First of all, you should know that I’m a big fan of the first Terminator - and I’m not a big fan of commercialism (when it becomes the primary factor behind a movie or any piece of potential art). Also, I prefer movies I can take seriously - and if I can’t - then I prefer straight-up comedies.
Those are important factors to keep in mind if you’re genuinely interested in going beyond “he must be insane”.
My primary problems with Terminator 2 are the tongue-in-cheek and overall family-movie changes.
It’s there from the very beginning, when Arnold exits the bar after taking the clothes from that dude. Rock music is playing, and he puts on the sun glasses looking super cool and rides off. Why does he put on sunglasses? He’s a machine.
Ok, it was cute - and I could deal with that.
Then Arnold befriends that whiny obscenely annoying kid, and agrees to not actually kill anyone. Maiming them is totally ok, of course - but he can’t kill anyone. Ok, he’s a flexible Terminator and he’s taking orders. I can deal with that. Not sure I buy him being able to not kill anyone with the kind of weaponry he uses, but apparently he succeeds according to the movie.
But the straw that broke the camel’s back - for me - is how he gives the kid the thumb as he descends into the fire. That’s just not what I want from my Terminator!
Then there’s the whole concept of Terminator 2. The first movie establishes that Kyle went through the time machine and he was the last to go through it. No one else comes through.
Yeah, yeah - I know. We’re dealing with a time paradox and all is fair. Except it doesn’t quite work when it turns out they can just keep sending machines over and over again. You know? The whole basic premise of the first movie is nullified.
Also, where’s the logic in going after the kid? Why not learn from their mistakes and go through the time machine knowing exactly what they know from the first time they tried? Wiping out the mother should be very easy - as well as preventing Kyle from doing anything.
But it’s not really about picking apart a time paradox, because it never works. It’s just that the first movie was perfect alone and didn’t need a repeat.
They took away the meaning of the first film.
Also, it’s just a spectacle of a film. It’s a popcorn film. Jumping through a glass window on a motorcycle and landing in a helicopter film.
It’s fine if you just want mostly brainless entertainment, and it was very pretty for its day.
But it just wasn’t very good material. The kid was obnoxious and Arnold became a teddy bear. Good for the familiy I suppose. It would have worked fine if the movie hadn’t been called Terminator 2.
Just call it The Kind Iron Giant or something :)