James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day is one of the rare cases of a sequel that surpasses the original in almost every aspect. The original Terminator had been revolutionary in defining the science fiction action movies of the 1980’s. The second film, which was released seven years after the first, builds upon the initial foundation that Cameron created in the first film. One of the biggest strengths of Judgment Day is how well Cameron simply picks up where the first one left off. The Terminator ends with Arnold Swarzenagger having his robotic arm lodged off and Sarah Connor barely surviving with the knowledge that machines will someday take over the world, and that her unborn son, John will lead the human resistance. At the beginning of the second film, Sarah Connor has been put in a mental institution for trying to alert the authorities about the coming of the machines. John Connor is now a thirteen year old boy who lives with two foster parents. The missing arm of the first terminator has been found by a technology company known as Skynet, and they are currently manufacturing the technology that will eventually destroy them. Once again, the machines have sent a back a terminator to kill John Connor before he becomes the leader of the humans. However, unlike the last film, the John Connor from the future has also sent back a terminator (Arnold Swarzenagger) to protect him from the other one.
Cameron strings together a plethora of action scenes while mixing it together many themes of machines, man, and inherent violence at the same time. The relationship between the terminator and John Connor really shows the good and bad sides of the advancement of technology, as well as the positive and negative aspects of human nature itself. One of the best shots of the movie is a following pan of a dark highway for at least half a minute, with a narrator saying our fate is what you make. This shot along with so many others gives such a great balance to the film, half being a summer blockbuster, and the other being a beautifully shot critique about the advancement of technology. This is the type of viewers have come to expect when going to see a movie directed by Cameron, his reputation being almost untarnished with other films such as Avatar, Aliens, Titanic, and The Abyss.