We were told to forget about the past Terminator movies after Judgement Day because Terminator: Dark Fate is supposed to be the "official" next chapter now. While that may be the case, it still doesn't seem like the franchise is back.
Without giving anything away to the plot (although it seems like a lot of people don't care anyway) the story feels like elements of the first two Terminators are meshed together for the year 2020. Story beats from the two movies are repeated with new characters replacing old characters, to against an evil empire called Legion (basically its the new Skynet). There's even a new killer cyborg (Gabriel Luna) who does about the same features as the past models have done, just with a new color scheme.
I can usually be okay with a franchise retreading a bit as long as it balances just right between feeling new and paying tribute to the past. But there is barely any moments I can think of that manage to do so. It never once feels very new, nor does it ever feel like the past is being considered.
The bright sides of Dark Fate are the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. They came back into the franchise with ease and grace, as they are easily the best parts of the movie. That being said, they aren't able to make this Terminator movie a worthwhile watch, which is sad to say given how important they are to the franchise.
There are a few other bonuses as well. Makenzie Davis plays a half-human, half terminator named Grace with such intensity and charisma that it almost reminds me of Hamilton's portrayal of Sarah in Judgement Day. Despite plenty of action sequences where I felt the editing did them no favors, there were some that impressed me. Plus, it wouldn't be a Terminator movie without some cool imagery of the terminators themselves, so there was that at least.
I guess you could say that Dark Fate is supposed to show that humanity is a victim of repeating themselves. It is considered a theme of the franchise, and the case could be made here. I'd argue that it does not feel like it's trying to say that, and if it was, it missed the mark. Despite this movie not being as tragically horrible as the last couple, this may be a sign that we will never get the magic back that the name Terminator once had.