‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Review

Published 2 months ago by , Updated August 10th, 2014 at 10:25 pm,

Edge of Tomorrow Reviews Starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt1 Edge of Tomorrow Review

In Edge of Tomorrow, mankind is under siege by alien invaders known as “The Mimics,” who have the unique ability to “reset the day,” giving them a precognitive edge that makes defeating their hordes virtually impossible. Enter Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), smarmy face of the military’s public relations propaganda campaign. When ordered to broadcast from the front lines, Cage refuses, fearing disaster; that decision to go AWOL gets him thrown into the ranks of combat soldiers against his will, on the day of a massive D-Day-style assault, no less.

When Cage gets to the battle, it’s more hellish than he ever imagined – as is his subsequent death battling a particularly formidable Mimic. However, death is not the end: upon his gruesome demise, Cage wakes up back at the start of his last day. After stumbling through a few death cycles, he is tasked with making contact with legendary soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), the only person who seems to understand what’s happening to him. Under Rita’s harsh tutelage, Cage lives (and dies) the same day countless times over as he trains to be a smarter and more deadly warrior – one who can hopefully unlock the secret of the Mimics’ power, and defeat them once and for all.

Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow Reviews Edge of Tomorrow Review

Tagged as being “Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers,” Edge of Tomorrow is, at its core, a particularly slick and efficiently executed sci-fi/action B-movie. The end result is another good film from Cruise, one that actually downplays his celebrity persona in all the right ways, allowing a (semi-)interesting character story to drive the proceedings. While the movie arguably doesn’t go far enough with some of the ideas and/or story beats it introduces, its unique stylistic approach to the material makes the experience an overall satisfying one.

Bourne Identity director Doug Liman manages to bring an imaginative, polished and kinetic sci-fi action movie to life onscreen – and then distinguishes it with stylistic choices and clever edits that make the most of the Groundhog Day premise. The repetition of certain shots and/or scenes is deftly handled and serves the story without ever becoming cumbersome, gimmicky or overused – which is really a feat in and of itself. Visually, the film is a nice mix of washed-out and vibrant color palettes, which reflect (respectively) the grounded and gritty dystopian near-future, and more colorful and fantastical manga/anime tropes pulled from the All You Need Is Kill source novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. (Technical Note: Forget 3D, it’s not worth the muted colors.)

Exoskeleton Armor in Edge of Tomorrow Edge of Tomorrow Review

The sci-fi elements of the film – like the exoskeleton battle armor and weaponry, or the Mimic aliens – are all well realized (and rendered) onscreen. The Mimics in particular are a unique (and frightening) concept for an enemy – and overall, the action sequences in the film are thrilling, entertaining and refreshingly different from the norm. Thanks to a good script, each moment of action or violence has weight, relevance – and surprisingly enough, often humor as well.

Liman’s visual narrative makes the most out of a nice script by Fair Game writers John-Henry and Jez Butterworth; but it is the distinctive touch of Usual Suspects writer (and frequent Cruise collaborator) Christopher McQuarrie that gives Edge of Tomorrow its edge. Morbidly clever writing, witty use of repetition and well-staged comedic gags work in tandem to lace the film with a sardonic humor mined from the day repetition process  -and  that humor ultimately helps to sell Cage’s evolution, as well as his connection with Rita in an unorthodox but effectively understated manner.

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow Reviews1 Edge of Tomorrow Review

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in ‘Edge of Tomorrow’

An admitted downside of the film is the fact that the relationship aspect of the story (the core of Groundhog Day, as it were) feels truncated and somewhat undercooked. It is a tricky blend to begin with (a love story in the midst of a war story), but in the end, a lot of the more interesting ideas and/or moments of Cage and Rita’s connection are left to implication or exposition, and that loose thread nearly unravels the ending of the film. Of course, the emotional depth is cut shallow to keep the movie trimmed to a lean 112 minutes of run-and-gun action; however (and as is a growing trend this summer) there is the sense that the efficient pacing comes at the cost of a richer (albeit longer) cinematic experience.

As stated, Cruise is once again solid in his leading man role, at first mocking his own star persona (Cage is a bit of a celebrity prima donna), then underplaying it as he makes the journey from selfish coward to selfless hero. The role actually makes more use of Cruise’s range than usual, drawing on his signature physicality and dramatic intensity, but also drawing heavily on his comedic wit and timing, which has become something of a rarity to see.

Emily Blunt is all grit beauty and grace (that yoga shot will live on forever), and she turns out to be a surprisingly good foil for Cruise, adopting a deadpan frankness that sells much of the grim humor in Cage and Rita’s interactions. Again, there is a sense that there was more to Blunt’s character and performance (perhaps somewhere on the cutting room floor?), as Rita ultimately comes off as underdeveloped – which is unfortunate, because the character is worthy of more than the broad brushstrokes and vague inferences we get.

Emily Blunt Yoga Pose in Edge of Tomorrow Edge of Tomorrow Review

Along the way, we are treated to some welcome character cameos from the likes of an animated Bill Paxton (who chews on a few scenes, a few times over) and a stone-faced Brendan Gleeson (who gets some of the best cutaway gags). We also meet a likable enough roundup of grunts played by European/Aussie actors like Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood), Tony Way (Game of Thrones), Kick Gurry (Offspring), Franz Drameh (Attack the Block), Dragomir Mrsic (real-life former bank robber), Charlotte Riley (Entity) and Masayoshi Haneda (47 Ronin) – with Terence Maynard’s (Spy) face likely to be burned into your brain. (He’s this movie’s version of Ned Ryerson – for those who get the reference.)

