Movie Review: “Edge of Tomorrow” – Fun. Repeat. Fun.

Written by Jesse Gelinas June 08, 2014

Tom Cruise in "Edge of Tomorrow"

After “Valkyrie”, “Knight and Day”, and “Rock of Ages”, I’d just about given up on Tom Cruise. His scientology-driven insanity and strangely humorless public persona had really put me off, and suddenly his movies weren’t good enough to just let it slide. Thankfully, I can finally ignore his crazy antics again. “Edge of Tomorrow”, the first big sci-fi actioner of the Summer is the solid return to Cruise greatness a lot of us have been waiting for.

In “Edge of Tomorrow” the world has been containing an alien invasion in central Europe for the past five years. Cruise breaks his trend of playing the flawless hero with perfect hair and great skin. It’s a bit hard to deny his good looks, but the heroism is gone at least. He plays Maj. William Cage, a US Army PR man who’s making a living selling the war effort to the masses. Now, he’s to be sent to the front lines because a certain General simply doesn’t like him. Untrained, and unprepared, Cage is dropped into combat and soon dies after barely killing a large Mimic (the alien invaders). He then wakes up the previous day, and lives the battle over and over, trying to find a way to change the outcome. He soon finds help in Rita Vratasky (Emily Blunt), a legendary soldier who knows about his new power.

“Drop or die!”

It’s refreshing to see Cruise take on a relatively unlikable role. When we meet Maj. Cage, he’s just a mouthpiece doing everything he can to avoid combat. When he receives the power to reset the day, he still tries to back out of it until it’s obvious that he can’t. We do get to see him grow as the movie goes on, and it’s actually satisfying this way, watching the meek spokesman become the methodical battle-hardened veteran. Emily Blunt seems out of place as a badass super-soldier, but she totally makes it work and actually plays off Cruise quite well. Bill Paxton shows up for a noteworthy turn as Cage’s new C.O. and steals most of the scenes he’s in. Brendan Gleeson and Noah Taylor also appear for smaller roles, and are enjoyable as always.

A Mimic alien in "Edge of Tomorrow"

The action is intense and reminiscent of classic war films. The parallels to WWII are a bit in-your-face, but it works. The “Groundhog Day” structure gives the action a fun twist, and adds a new layer of entertainment and originality to the plot. Video gamers should get a kick out of the resetting timeline, perfectly in tune with any modern action game. Dying and reloading, trying to figure out just how to shoot your way to the end of the level. Any “Halo” fan who’s made it through The Maw on Legendary knows what I mean. The aliens themselves are interesting and threatening. Their design is very cool, and compliments the video game aesthetic very well. The “hive-mind” plot point is a bit tired and maybe even a tad lazy, but it works for the movie.

“Glorious combat, the fiery crucible, where the only true heroes are forged.”

What I also like about the structure, and commend the writers for, is keeping the romance angle on the back burner. Yes, Cruise spends every day with Blunt’s super-soldier, and yes he develops feelings. But since she’s meeting him for the first time every day, the attachment doesn’t stick, and so we’re not stuck sitting through a forced love-affair.

If I had to give the film a serious criticism, it’s the ending. While I never expect a dark, bleak downer ending with my Tom Cruise action, I was a bit disappointed with the conclusion of “Edge of Tomorrow”. The story is so engaging and particularly tense during the final assault (when we know there’s only one shot), but the happy ending just seems to come out of nowhere here. Mainly because with the knowledge the movie has given me about its science and logic, I can’t make sense of it, so it frustrates and annoys me. I think the happy ending works with the idea of the satisfaction of “beating the game”, but I think a darker ending might have suited it better thematically.

Emily Blunt in "Edge of Tomorrow"

Aside from an obviously tacked on, cop-out ending, “Edge of Tomorrow” delivers in spades. The action is tight, the acting is solid; Cruise hasn’t been this good in years. With the waves and waves of subpar sci-fi movies getting pumped out of Hollywood every year, “Edge of Tomorrow” is a great break in the cycle. Gamers will get a kick out of the structure and aesthetics, and everyone will enjoy a top-tier action flick. You can’t ask for better sci-fi action these days.

My Rating: 8.5/10

Theatrical poster for "Edge of Tomorrow"

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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