The Top 15 Terminator Robots, Ranked
Whether we like every Terminator movie or dont (lets face it, most of us dont love at least one of them), we can usually all agree that the robots are cool. But how cool? The Arnold Schwarzenegger cyborg clearly commands the most popularity, but where does he rank in terms of actual effectiveness? Were going to bring the fake math and work it out, by ranking the top 15 Terminator robots to appear on the big screen. Note: this list only includes the movie Terminators. The Sarah Connor Chronicles and the comics are their own thing. And while we dig Cameron and the Robocop vs. Terminator dogs, we had to draw the line somewhere!
Matt Smith might have played the most amazing, powerful Terminator of them allhad Genisys actually started a new trilogy. According to the writers, he was a dimension-hopping Skynet in humanoid form who traveled the multiverse to fix the timelines in his favor. Thats a perfectly ironic bit of casting. Unfortunately, based on what he actually does onscreen, we cant say very much about him, save that he turned John Connor. Thats a twist but doesnt offer much idea of what he can really do.
Marcus Wrights story has a great hook. A prisoner on death row donates his body to science, then wakes up in the apocalypse. Later, he finds out he has been turned into a cyborg and an unwitting spy, with a conveniently donation-ready human heart. Whatever you think of him as a character, though, he sucks as a Terminator. Skynet would have done just as well to plant a bomb inside him instead. And they definitely blew it by making him the same blood type as the one guy theyre definitely trying to kill.
Basically just mildly intelligent miniature tanks. They barely qualify as Terminators, but since theyre officially the first ones, they count.
Robot snakes that can swim are creepy, but ultimately more effective as drain cleaners than human killers. Unless humans hide in drains and sewers. Then theyre great. But on land, definitely inferior to humanoids.
The icon of the franchise, besides Arnold Schwarzenegger in sunglasses. Endoskeletons were an instant creepy classic since their introduction. With a look thats both a throwback to walking-skeleton ghost stories and an echo of future mechanization fears, they strike a primal nerve. However, in the future war, theyre basically cannon fodder.
They make terrible fake humans, but these rotting rubber-skins with big guns look supremely creepy. Its everything scary about Terminators combined with every suppressed fear of mannequins and dolls. The biggest disappointment with Salvation not being a great movie is that we never got good consumer-grade toys of these guys. (Mega-expensive Hot Toys figures aside.)
Infiltrating is tossed out the window with this one. Giant robots make for great intimidation tactics, but they also make much bigger targets. With humans waging guerilla warfare against Skynet, giant war machines prove less effective than ground-level soldiers.
The ultimate fusion of man and machine, the nanocyte T-300o is theoretically the most powerful shape-shifter and best infiltrator in the arsenal. It would also have been the most shocking plot twist if trailers hadnt spoiled it. But ultimately all it succeeded in doing was accidentally turning the Arnold Terminator into a T-1000, giving Skynet an even more powerful enemy. Way to go. Had he been more human, he might have known: its not the size of your powers, but what you do with them that counts.
The new infantry of the future, these endoskeletons up the ante by having all the powers of Dr. Octopus. Spider-Man would have his hands full, and humans barely have a chance. It takes cybernetic upgrades for even a fighter as gifted as Grace to have a real shot against them. The downside is theyre not well suited to be infiltrators, because where would the tentacles fit inside a human skin?
Humans can run from an Arnold Terminator, because hes slow and deliberate. Nobody can run faster than a robot motorcycle. But because bikes are loud, potential victims will hear them coming, which helps.
Are these vehicles piloted by robots, or just giant vehicle-shaped robots? Nobody knows for certain. But theyre invaluable to that whole future war atmosphere, just by hanging in the sky or crushing skulls on the ground, and looking badass.
The original liquid metal shape-shifter is like a robot Johnny Knoxville it just keeps moving forward no matter how many times it gets blown apart or knocked down. And it even has a mildly impish sense of humor to boot (that finger wag rules). But its vulnerability to extreme heat and cold needs work. As the directors cut of T2 reveals, he was already starting to mess up before the Connors and their cyborg pal messed him up forever in that molten steel. The next generation of variants learned from his mistakes.
He just keeps coming back. The original Arnold model appears in nearly every film (well get to the main exception in a couple more entries). And its because hes the most popular. As T2, Genisys, and Dark Fate reveal, hes also capable of learning at least a facsimile of compassion, and functioning as a father figure. The problem is he also usually gets destroyed at the end of each adventure, so his real super power is just having multiple bodies that keep being sent back in time. Its kind of like The Prestige, except robots dont care so much about dying again and again.
Skynets major backup plan if their first Terminator failed seems to primarily have been to send back several more. But not until the T-X did they realize that maybe programming two plans into one Terminator was a good idea. So shes not just here for John Connor, but also to ensure Skynets creation, plus she has a blaster under that liquid skin. And as we see in Dark Fate, they probably should have thought of that of all for the T-800s as well. Silly Skynet you retconned yourself out of existence. Your flaws are officially Legion.
Most Terminators can be taken out with the extreme heat of a plasma weapon, or at least crushed in a hydraulic press or melted in red hot steel. But not the Rev-9, whose flexible skeleton never breaks and whose processor cannot be crushed. Specifically vulnerable to nothing less than an electromagnetic pulse, this guy can also split in two and hack any computer system with his fingers. Hes the threat Ultron should have been to the Avengers, if JARVIS/Vision hadnt immediately matched him move for move.
Why the T-850 over the T-800? Simple. The slightly older Arnold was the first Terminator to successfully kill John Connor. More impressively, it was the future Messiah, height-of-his-powers John Connor. Assuming we can take the Terminators word for it, of course. He did tell us to Tawk to da hand, after all.
Which Terminator model would you rank at the top? Let us know in the comment section below!
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