In the end, Edge of Tomorrow is impressive enough for what it is, with trace hints that it could’ve been something a little bit greater, had the filmmakers chosen to delve even deeper into their characters and story. As it stands, the uniqueness of the time reset premise and sci-fi action distinguish the film from so many others in the genre, and it is at least worth a matinée viewing on the big screen. All in all, another worthwhile stop on the Tom Cruise comeback train.

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Edge of Tomorrow is now in theaters. It is 113 minutes long and is Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material.

Want to discuss SPOILERS for the film? Please do so in our Edge of Tomorrow spoilers post. Confused about the “Day Reset” time-travel logic? Read our Time Loop Explanation Article. Want to hear the SR editors discuss the film? Then stay tuned to the Edge of Tomorrow episode of the #SRUnderground podcast.

Follow me and talk movies @ppnkof

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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95 Comments

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  1. I too loved how director handles the repeat scenes with comical elements. Amazing Miss Blunt was the best thing in this movie; reminded me of Sarah Connor a bit! Clearly, the potential is there for all to see.

    Lately, mainstream cinema is once again seeing some solid films with time loop as an underlying plot, e.g., SOURCE CODE, LOOPER; and now, “Edge of Tomorrow” is another deserving addition to that list.

    My take on on #EdgeofTomorrow – http://worldcinema-yashesh.blogspot.in/2014/06/edge-of-tomorrow-2014.html

    Watch it preferably on big-screen, feel free to share your views.

  2. I love the film, and wished they had made it longer and done even more interesting things with the idea and the characters. It was very good, but it could have been incredibly good. I would be all for a “reboot” with even smarter, more complex playing-out of the concept. Like if both Cruise’s character and the aliens started to both reset the day, maybe every other day or something, so that Cruise had to think freakishly hard to foil them. The writers no doubt have left great sub-plots on the cutting-room floor. I hope to see another similar film soon!

  3. I really enjoyed the film, definitely one of the better Sci-Fi films I’ve seen in quite some time. The only knock is that this film could have been better if they had given more depth to Blunts character and given her more screen time outside of being a badass. There are hints all over that there is a lot more going on under the hood, but like this review and others have said, it was probably left on the cutting room floor.

    Solid story, great special effects, and surprisingly good acting. Go see it. Really.

  4. I just got home from seeing this and I was floored at how good it was! I know the reviews have been pretty favorable, but I tend to take those with a grain of salt. Actually, these “Groundhog Day” type of movies tend to get monotonous. This film done the repeating of the day wonderfully. This is one of Tom Cruise’s best films in YEARS. If you like a good sci-fi film with lots of action, there is nothing here that will disappoint you.

  5. I guess I’m going to join the chorus – this was a damn good movie. Its not going to change your life or anything, but I thoroughly enjoyed this flick.

    Go see it on the big screen!

  6. We took a chance, and was very pleased, unlike DOFP, this film kicked ass. And post discussions revolved around Paxton. The guy is great, really great and just proves how bad the writing is in AOS with the one take shots .Mr Paxton and Emily were superb! Recommend this to anyone and give it 4.5 stars.

    • @Pirate

      I loved how when he sees Cage on the battlefield he just calmly says to him “Hey Private Cage, you’re going the wrong way. You’re going to miss your opportunity.” LMAO!!!

  7. Dope flick, that is all nerds.

  8. Only 3.5 for this?
    SR you’re off your rocker!

    • Evidently.

      • Well, we’ve all known that you’re off your rocker even without this movie rating, lol. :-P

        j/k man ;-)

  9. Good movie! But I think that the final scene between Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt could have been better…

    • “Yes?”
      “Rita Vratowski? I just wanted to say… your middle name is Rose.”

      They really should have either a) explained why the Omega exploded the night before or b) had the major blow up the Louvre that day, before time ran out.

  10. review is wrong in many points

    Cage is reset every time he is dead is because he killed a alpha mimic and got drenched in its blood and got the ability to relive again, much to the dismay of the omega. The omega doesnt want him to die that day, but live through it, because every time cage relives it, the omega has to fight the battle again which it has every single time. but the day never ends for the omega and it must make cage live through the day so it deceives him to approach the dam and bleed the alpha blood out of him so the day can end for omega.

    regarding the relationship depth two scenes can be mentioned here, cage talks to blunt about her boyfriends death and what she went through meaning what he is going through watching her die every time. and in the barn when she ask how many times have we been through this, is her reaction to his concern, (remember first fifty dates of adam sandler and drew barrymore), she comes to understanding about his desperation and subsequent adamancy towards the mission. remember cage is only concerned about his survival, and his concern towards her well being is out his rememberance and repeated death, and she will not change in hours to his charms because she cant remember remember, they are in middle of a war, for crying out loud.

    he is attracted to her, she is thinking only about the mission, if the director had gone to a bit of romance, the movie would have flopped, its good as it is. If you think you can do better then do better, don’t criticize what you don’t understand or appreciate.

    watch the movie again and redo the criticism again fairly.

  11. Finally got to see this today. A really good movie. I’m hopeful it can reach 100 mil domestically and keep these Tom Cruise Sci-Fi’s coming. I thought the beach scenes were great and the sprinkles of comedy were good too.

    I’m not sure why you got flamed so much, Kofi. 3.5 is a fine score.

    8/10

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