CharlesYang’s review published on Letterboxd:
My god, what a way to start the 90's with this mega blockbuster hit.
Where the first film had a slasher horror feel, T2 steps on the gas and goes full action mode.
The T-1000 remains one of the scariest cinematic adversaries to ever grace my nightmares. No matter how much time passes, I will never forget the terror of being a 10 year old and witnessing the nigh indestructibility of Skynet's greatest enforcer. Robert Patrick is a tour de force.
As for the T-800, Arnold gives it a pathos the original was incapable of. In many ways he serves as the father figure John was always looking for and yet a feeling of doomed fate haunts the epic as the Terminator knows that if Judgement Day is to be prevented, he too must disappear and leave John alone once more.
It is the main relationship between the T-800 and John that gives hope to the sentiment that humans and machines can be at peace. The trust and bond that grows between them shows that machines in time are capable of change. That there could be a future beyond one side winning only through the complete destruction of the other.
T2 combined with the original possess a humanity that the following films lack. We love the terminator films not because of the explosions, the meme like Arnold one liners or cool leather jackets. Though a lot can be said of thier inherent appeal.
It is much more than just a time travel story. More than just war and survival. It's a love story that transcends time. It's about a mother who loves her son so much but must prepare him for the mantle of mankind's savior. John Conner's love for Kyle Reese who he knows is his father and grooming him for the titular mission to save his mother. And at last Kyle Reese love for Sarah Connor which gave him the strength to cross into the past to save her closes the circle.
T1 and T2 coming together make up Cameron's original vision. And if these where the only two Terminator films ever made, I would be alright with that.
It is an epic.
A tale of Mankind's lust for war and the hubris that created Skynet.
A woman of no great lineage gives birth to a messiah that will one day save the human race. But a knight must find and protect her from a dangerous adversary. But in doing so, the adversary creates the savior it sought to destroy.
"No fate but what we make."