We would like to begin by saying that, surprisingly, we loved this movie. This is almost entirely because of the extremely successful casting of Emilia Clarke as the new Sarah Connor, the deft re-introduction of Arnold Schwarzenegger and a loving homage to the original - as well as some seriously funny dialog! Before we begin reviewing the movie, though, we have to talk in some detail as to why it is not included in our timeline.
The premise we have been working with throughout is that once a traveller is sent back in time, we must return to their arrival and redescribe events changed by their appearance. This story fails in that department. It simply cannot happen the way in which is described.
Pops returns to 1973 and events are changed by his arrival. The meeting of Sarah and Kyle in 1984 is very different than seen in Terminator.
Listen to me, Reese, everything's changed.
The 1984 John sent you to, it no longer exists.
Sarah and Kyle do not fall in love and they do not conceive John Connor, at least not at the Tiki Motel in 1984. Because Sarah and Kyle travel forward to 2017 it is impossible for there to be a John Connor who rises to leadership in the Resistance after Judgment Day. As that John Connor does not exist there is no reason for Skynet to send a T‑800 back to 1984 to kill her prior to his conception, and as no T‑800 is sent back, there is no reason to send Kyle back. Also because there is no John Connor in the future, or certainly not the one who sent Kyle back, then who is it that comes back from that changed future to 2014 to help Danny Dyson build Genisys?
If we reconsider Pops arrival and assume that the first time he was sent back he did not interact with Sarah, we might conceivably get to a future mostly unchanged and Kyle's being sent back would still make sense. This could happen if we realize that Skynet knew nothing of Sarah other her name and where she lived, so the T‑1000 sent back to 1973 might not have been able to find her. Pops would therefore not need to intervene and Sarah would grow up the same as she had.
This would get us to Kyle being sent back with the future unaltered by Pops arrival. However, at some point, Pops must intervene and change the course of events. At that point, the arrival of Pops that changes things, events are altered to the extent that Sarah knows the future, her actions change what is going to happen. And there is no conceivable series of events after that change that could lead up to John Connor leader of the Resistance sending Kyle back to 1984.
There are attempts to explain all of this, but they fall quite short. The most interesting is the interchange between John and Sarah and Kyle after they realize he's been changed by Skynet. Sarah says
You can't kill us. We're your parents.
Without us, you're never born.
To which John replies
You know what I think? We're marooned, the three of us. We're exiles in time. You see, I can kill you, for there truly is no fate.
We're not sure what "exiles in time" exactly means, but it might lead to a new conception of time travel explored in future versions of the story. However, the exchange clearly states the paradox, they are his parents, but obviously they can't be his parents as they are currently in 2017, 32 years after his birth, and he has yet to be conceived even here.
Another serious flaw is John being sent back to 2014. As far as we know, Judgment Day is going to happen in 1997. Here we are assuming that Pops arrival has changed things enough that the events seen in Judgment Day and Rise of the Machines never happen and Judgment Day isn't in 2004. First, though, why would Sarah and Pops jump forward to the year Judgment Day happens? Wouldn't it be more efficient to stop Cyberdyne early in its research? They have 13 years to accompish this. Why cut that lead time down?
As John is sent back to 2014, we now have to assume that Sarah and Pops did stop the 1997 Judgment Day from happening. In Rise of the Machines we are told regarding young John's "preventing" Judgment Day by blowing up Cyberdyne
You merely postponed it.
Judgment Day is inevitable.
And so here, Sarah prevents Judgement Day from happening in 1997 yet it still happens, this time in 2017, and in that future, John is sent back to 2014. But that doesn't explain why he would send Kyle back to 1984 nor why Kyle believes that Judgment Day happens in 1997.
There are other time travel flaws in the movie, such as Kyle getting memories from himself in a timeline that has yet to occur in order to change where he and Sarah travel to which has to happen or those memories would never exist. Ummm... However, enough with the reasons this movie completely fails in terms of time travel and on to why we like this movie.
As mentioned in our review of Judgement Day we did not like the way in which Sarah was portrayed. We felt that this was inconsistent with the Sarah we came to know in Terminator and that she was intentionally weakened as a character in order to make John more important.
This Sarah, however, is exactly how we would expect her to be. This is the Sarah we would liked to have seen in Judgement Day. In a deleted scene in Terminator where we see her arguing with Kyle about the "mission" and that rather than run from the T-800 they should blow-up Cyberdyne and stop Judgment Day from happening, Sarah says
We can 86 the bastards. Blow it up. It'll never happen. We can prevent the war.
Here, telling Kyle how things have changed, she says
The girl that you came back for, she's gone. I don't need saving. There's a new mission ... If the past can change, then so can the future. We can stop Judgement Day from happening. Ever.
The second surprising aspect of this movie is Pops. We thought this version of a reprogrammed T-800 is the best so far. This is much better than the "I now know why you cry" guy from Judgement Day. And the smile is hilarious.
These two characters make this a really good movie. Additionally there is some fabulous dialog. There's not room to list all of the funny lines in this but they definitely made the move much more enjoyable. Unlike our reaction after seeing Judgement Day and most definitely after seeing Salvation, which was "Please don't ever make another Terminator movie, please!", after seeing this movie, we are looking forward to what comes next.
Unfortunately, the PTB decided that this reboot did not garner enough support with the public. This was to be a three-movie deal but plans for the next two have been dropped. So, for now, there will be no more story with the new Sarah and Pops. Kind of sucks, really, as we thought the new Sarah was excellent!