‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Review

Published 4 months ago by , Updated October 7th, 2014 at 1:23 am,

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

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.

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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101 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.

    • It was a good flick, as were your other two examples. I might give the edge to Source Code. That director (Bowie’s son!) is a talent that is going to be better recognized one day.

  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!

    • A longer movie night been nice. As for additional scenes what I fear is because the movie was moderately successful, the studio will have just enough incentive to do a follow up….direct to video.

  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.

    • I see your point, but the movie really focused almost entirely on Cruise’s pov. You’re very right, we could have seen more development from her (although I was happy with what we did get) but shifting that pov would have changed the dynamic of the movie. I am hard pressed to come up with many scenes that Cruise’s character wasn’t directly involved.

  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

  12. First of all, terrific movie. Like really unexpectedly good in every way. It is one of those movies where all conditions are met to produce a legendary piece of art to last for the years to come. The right actors playing the right characters the right way under the context of exceptional circumstances. Everything just fits perfectly.

    I especially liked how good was the chemistry between the main actors and their performances (on and offscreen), Rita and Cage (Blunt and Cruise), without putting them into a cheesy romantic relationship which would ruin half the logic of the movie. The relationship between them never really developed into romance, which makes sense because what would naturally occur would be a one-sided growing affection from the perspective of the character being able to experience the same day countless times, getting to know the other each time more and also experience her death over and over. That has to make you care about someone, you can’t help it, specially taking into account that her intervention makes him a better person and aids in his transformation. However, as Cage morphs from a frightened officer to a skilled warrior, even though Rita can’t remember the previous attempts, she understands, because she also had the reset ability, where he started and how much Cage has changed due to what he has been through and how he is being moulded by the process. She knows she was the one training him and ultimately shows, beneath the ruthless resets and merciless training, when the scenery changes from the battlefield to a quiet farmhouse, the empathy and connection of someone who has been in the same situation before, by allowing herself to open up and share a little bit of her with him. That empathy, which could or could not have developed into something more, but that fortunately didn’t (it wouldn’t make sense if it did during the movie), was brilliantly translated to the screen. Cage character’s development is moving both for Rita and the audience, which makes us feel easily feel connected with them.

    The fact that Rita was a hero of her own and ultimately in equal footing with Cruise’s character, who starts well below and is not playing the “ultimate badass hero” but instead the unlikely hero, is simply entertaining and awesome. The way she was introduced in the movie is simply epic – Master Chief style, if you know what I mean. The ultimate hope for mankind. And her acting as well as her fighting and stunts were up to it! Meanwhile, Cruise playing a useless soldier, man that was hilarious. He shows once again why he is simply one, if not, the greatest movie star of modern times. But had the movie not counted with Emily’s performance, it just wouldn’t be so perfect. And let’s not even talk about Sargent “Hudson” Farell, hehehehe.

    So it is a perfectly paced action movie with a deep and novel approach to a sci-fi concept, a great human side to the story AND a conclusive (not cliffhanging) but arguable and controversial ending, leaving space open for discussion and interpretation. It’s a recipe of success IMHO. The only thing I feel lacking is that it could have had a little bit more runtime, at least the full 120 minutes, allowing for supporting characters to have some more screentime, as well as a profounder exploration of Rita and Cage unique aspects of their relationship. That could have been accomplished not with additional resets, but with an additional major obstacle to the final objective, between retrieving the general’s tracking device until the final assault on the Louvre, taking full advantage of the stakes being high due to the fact that Cage lost the reset ability. Because well, I certainly am going to buy the DVD and rewatch it over and over, so it would be great if the thrill of the part where “they only got one shot at this” was 10-15 minutes longer.

