the merciless killing machine that a terminator is supposed to be. It would have been like an ON-OFF switch: the nice guy suddenly shuts down and the 100% inhuman machine killer AI takes over. That would have been quite scary in fact.
By making these adjustments to the movie design, the Genisys could have been a good movie. Just put the entire "talk battle" to the end, instead of spreading it to many parts, constantly interrupting the action scenes with talking. This way the biggest problem of the movie, the "trash talking T-3000" could have been avoided.
And also I think that the "Genisys - killer app" idea was good, but unfortunately this wasn't used for anything else than to declare: "Genisys is Skynet". :/
And I'm not blaming any of the actors, I just simply can't accept the T-3000 as a Terminator. Just like a Star Wars fan wouldn't accept a Jedi that would turn into nano-clouds. Or like an Alien fan wouldn't accept an Alien that would talk bullshit all the time. Or like a Predator fan wouldn't accept a Predator that a normal human could knock out with some home-made magnetic glove.
The writers of Terminator Genisys have not understood the true nature of the Terminator.
So in my opinion Terminator 3 : Rise of the Machines is clearly the better movie of these two. T3 has a clear structure, more action, less BS, and a real terminator as the main adversary. It's a solid installment to the series, and stands on it's own.
And if we forget that Terminator Salvation ever even existed, then this sadly means that Terminator Genisys is the weakest movie in the whole series so far. :(
The only good point here is that the "future isn't set". All these mistakes can always be corrected in future films, re-launches and re-makes...and the only explanation needed is : "this is a new timeline". So maybe the time travel element in this franchise isn't such a bad thing at all, now that I think about it. :)