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Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow Starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt

Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow

Posted June 10, 2014 by

I’ll be the first to admit, I still enjoy Tom Cruise. Despite his somewhat diminishing reputation, I still believe him to be a front runner in terms of mainstream, wide audience appeal. Though he may not be as much of a draw as he used to be, Tom Cruise always comes off as an actor who will only go out on his own terms, no matter how much bad publicity he may garner. It’s a massive, joyous surprise then, that Edge of Tomorrow is his best film since he popped up in Tropic Thunder some 6 years ago. Sure, he’s had a few decent outings. Ghost Protocol was fun, and Jack Reacher was entertaining, but it’s been a while since we got to see Cruise truly stretch his acting muscles.

Last year, we got the somewhat indifferent film Oblivion that, while competent, lacked a certain spark that could have lifted it above and beyond. Cruise is no stranger to the science fiction genre, but he does have a tendency to get locked into some fairly lackluster roles. Luckily for us, Edge of Tomorrow blasts into theaters to give us a reminder not only of Cruise’s propensity for natural, down to earth acting, but also that mainstream Hollywood blockbusters can be more than just shoot em ups and explosions.

‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Gets its Longest and Most Exciting Trailer Yet

Based on the Japanese light novel All You Need is Kill, Edge of Tomorrow is a sort of Groundhog’s Day meets alien invasion flick. For some 5 years, the human race has been doing battle with a species of alien known simply as Mimics. The nations of the world have come together to form what is known as the United Defense Forces or (UDF), in order to combat these aliens. Though the Mimics seem to be winning the war, a last ray of hope is shined as the UDF prepares for Operation Downfall, which is meant to be a final and devastating blow to the Mimics hold on Europe.

Tom Cruise plays the role of Major William Cage, a “soldier”, whose real purpose is simply to report on the war and raise morale and troops to the human armies across the globe. When Cage is ordered to be on the front lines of Operation Downfall, he flat out refuses proclaiming he is no real soldier. When it comes to the military, this sort of brash disobedience isn’t tolerated, and before Cage knows it, he’s being screwed into becoming an infantry private. What I loved about this particular character is that, in the beginning, he’s nothing but a two-bit pansy, who’s basically afraid of his own shadow. He isn’t a fighter, he’s a talker, but talking isn’t going to get him out of this situation, as he soon discovers.

After the initial failure of Operation Downfall, Cage winds up with a special ability. Every time he dies, he is able to reset the day, and he finds himself waking up the morning before Operation Downfall begins. From here, he spends the majority of the film attempting to get further and further into the day without being killed. Eventually, he finds Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) also known as The Angel of Verdun and The Full Metal Bitch. She is a super soldier who is a beacon of hope for the human race. Like Cage, she also had the ability to reset the day, but eventually lost the power for reasons I won’t get into.

This story may sound somewhat ambitious, and it is. Time loop films are never an easy thing to narrate, but luckily director Doug Liman has a firm grasp on the narrative and storytelling. The film is perfectly simple in approach, but endlessly fascinating in execution. It’s the type of movie that makes a second viewing not only mandatory, but something you will also look forward to. I am planning to see it a second time this week. While I admit the trailers make this movie out to be some overtly serious, end of the world, nightmare, the film is actually quite humorous, particularly in the first hour when Cage is still being a weasel. Most of the people in the audience laughed out loud frequently and it truly helped break up the somewhat depressing nature of the core story line.

Blunt and Cruise do an excellent job in the starring roles, bring tact and grace to their respective roles. They are believable, even if the movie around them is so out of this world. If I had one major complaint, it would be that the ending of the film wraps up a bit too nicely for my taste. This is too be expected, as it’s geared towards a wider audience. While I personally think it could have ended better, the ending they chose to go with isn’t in itself a bad one, it simply is not the best choice. Regardless of a slightly predictable outcome, Edge of Tomorrow rocks hard from beginning to end, offering up great acting, a coherent, cleverly told narrative, and some top notch if slightly overlong, action sequences. The Mimics themselves are awesome to look at, and actually feel somewhat original, especially with all the recent science fiction aliens popping up every single year.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the best blockbuster of the year. X-Men: Days of Future Past continues to hold that prize, but Edge of Tomorrow is a damn close second, and one I can easily recommend to movie fans of all levels. It’s a shame the movie didn’t do better at the box office on it’s opening weekend, but I am sincerely hoping that strong word of mouth will help push audiences into the seats. This is a great summer film, and a reminder of how a Hollywood blockbuster doesn’t have to be stupid.

Grade = B+