    Now about the ending… I must say I didn’t find it disappointing at all. For me, I consider that it is the perfect kind of ending. It didn’t feel like it was just setting up for a sequel because it provided a satisfying conclusion to the narrative, it felt like it was a proper ending (certainly not a cliff-hanger), since the objective is accomplished the moment the Omega is destroyed. However, the implications of that destruction are up to discussion, and a debatable ending is simply the trademark of a GREAT movie. It’s what perpetuates its memory in people’s minds. And it isn’t so definitive or explained in a way that a sequel can’t easily fit in, leaving that door open, which I sincerely hope that happens in a couple years, as long as it is well handled. Besides, all the characters are still alive and there is at least Cage to tell the story about the Omega.

    However, as satisfying as the ending felt for me, I still haven’t seen a completely solid theory capable of logically explaining how the Mimic species really works and the events of the movie, not just the ending. I believe that we simply don’t have enough information. For example, from the moment the connection to the Omega is seized from the Alpha, one can assume that the Omega can’t remember what happens in the successive Cage respawns, because he can make his way off the beach, meaning he had a slight edge on the enemy, without facing any readjustament in their strategy. However, the Omega knows the connection has been hijacked. How, if it can’t remember that Cage is getting better at each respawn? At this point, it’s difficult to tell if there is some manipulation involved from the Omega. After all, Operation Dawnfall was nothing but their endgame and humanity was oblivious to it.

    We must have in consideration that the rules set up by the movie are relative to the Alpha connection to the Omega only. What rules of time consistency apply to the destruction of the Omega itself, if any, are not explained, because, of course, there was no way for us to know that from the characters’ perspective, as we did with the Alpha, since both Rita and Cage never got to destroy the Omega before countless times to understand that. What they did know was that all the Mimics were controlled by the Omega and so it was hypothesised that by eliminating the Omega, its extensions would be rendered useless without their brain. And they were correct in that assumption.

    It appears that the main reason why some people disliked the ending had to do with the characters coming back to life under conditions that didn’t seem fitting with the previously established rules of time resetting and that those rules were betrayed in order to provide an happy ending. I still haven’t come up or seen around a completely solid theory to explain it all in an unified way, BUT I think the happy tone was totally deserved (and there is no evidence to support that the established rules were broken or not in the process). See, Rita died luring the Alpha! She had absolutely no clue that Cage would come in contact with the Omega’s blood and being able to go back further in time. And Cage didn’t know too. They both gave their lives in a selfless way. Remember the dialog line from Rita? “Cage, none of us is getting out of here”. They both performed their actions in a selfless way, thinking they would die, as given by the fact that Cage had lost the ability to reset time since the blood transfusion. They earned going back to life, although that wasn’t really predictable. It’s just so happens that Cage got lucky in the way he got in contact with the Omega’s substance right before drowning.

  13. Terrific movie and a fresh take on Hollywood blockbuster releases. Cruise consistently makes quality flicks, despite the social pariah he’s been labeled as. Get past that crap America because you’ve missed some entertaining and smart films. Beloved superstars have had questionable or socially awkward personal lives for decades (Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, Charlie Chaplin to name just a few) but those were their personal lifestyle choices and shouldn’t have any impact on their work. We are a fickle and puzzling society that slams Cruise for being eccentric, but welcome with open arms some violent and even sometimes vile celebrities. This is the nation that still has no problem attending and praising the work of Polanski, or seems to have little issue with a guy who did time for rape and is notorious not only for violent public outbursts and bizarre public statements but for biting a man’s ear off during a sporting event. A newly minted billionaire rapper made a career on violent and sexist lyrics (which is an artistic choice) but crossed a line when he publicly beat a female entertainment journalist years ago. Yet there are plenty of people who have no issue buying his (overpriced) headphones or rap releases because “Dre is cool”.
    Edge of Tomorrow is the kind of thing I’d like to see more of. Like Source Code and Looper they are smart Sci fi flicks that still offer all the thrills and eye candy of a typical blockbuster. If only more people gave these movies a shot, we wouldn’t end up with so many Transformers movies (although the 4th sucked a whole lot less than any of the previous ones I’ll admit).

  14. You gave this movie the same rating as Transformers: Age of Extinction?! You are out of your freaking minds, maybe they should have added another 3 hours to the runtime then you’d have liked it more.