In 2029 we're shown the last battle between humanity, led by John Connor, and Skynet. Kyle Reese is sent back to 1984 to prevent a killer cyborg from killing Sarah Connor--but when he gets there things unfold a bit differently than anticipated. Soon after appearing in an alley he's pursued by a T-1000, one of the liquid metal terminators, and finds refuge in a department store, where he's rescued by Sarah Connor. We find out that her history has been altered when a Terminator was sent back to 1973 to kill her. Her family was killed but another T-100 was sent back to save her--and he's been protecting her ever since. She calls him "Pops". At first Kyle doesn't trust this cyborg but they soon learn to work together. Sarah and Pops have created a time-travel machine--and plan to go to 1997 to stop Skynet from firing the nuclear missiles and causing "Judgement Day". But on his time-travel trip to 1984 Kyle had seen images from an alternate timeline--and in that timeline his younger self says that "Skynet is Genysis" and that it will take over the world in 2017. After some convincing Sarah and Kyle to go to 2017, where "Pops", now considerably older, helps them. Then, things get complicated when John Connor shows up, only it's not exactly John Connor. It's a version of him that's been assimilated by "phase change technology" by Skynet. He's been there since 2-14 and has been assisting the younger Dyson of Cyberdine to develop the new Genysis operating system. Now, Sarah, Kyle and Pops have to stop Genysis from activating and destroying mankind.
What I likeabout this movie is that if follows the mythology of the first two films very well--and it was cool seeing the younger/older versions of Arnold battling each other. Those effects are seamless. Also, the casting of Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor is right on the mark. But what I didn't like is that the movie is surprisingly flat. There's no sense at any point in the film that the three main characters are in any danger. You know they're not going to be killed off so it removes any sort of tension. I have about the same reaction to this as I did JURASSIC WORLD-- cool effects, lackluster tale. Which is is disappointing, of course.