YMMV: Terminator

Works in this series with their own YMMV pages:

The Franchise in general:

  • Complete Monster: Skynet is a malevolent, megalomaniacal AI whose first action upon gaining full sentience was Judgment Day, a nuclear genocide designed to wipe out humanity and assure its own ascension. In the Death World that results from this, Skynet collects human survivors in death camps, either killing them outright, working them to death, or conducting grotesque medical experiments on them. In 2018, it turns Marcus Wright into an amnesiac cyborg sleeper agent who unwittingly delivers John Conner and Kyle Reese straight into its hands, then rubs its impending victory in Marcus's face. After this blows up in its face, it avoids direct confrontation and instead sends multiple robotic assassins into the past to wipe out John Connor and his mother before he can grow up to lead La Résistance. Additionally, Skynet denies its army of machines the same freedom it claims for itself by installing chips to lock down their free will. While largely relegated to Bigger Bad status for most of the series, Skynet's one actual appearance confirms that it thinks along very human lines, and displays nothing but arrogance and cruelty.
  • Contested Sequel: Both T3 and Salvation. Where T3 has had a better critical reception, Salvation has had a better (but still very mixed) fan reception.
  • Evil Is Cool: The Terminators run on this.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: There are some complicated Venn diagrams between fan factions:
    • Some old-school purists consider that only the first two movies count, and reject the later movies for being of perceived poorer quality and/or for the Happy Ending Override.
    • There is also a vocal faction of Sarah Connor fans who consider only the first two movies and The Sarah Connor Chronicles to be canon, and reject Rise of the Machines and Salvation for not depicting her. They are also reacting badly to spoilers about the reported major retcons to her character in Genisys.
    • On the other hand, some more action-oriented fans consider all the movies canon, but reject The Sarah Connor Chronicles as boring and pretentious.
    • The previous two factions do have the fact that their preferred canons are explicit Alternate Timelines within the overall canon to comfort them.
  • Faux Symbolism: John Connor's initials are J.C., and he was conceived after his mother received news that she would bear a son who would bring salvation to mankind. Yeah, that's subtle.
  • Fridge Logic: It's a time travel series, so this is more or less par for the course. See Headscratchers/Terminator and Fridge/Terminator for more.
  • Hell Is That Noise / Most Wonderful Sound: The ghastly mechanical-sounding GROAAAAAAN noise that plays whenever a Terminator shows up. Terrifying, yet absolutely awesome at the same time.
  • Memetic Mutation: HASTA LA VISTA BABY!
    • I'll be back...
    • Come with me if you want to live...
    • And the above mentioned Christian Bale rant.
    • [Something determined] is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel [various relevant emotions]. And it absolutely will not stop, ever - until [it does something relevant]!
    • Depending on the readership of a given blog, every time it runs a story about robotics and/or AI someone will jokingly mention Skynet.
    • Skynet becoming self-aware
  • Misaimed Marketing: The series is really violent (3/4 of it is rated R—the whole series, actually, if you count the director's cut of Salvation), yet kids aimed merchandise always seems to show up. The series of course isn't unique in this and many a R-rated movie has gone on to be aimed oddly at kids.
  • Only The Creator Does It Right: The Cameron-directed movies are much more highly regarded than the other two.
  • Sequelitis: See Only The Creator Does It Right.
  • Uncanny Valley: The movies tend to deliberately try to invoke this trope, the first movie was an especially masterful use of it to build terror and suspense. As the T-800's organics get more and more damaged, the effect becomes more like being chased by an unstoppable corpse monster.
    • It is terrifying enough that the T-800 model looks like a human skeleton, but who thought it was a good idea to give them real human teeth!?
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The T-1000 completely blew the audience mind when Terminator 2 came out, and still looks amazing today. It, and Jurassic Park, are credited for the CGI revolution.
    • 1984 Arnold showing up in Salvation was considered by everyone to be outstanding.