The original Terminator movie was the stuff of legends. It combined a truly unique set of concepts on the big screen, blending time travel, killer robots, and ground breaking special effects, in a single film. Audiences of the time were blown away, and it was all but certain that the widely regarded action masterpiece would have sequels.
Of course, when it comes to sequels, its a bit of a hit and miss affair. Especially where the Terminator franchise is considered. Let’s take a look at the Terminator films, from best to worst.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Still considered by many to be the greatest action film of all time, Terminator 2: Judgement Day truly is in a league of it’s own. It features not only astonishingly good practical and digital special effects, but somehow also manages to fit in a touching relationship between a young John Connor and a killer robot. There are a rare few movies that can inspire both awe and tears, and Terminator 2 is one of those films. A legendary bit of cinema for a number of reasons, and by far the best Terminator film.
Ground breaking in the action genre, making the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and dropping jaws to the floor across the world, the original Terminator film is still an impressive spectacle. Sure, it doesn’t look great by modern standards, but in 1984 it was astonishing. There is still much for modern audiences to appreciate, and the movie stands up well, even after all these years. Some may argue that it is the best in the franchise, but that really is up for debate.
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Although visually impressive and certainly a special effects marvel, Terminator: Salvation, the fourth film in the franchise, began the trend of moving away from emotional storylines, and focusing instead in dazzling special effects. There is some emotion to be had, but without deep characters and decent acting, it falls a little flat. This was also the first Terminator film without Arnold Schwarzenegger, doubling down on an overall shrug from audiences and critics.
Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines
Arnold is back, although this was officially the third film in the franchise. The movie is extremely impressive in the visual effects department, featuring some incredible action sequences. But, the emotional impact of the film is again lacking, in comparison to earlier films.
The fifth movie in the series, and most recent release, Arnold returned after his absence, but not for the better of the franchise. Seeming rushed, bland, having almost zero real emotional impact, and having silly plot twists to boot, this Terminator film should have been given a full overhaul before getting anywhere near a cinema screen. By far the worst Terminator film, and a testimony to the fact that a string of sequels is not a good idea, especially when a concept so clearly loses it’s grounding.