In general, Terminator: Dark Fate was a good sequel, but when you think about it too hard, it becomes clear that it undermines the franchise.
Despite earning some of the strongest reviews the series had received in decades, Terminator: Dark Fate's plot rendered the rest of the franchise worthless. Movie's truly a tragedy what happened to Dark Fate at the box office over three years after it was released in theatres. While not without flaws, Dark Fate seemed more like a worthy Terminator film than any other since Terminator 2: Judgment Day, thanks in part to director James Cameron's return as executive producer and involvement in the creative process.
Terminator: Dark Fate was also the first sequel since Terminator 2 to see original stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton onscreen together. As fantastic as that was to watch, Dark Fate's setup was about as near to a full reboot as you can get without resetting the history and characters, and it drew some criticism for being compared to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Dark Fate is, in many ways, a remake of Cameron's original 1984 blockbuster, but with a few key differences.
The Twist Ending of Terminator 3 Is Fantastic (But It Betrays Judgment Day)
While many viewers were justifiably disturbed by the stunning murder of John Connor in the first few minutes of Terminator: Dark Fate, John's death has far-reaching consequences. Dark Fate explains that John and Sarah Connor had really halted Skynet's ascension and preserved humanity through their efforts on Judgment Day. Despite the fact that both John and Skynet were slain, the chronology effectively duplicated their relationship with the creation of a new malevolent AI, Legion, and a new human saviour, Dani. This development, in addition to being creatively derivative, effectively renders every previous film worthless.
The first three Terminator films are built around the idea that John Connor's birth and survival are critical to humanity's victory over machines. In the original Terminator, Kyle Reese impregnated John's mother Sarah and then protected her. Despite this, Terminator: Dark Fate makes it apparent that without John, a new person—in this case, Dani Ramos—became destined to head the human resistance. Dark Fate exposes that the Connors were effectively nothing more than replaceable pieces in a chess game, after five films that were in some way about them.
In a similar vein, the central theme of Terminator 2 and 3 is Sarah and John Connor's determination to change the course of history by avoiding Judgment Day and the rise of Skynet as a global force. Even though a stray T-800 already sent back was able to find and murder John, Dark Fate canonises the premise that Sarah and John did indeed avoid Judgment Day.Then, in the blink of an eye, Legion appears in Skynet's place, negating all of their efforts. To put it another way, the Terminator timeline appears to be doomed to always end in a conflict between humans and a malignant A.I., with a human rescuer emerging. If that's the case, then everything that happened in the five Terminator films before Terminator: Dark Fate was essentially senseless wheel-spinning.