Ever since the flashback sequences in Terminator and Terminator 2:Judgment Day, Ive wanted to see the future war, to see humanity overrun by the machines and battling to regain control, this summer saw that dream come to life but did that dream turn into a nightmare ?
There is without a doubt a pacing flaw that prevents enough development of key characters. Marcus is the highlight and feels the fullest, his scenes with Kyle being the film's strongest point. Blair's interactions with Marcus are too hurried and render a key choice she makes unrealistic.
Connor.......ah John Connor, clearly the movie was not written as a John Connor movie and no matter how much tinkering Jonah Nolan did it was quite clear that certain scenes were added in once Bale took the part, the total lack of development between him and his men and his wife was evidence of this, despite him cutting a great figure as a badass leader and warrior.
The story itself, which was really the story of Marcus, was good and the twist with him and arc he went through were well executed, although we could have done with a bit more clarity on his past.
Action-wise the film is colossal with epic set pieces, none more so than the bravado chase sequence at the gas station, although the smaller sequences such as Connor battling an endo at the beginning were also excellent. As a huge fan of action I place the movies sequences at the upper echelon. The design of the future was also superb, melding elements from several inspirations effectively. The SFX were first class all the way through although I don't think the "Arnie cameo" worked all that well.
The movies acting ranged from solid to good. Much has been made of Bale doing his whispery badass thing but the writing of Connor was the reason the character was so basic, Bale's acting was fine and he is a convincing figure as a leader and intense fighter. Moon Goodblood did a decent job as a the tough and spunky pilot Blair but Bryce Dallas Howard was pretty much wasted as the mother of the resistance.
The stand outs though were Sam Worthington and Anton Yelchin. The former doing what Chris Pine did in Star Trek by announcing himself as a new leading man with his powerhouse portrayal of Marcus, the guy just exudes screen presence. Yelchin's Kyle Reese was a really well executed piece of acting, creating a totally convincing younger version of a classic movie hero without ever slipping into mimicry.
Overall 30 more minutes could have made this something truly special, as it stands it is still an exciting and well made sci fi action film that underachieves.