Steven’s review published on Letterboxd:
You know, I could talk about all of the different ways that T2 surpasses the original. I could talk about all the awesome thematic and character developments, like how Sarah metaphorically becomes a Terminator at one point in the film, or how Dyson and his work vs family dynamic fits into the theme of man vs machine. I could talk about a lot of things, like how awesome the special effects for the T-1000 are and how awesome the practical effects for the T-800 still are.
However, I think the main reason I and others love this film is the relationship between John Connor and the T-800. He protects John, and along their journey John slowly humanizes him. By the end he's not fully human, sure, but he understands empathy, and their bond is palpable. I love how Sarah even notes how this machine has been more of a father to John than the countless would-be fathers they cycled through before she was admitted to the mental hospital. I love John teaching him slang and high-fiveing him, and I love when the T-800 asks John why humans cry. This all culminates in an emotional embrace between the two of them before the T-800 must be terminated, and I couldn't help but tear up there.
Why is T2 special? Is it the special effects, the soundtrack, the action?
No, as Sarah Connor puts it at the end, its because the film excellently presents the idea that, if a machine bred to kill can understand the value of human life, maybe we humans can too.