Reviews are starting to trickle in for Terminator Salvation and while I am trying to avoid them for the most part, I did read Tom Charity’s review over at CNN.

It’s kind of a pan, but I was more interested in how he chose to end his review…

“…the gap between the Terminator movies and Transformers is diminishing along with any vestige of adult entertainment. In the virtual era, nobody we care about stays dead for long; there is always a second life just around the corner. They’ve even stopped numbering the sequels now.”

This taps into something I’ve been feeling about action movies for a while now.

Dropping the sequel number isn’t a big deal. That’s just a marketing maneuver to make franchises feel like chapters in a larger story rather than a long-in-the-tooth money making scheme. But Charity is completely right about there being nothing at stake. No one ever stays dead and rarely does it feel like anything is at stake. Movies are starting to feel more and more like comic books.

That’s not a dig against comic books. Comic books are meant to refresh themselves every few years to stay viable. Trying writing 12 months of content and NOT dragging out old characters people once thought were dead.

But what happened to the movie as a stand-alone story? I look at a movie like The Matrix and how, even though the ultimate conclusion wasn’t told, it felt open-ended enough that you could imagine how things went for Neo and the human resistance. Then the sequels came along and. were so overblown and boring. It was all just filler to get you to that ultimate conclusion – the humans win.

So what?

Now movie franchises just go on and on and on and never really deliver anything new. Everything in the old movies is swept under the rug or explained away so producers and studios can have another run at the trough. Audiences are learning not to trust storytellers and that’s a big problem when the ENTIRE POINT of movies is to remove the audience from their surrounding and place them inside your world for two hours.

How can death in the movies have significance when the same through it running through everyone’s mind?

“They’re gonna bring that guy back for the sequel.”