Edge of Tomorrow is the kind of film that defines why I love summer movies so much. It’s a fun, explosive, and oh, so entertaining sci-fi action flick that knows exactly what it is and doesn’t try to be anything else, and despite it’s few flaws, it still manages to be such a creative and refreshing take on the action movie that I couldn’t help but love every minute of it.
While it might not be an impressively deep film by any stretch of the imagination, Edge of Tomorrow is just so much fun to watch that it’s difficult to complain about. The script is clever, the action is phenomenal, and the two main leads work perfectly together and seem to be having a lot of fun with the story, which, as a result, means the audience does as well.
The story takes place in the near future with the Earth in peril from a strange class of alien predator who crash landed on our planet aboard distant meteors, and seem intent on our quick and bloody extinction. To combat this new alien threat, now known as the Mimics, the United Defense Force creates powerful mechanical battle suits that can turn regular civilians with only minimal combat training into full-fledged killing machines.
The whole alien invasion story is far from original, but it’s the execution that made it stand out for me. Rather than focus on your typical, fearless hero, the movie introduces us to Tom Cruise’s character Major William Cage, a selfish, arrogant man who serves the government by spending his days on talk shows and widely publicized television interviews in order to support the UDF and its cause.
That is, until Cage is asked to join the front lines with a camera crew in order to show the world what the war really looks like. You see, contrary to the majority of Cruise’s typical action-hero roles, Cage is an absolute coward, and the thought of combat terrifies him so much that he attempts to blackmail his commanding officer in order to get out of it, which only ends in Cage’s speedy arrest and then demotion to expendable front line soldier.
Seeing Cruise in such a different kind of role was a lot of fun, and you can tell both he and the writers of the film were having a lot of fun messing around with the character in the film’s early scenes. Cruise is fantastic as always, and while he probably won’t earn any new fans here, I thought he performed really well, and I think this might be my favorite role he’s done in the past couple years.
The script itself is also great, and while the premise, which involves Cruise’s character discovering that he can literally reset the same day over and over again by simply dying, is very silly and not all that original, the movie’s self aware sense of humor makes sure that you never take anything too seriously. This is a movie meant to entertain, and if you can sit back and enjoy the ride, that’s exactly what it will do.
However, this is far from just an action-comedy, and even though I definitely had a smile plastered on my face for a good portion of the movie, I was also firmly cemented on the edge of my seat, as the action sequences were brilliantly and explosively choreographed, and were a blast, often literally, to watch unfold.
Despite the film’s obvious and intentional repetition of certain events, it changes things up just enough each time that you’re never bored or annoyed by what you’re watching. In fact, watching Cage struggle to both comprehend and then control his newfound ability is one of the best parts of the movie, and it’s able to balance both the humor and the suspense in some really fun and surprising ways.
Edge of Tomorrow demonstrates a mastery in pacing and plot progression that goes beyond what you would typically find in a summer action flick, and it created for an endlessly exciting and entertaining movie that could easily be watched over and over again without losing an ounce of its charm or enjoyability. Even after the credits rolled, I wanted to turn around and watch it all over again.
I’ve already talked about how much fun the movie is, but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the fantastic cast as well. In addition to Cruise, Emily Blunt nearly steals the show completely as the hardened Rita Vrataski, and she has an incredibly strong presence on screen. Her dialogue with Cruise is really great, and the two have some impeccable chemistry together in both the explosive action scenes and the quieter character moments.
Bill Paxton also has a fun and memorable role as the gruff and sarcastic Master Sergeant Farell, and you can tell Paxton is just having a blast in the role. He also plays off of Cruise really well, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed their scenes together. Even Brendan Gleeson performs well as the mostly stoic General Brigham, and he adds a nice layer of gravity to each of his scenes.
The characterization is also top notch, and I really enjoyed how every time Cage reset the clock, and got to relive the same day again, we got to see each and every character develop and evolve further. There were never any big reveals or twists, but instead some subtle yet heartfelt character progression that made the story that much easier to get sucked into.
The action is the real highlight though, with every single fight sequence feeling different than anything that came before, and you could tell the writers’ of the film had a ton of fun coming up with dozens of different ways for Cage to live, and often die, throughout the movie. The special effects were also top-notch, especially in terms of the visuals for the alien Mimics, and really made the film jump off of the screen.
Edge of Tomorrow is a surprisingly smart and sleek sci-fi action flick that was far better than I ever expected it to be. There are a handful of plot holes, however, especially in terms of the movie’s ending, which I thought tried a little to hard to tie everything together, and it sacrificed logic in order to do so. But still, it’s a minor flaw in comparison to everything else the movie does right, and it’s easy to overlook in the long run.
As someone who wasn’t all that intrigued by the trailers, Edge of Tomorrow genuinely surprised me, and I think I had more fun with it than I have with any other movie this summer. It hit all of the right notes for me, and even with the few problems I have with its ending, I can’t wait to add it to my permanent collection and watch it over and over again.