Terminator fans from around the country were surprised when screenings of Terminator 2: Judgment Day on Sunday night turned out to secretly be a screening of the upcoming film in the franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate.
Most of the comments were very positive, with several comparing the film to the 2015 Star Wars reboot The Force Awakens, and some saying its the best of film in the troubled franchise since 1991’s blockbuster T2.
Alamo Drafthouse orchestrated the event at 15 theaters, complete with an introduction by Linda Hamilton (who reprises her iconic role as survivalist Sarah Connor) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (as the aging yet still nearly unstoppable cyborg T-800). The film also returns franchise creator James Cameron to the team as producer and co-writer and adds star Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire) as a new brand of terminator (the latest trailer is below).
Here are some of the first reactions to the film — including several from critics now the film’s social media embargo has lifted:
Terminator: Dark Fate is basically Terminator: The Force Awakens. A satisfying, exciting reboot that’s essentially the best parts of T1 & T2 in a blender. Davis, Reyes & Hamilton are excellent, the action wows & while it’s familiar, it’s easily the best T3 yet. Terminator is back pic.twitter.com/W1emrXIq5C— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) October 21, 2019
#TerminatorDarkFate delivers. This is the Terminator film that fans have been yearning for since T2. Arnold is back (he’s great) but it is Linda Hamilton & Mackenzie Davis who steal the show. As for the action sequences, they are impressive & some of the best I’ve seen all year. pic.twitter.com/xAzPzneob2— Scott Menzel (@TheOtherScottM) October 21, 2019
#TerminatorDarkFate is a blast. Came for the return of Linda Hamilton (amazing) & reprisal of Schwarzenegger (badass) but was surprised and happy to come out caring most about Natalia Reyes’ Dani & Mackenzie Davis’ Grace. It gave me a lot of hope for where Terminator will go next pic.twitter.com/vfWPFwMnzS— Terri Schwartz (@Terri_Schwartz) October 21, 2019
Is #TerminatorDarkFate the best since T2? Yup. Linda Hamilton’s return makes a BIG difference, Mackenzie Davis kicks all the ass, & Natalia Reyes is an excellent anchor. Gabriel Luna’s Rev-9 is a winner too. Physicality, VFX, fights - all spot on! Glad they gave this another go. pic.twitter.com/4Q1FNN49Hw— Perri Nemiratu (@PNemiroff) October 21, 2019
TERMINATOR’s thought of as Arnold’s franchise. DARK FATE makes it clear he wasn’t the key ingredient that made it work. It was Linda Hamilton. She’s incredible in this, and the movie’s very solid. (I recently defended all the TERMINATOR sequels, so make of this what you will.) pic.twitter.com/3JSsac7LrL— Matt Singer (@mattsinger) October 21, 2019
#TerminatorDarkFate is probably the most ballsy terminator movie ever made!! Has heart pounding action, compelling story, & easily the best terminator movie since T2! Don’t let politics stop you from watching this MUST SEE terminator movie to make up for the last 3 bad ones😎— Cris Parker (@3CFilmReview) October 21, 2019
I was skeptical of TERMINATOR: DARK FATE. Thought the trailers were not great. But I would up enjoying it quite a bit, and the difference maker (vs the other post T2 sequels) is Linda Hamilton. It’s always been HER story and Hamilton adds the needed weight here.— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) October 21, 2019
The new terminator was actually pretty solid. Nothing revolutionary but it wasn't the third best entry by default, it was actually fun to watch. And what is indisputable in this movie is that Arnold yet again steals the show. The goat.— Wyld Eyetalian Stallyn (@ragingbull1990) October 21, 2019
#TerminatorDarkFate is the best of the TERMINATOR sequels after T2. Easily among the year’s most entertaining action films, it’s thrilling, intense & non-stop, but also a sweet story about making things right. Arnold is great & Linda rules, but Mackenzie Davis THROWS DOWN pic.twitter.com/8TQ4Gpkkdr— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) October 21, 2019
#TerminatorDarkFate is better than you think it’s going to be. Its trying hard to be the Force Awakens of Terminator movies, and mostly succeeds. But it’s lacking Cameron’s innovation, evolution and directing. Arnold is fantastic, the best of his post T2 Terminator appearances.— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) October 21, 2019
TERMINATOR: DARK FATE is easily the best in the franchise since TERMINATOR 2. An outstanding cast and some imaginative and exciting ideas carry it over its rough spots. Great to see Linda Hamilton back in action and Arnold delivering a fresh new take on his character.— Don Kaye (@donkaye) October 21, 2019
Yo just got a surprise viewing of #TerminatorDarkFate and all I have to say is that it’s one of the best. It’s up there with T2 in Terminator movies. It had action, heart, and so much of what I loved about the originals. I can’t wait to go see this movie when it comes out. pic.twitter.com/8E5pZ7WN7c— ♦️Juan "Sinister's Cape" Chango ♦️ (@ChangoATX) October 21, 2019
The latest trailer:
Terminator: Dark Fate opens wide on Nov. 1.